EPIC, Enhancing and Promoting International Business Communication supports SMEs in improving their international competitiveness.
EPIC offers the private business sector a unique opportunity to adopt a scheme, which when implemented will help raise the individual trader’s turnover and create new possibilities for expanding cross-border trade. By hiring a new type of consultant (trained by the EPIC project), who specialises in intercultural communication, website development and cross-border communication, the SME will be able to get support and assistance from the LCA consultant (Language and Communication Audit consultant) in overcoming any existing communication barriers.
The project, promoted by Danmar Computersin Rzeszow, Poland, is coordinated by Semantica Ltd. The other partners include Cesie in Sicily, Italy, Kaunas Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania, Elhuyar in San Sebastian, Spain and Eurofriend in Szeged, Hungary.
The project has reached its halfway point with 40 new trained consultants. Pilot audits will take place in spring 2015.
Successfully Completed Projects
ProMES, Promoting Multilingualism in Exporting SMEs, was promoted by Slovakia Chamber of Commerce, Trencin Region under
the Life Long Learning programme of the European Commission. The project was coordinated by Semantica Ltd in the UK and had the additional following partners: Euro-Friend Ltd (Hungary), Barcelona
Chamber of Commerce (Spain) and Uherske Hradiste Chamber of Commerce (Czech Republic). The Project was launched in Bath in November 2012 in the United Kingdom and completed in September
ProMES was a two-year cooperation with the aim of promoting communication skills in exporting companies by training Language Communication Auditors to identify language communication gaps in exporting SMEs. The training consisted of two parts: the research-based theory into intercultural communication and practical sessions into the precise skill of auditing. All in all 39 new auditors were trained.
In-Class was a 2-year European funded Transfer of Innovation project under the Leonardo da Vinci programme with the aim of promoting communication skills in exporting companies by adapting a Language Communication Audit scheme. It was promoted by EuroEd Foundation in Iasi, Romania. In-Class was coordinated by Semantica Ltd and had the following partners: Innomotive Nonprofit Ltd (Hungary), Iresfvg (Italy), Euroed Foundation and Semantica Ltd. It was awarded the European Language Label in 2012.
The BEST (Language Support to Vocational Education and Training in Bulgarian, English, Spanish, Turkish and Romanian) project started in September 2008 and ran over two years. It was a Transfer of Innovation project under Leonardo da Vinci and supported developments related to quality and innovation in vocational education and training by matching language skills to the contemporary industrial development and labour market demands. The BEST project was run and coordinated by MYCCI in Ruse, Bulgaria.
ICSME, Promoting Intercultural Communication Skills in Multilingual Europe, was a dissemination project with the aim of disseminating three products developed under the Leonardo da Vinci programme. The products were Pluilingua (a comprehensive language training programme designed for managerial staff in different language combinations), Startrader (a practical programme designed for business export links with France and Spain) and CEReS (an intercultural curriculum designed for universities and other training institutions). The project ended in September 2008.
Eurica - European International Communication audits, was a business language audit programme which aimed at developing the successful outcomes of the Protocol project to new countries. specifically in central, southersn and eastern Europe.It built and adpated upon these successes and implemented a localised sudit scheme in Hungary, Poland and Spain, integrating the importance of language and culture in trade at a very early stage into the accession countries' business support strategies. The Leonardo da Vinci supported project started 1 Ictober 2004 and finished 30 september 2006.
The creation of a Europe of open borders with a mobile labour force faces linguistic and cultural challenges. The CEReS, a Cross Cultural Curriculum for European regions and their Students, project addressed this need by initiating a new internationalised business language curriculum for young people at universities in the target countries of Bulgaria, England, Iceland, Poland and Sweden. CEReS aimed at introducing new teaching approaches and teaching methods in the field of cross-cultural training and education for trade and mobility. The project started in October 2004 and was completed in October 2006.
Multi-lingual communication needs technical managerial staff. Research has shown that technical managerial staff often face linguistic and cultural challenges when in contact with foreign clients. A good command of foreign languages is no longer enough. Businessmen must understand how to speak foreign languages and have a solid grounding in and understanding of foreign cultures. As a response to the market needs 29 intercultural communication CD-ROMs were developed in conjunction with technical managerial staff from seven European countries and based on autonomous and self-directed learning principles. The project finished in 2005.
Intercomm - International Communication Skills for Enhanced Mobility and Trade aimed at re-developing, adapting and disseminating the results of the Solvit project in four western Atlantic nations of Europe: Ireland, Portugal, UK and Iceland. The objective was to raise awareness of SMEs in the target countries of the economic and added cultural value of using the customer's language and culture in international trade, assisting companies to develop commuication strategies, that cross linguistic and cultural barriers, and introducing them to export procedures in the three other target markets. The project ran between 2003 and 2005.
Protocol II was a development and multiplication of the Protocol project, which set out to enhance the competitiveness of international SMEs within four countries by assisting them to set up a communication audit scheme offering a consultancy service to international SMEs leading to recommendations with a range of costed solutions. The scheme provided for independent customised advice to address the difficulties faced by UK SMEs entering markets with language and cultural barriers. At the time, the UK Export Communications Review (ECR) was the only country to offer such a scheme in Europe. the project was supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
The STREAM, Strategic Training in Recruitment & Retention of Employees and Managers, project reported on the Human Resource strategies and the training methods of organisations in the hospitality sector in Ireland, UK, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia. This Leonardo da Vinci supported project was completed in March 2005.
REFLECT was a transnational initiative running over a two-year period to promote the economic and mobility value of acquiring linguistic competence. The project was co-funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme and designed to specifically support European objectives of improving competitiveness in European companies by reviewing and measuring language and cultural needs, competencies and deficiencies in the UK, Ireland, Poland and Portugal. Finishing in 2002, REFLECT developed an interactive on-line tool, EasyTrader, to assist companies with the development of their own language strategies tailored to their needs.
The Startrader project provided practical vocational training materials on a CD-Rom, offering specific guidance on how to deal with linguistic, cultural and procedural issues facing UK companies looking to trade in France and Spain, and who might lack experience in the field. Simularly, the French version assisted French exporters to be more effective in the UK and Spanish markets and the Spanish version similarly offered advice on how Spanish companies could enter and expand in the French and UK markets. The project was supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
PROTOCOL - the Protocol Communications Audit Scheme offered independent analysis and advice, which helped export SMEs to address and deal with communications needs in the target countries of France, UK, Iceland and the Netherlands. The audit or Review assessed customers' own language needs and addressed the issues of cultural differences and barriers that might be encountered by the company when dealing with some of their international customers.
A Multilingual Information Society (MLIS) Project which led to the production of a CD-Rom Guide of overcoming Cultural Barriers. One of the major objectives was to address the need for export companies to develop a communication or language strategy as part of their export plan. It was supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme and has since been updated in web format by CILT, the National Centre for Languages in collaboration with Semantica Ltd.