> Manual index
  • Introduction to the manual
  • Section 1 > Needs analysis
  • Section 2 > HERE Incubation proposal
  • COACHING and MENTORING Programmes
  • MODULE 1: Agile methodologies for business model design
  • MODULE 2: Business strategy and marketing
  • MODULE 3: Commercial plan
  • MODULE 4: Communication
  • MODULE 5: Finances
  • Incubation schedule proposal
Introduction to HERE- Social economy of proximity

HERE brings together partners with deep expertise in the project themes. In the HERE project, the most important priority is “Social Inclusion”: social inclusion is, in fact, the core of the project, to include in society the people of groups at risk of social exclusion. The project aims to influence these social challenges, to give the people of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, vulnerable neighbours of the cities, the necessary tools to (help) generate their employment. The process of social inclusion suggested by HERE shall be provided by professionals from the business world, creating a community of people who are trying to jointly solve these current challenges of our societies.

The project aims to revive that force that has always existed in towns and cities, the community of people, and aims to do it with a clear objective to generate economic wealth, generate a productive fabric from the aforementioned neighbourhoods and for these neighbourhoods. Providing the help of creating for themselves, by themselves and ensuring to have the necessary job-skills to have a dignified life.

In the section on social integration, Europe’s objective for 2020 was to ensure that there are 20000000 fewer people at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion. Today, 112 million people in the EU are at risk of social exclusion.

Ultimately, the HERE project aims to help overcome the challenges the EU is facing in terms of social exclusion,, by empowering people at risk of social exclusion by their own creation of employment opportunities, collectively with the NGOs they work with from each group and allow them autonomy at the end of an incubation period provided by the project. In this way, they will be including themselves, through the community support in the neighbourhood, creating a social and productive fabric based on the community itself and its needs.

Aligning it with other priorities, the HERE project pursues the training of low-skilled adults in the subjects necessary to acquire entrepreneurship skills, such as business strategy, marketing, finance, among others. The training will be adapted to the needs and limitations of their profiles and their circumstances, thus generating an innovative training curriculum by involving people at risk of exclusion and companies in its application.

With the guidance of this present document – the HERE Business Manual, the theoretical part will be applied by practical entrepreneurship methodologies, such as Lean Startup and Design Thinking; agile methodologies that would force neighbours at risk of exclusion to perform fieldwork by validating the hypotheses that were raised in mentoring sessions etc., e.g. having to validate these hypotheses with potential customers on the street, through interviews, surveys, etc.. In this way, our learners will have a theoretical and practical content of how to develop and validate new products, companies, etc…

HERE’s main impact will be beneficial to:

  • 30 young entrepreneurs/ start-uppers from a disadvantaged neighbourhood at risk of exclusion receiving training and mentoring (10 in each of the following countries: Latvia, Italy, Spain) within the HERE project. This will be done within Intellectual Output 3 of HERE project.
  • NEIGHBOUR ASSOCIATIONS AND MERCHANTS’ ASSOCIATIONS (6 in total) that will use the Business Manual and provide input on the situation of HERE Partners’ selected neighbourhoods and their needs. 
  • Business Professionals: 12 professionals in the business sector will train these selected entrepreneurs, will mentor them, and guide them towards the most economical and socially viable outcomes in their new business endeavour.
  • Public Administrations and NGOs:  can identify entrepreneurial opportunities generated by the administration in the selected neighbourhoods. They can benefit by their direct work with the Project’s target group, in the selection of entrepreneurs, assessing their needs and limitations.
  • ❏  The Project Partners

Society “Shelter “Safe House”” was established on August 6, 2007 with the aim to develop support services to victims of human trafficking, legal immigrants, including asylum seekers, refugees and persons granted subsidiary protection status by ensuring the individual’s right to receive adequate assistance and protection; promoting rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking into the society; creating interactive forms of training, and expanding cooperation with state and local government institutions, public and Christian organizations in Latvia and worldwide. A multidisciplinary team of professional’s works in the organisation to support asylum seekers, refugees and persons granted subsidiary protection status.

Shelter “Safe House”” raises awareness of the social field in general society and mass media, actively partnering with other NGOs, the State and local governments. In 2015 “Bureau Veritas Latvia” issued an ISO 9001 quality management certificate for social rehabilitation.


Asociación Con Valores works to create, identify and boost self-employment opportunities for people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Asociación Con Valores cooperates with social NGOs, public administrations and private companies to generate business opportunities through social innovation that empowers entrepreneurships. Its main domains of intervention are:

  • TO RECRUIT AND INVOLVE PROFESSIONALS from business and social sectors as volunteers for the different activities of the association (currently supported by a pool of 120 volunteering trainers, mentors or experts in their respective fields)
  • TO SET UP A BANK OF BUSINESS IDEAS for future entrepreneurs at risk of poverty and social exclusion with fewer opportunities. The volunteers from business and social impact sectors are involved in identifying and analysing potential entrepreneurship opportunities for beneficiaries.

SOCIAL INCUBATOR for people and groups at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

BEST Institut für berufsbezogene Weiterbildung und Personaltraining GmbH ( was founded in 1990 as an independent Austrian organisation for providing continuous training, vocational qualification and career services. Its main activities comprise the development of innovative training programmes for young (+16) individuals and adults, many of them disadvantaged and with migration background, on continuous and vocational training, counselling & coaching and activation for job seekers and employees. The training schemes are client-oriented and based on both the specific needs of the labour market and the participants’ individual situations, skills and competences, previous experience and life circumstances.

The institute offers training facilities for up to 15,000 learners per year with some 200 staff members. The innovative training programmes for different target groups include own pedagogic and didactic approaches and materials, especially for social integration, empowerment, self-reflection and motivation, as well as ICT based methods which are constantly being updated.

For more information: video (

Anziani e Non Solo is a non-profit organization working since 2004 in the field of social innovation, with a specific focus on management of projects and realization of services and products in the field of welfare and social inclusion. The activities carried out by ANS concern: – Training and support to family carers, informal and formal carers – Active ageing, intergenerational activities and support to frail and dependent elderly – Prevention of gender based violence, elder abuse and discrimination – Fight against poverty, support to employability and to social inclusion of disadvantaged groups Concerning informal carers specifically, ANS offers training opportunities (both via e-learning and workshops), counselling services, support to labour (re)insertion, peer-support groups and runs an online community dedicated to informal carers. ANS has developed a number of research projects focusing on carers, and its advocacy activities led to the approval of the first Italian Regional Law regarding the recognition of the role of carers. To raise awareness on the role and needs of carers, ANS organizes yearly initiatives to celebrate the Carers Day. Since 2012 we have been working on the topic of young carers through research activities, training for professionals and organization of workshops for young carers themselves. ANS is member of the European network on informal carers Eurocarers, as well as of the European Network of organizations working with families COFACE.

Due to our expertise in the field of e-learning, we will coordinate the fourth output of the project: “Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): a practical master course”

As a Federation of several sectors (  has a very strong  relation with the social economy (SE) mainly for two reasons.

1. Location. In Belgium, the core goal of social economy is to demonstrate by the facts that a different economic approach is not only possible but also essential. Therefore, the entire activity of a social economy enterprise from business project to the production stage should integrate the 4 principles:

–           Purpose of service to members or to the collectivity instead of profit.

–           Managerial autonomy;

–           Democratic process of decision;

–           Primacy of people and labor over capital in the income’s distribution.

2. Evolution. The social economy is currently opening to other trends and concerns, dictated by societal developments and the different economic currents that run through it. Supportive above all, it will be distinguished by the governance and participation processes it implements and by its willingness to reinvest its profits in the corporate purpose of the company.

The social economy, or social entrepreneurship, an economy at the service of people above all!!

Considering the global framework, we have invest a relevant part of our resources to ensure a efficient local incubator policy (ex.  JOB’IN) but despite the high level of knowledge and the updating and involvement in the local, regional and EU debate we feel as our duty to be open to learn and contribute at partnership level to  increase our available support.

This manual is an excellent possibility for us to learn and the same time to increase the value of our services to our local final beneficiaries

Dokuz Eylul University is a state university established in 1982 in Izmir which is the third biggest

city of Turkey. Regarding its experience of more than 40 years in higher education, the university

has the location advantage of being at the centre of universities in the Aegean region. It is the

largest university in the Aegean Region regarding the number of students, academic and

administrative staff. Dokuz Eylul University acknowledges the importance of education, research (including

knowledge transfer) and innovation with increasing global competition. Therefore,

internationalization, innovation and quality in education are priorities of strategic importance for

DEU. In this scope, DEU develops collaborations with both European and non-European

countries for improving education, research and administrative capacity.

DEU is a dynamic university which keeps growing with total of 49 Application and Research

Centres including 18 faculties, 10 institutes and graduate schools, 2 schools, state conservatory,

6 vocational schools. Most known research centres are focused on nanotechnology,

biomedicine, genome technology, marine sciences, social and human sciences, environmental

sciences, material sciences, and textiles.

Project Management Unit is highly motivated to establish partnerships and

organize international mobility projects through EU grants, especially through H2020 and


The Project management Unit gives great attention to those topics:

– To promote entrepreneurship among young people.

– To encourage young people to use their creativity and reflect their own ideas.

– To raise awareness on personal responsibility in growing Europe.

– To give chance to disadvantaged youth and encourage their mobility

– To improve youth’s capacity and experiences, social and professional skills

In order to realize these aims, we basically give an open space to our young students so that

they can come together and create their own projects. We give them assistance in order to get

grants for the entrepreneurship ideas in any field.

  • ❏  Aims of this Business Manual

The manual aims at developing entrepreneurial skills including values, beliefs and attitudes, as well as social skills such as interpersonal and communication to potential entrepreneurs to:

– be aware of the risks and benefits of self-employment,

– clarify their business idea,

– understand the milestones’ needed to set up their own business, and how to run a profitable business (involving finance, human resource management, market research) and generate relevant business knowledge (particularly on legislation, taxation, funding sources).

The manual incorporates concepts related to how to build social enterprises, taking into account the triple aspect: economic, but also social and environmental. In particular, the manual addresses the following groups that are underrepresented in the entrepreneurial arena: young people, women, persons with disabilities, seniors, migrants, and refugees.

Section 1 > Needs analysis

  • A business manual – Why?

Promoting social business creation by under-represented and disadvantaged groups can further help create jobs and fight social and financial exclusion, while stimulating economic growth across the economy, in particular in disadvantaged areas. However, while entrepreneurship plays an important role in stimulating innovation and driving job creation, only a relatively small part of the population is involved in starting a business, and not all people have the same opportunities to create and run a business.

Education and training have an important role to play in promoting labour market integration and the social inclusion of population groups that face discrimination, such as young people, women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and migrants.

The training methodology disclosed in this manual shall help allow the creation of social enterprises by persons at risk of social exclusion. It shall give us the bank of ideas useful to address the most economically and socially viable entrepreneurship projects.

Because it addresses vulnerable entrepreneurs, the training approach will be adapted to their capacities, needs and knowledge. In addition, it will include modules on personnel management and the establishing of beneficial human and professional relations.

The manual has been designed to be given during training sessions and it will be complemented by the skills acquired during the individual sessions and the practical experiences that will be transmitted by the mentors, who will be professionals from the business world.

What is the expected impact of the manual?

The manual will be an innovative training material to support entrepreneurs who come from disadvantaged groups and with low education. We take into account a double difficulty: empower people at risk of exclusion with normally low levels of education and provide them with entrepreneurial skills, unfamiliar to them, for the creation of viable business.

All in all, the manual shall help potential entrepreneurs develop and deepen new skills, knowledge, and attitudes, as well as social skills such as interpersonal and communication. These skills shall mainly help them become aware of the risks and benefits of self-employment, clarify their business idea, understand the milestones needed to set up their own business and how to run a profitable business

In order to achieve its objective, the HERE consortium carried out a literature review to identify the challenges persons at risk of exclusion are facing in setting up their own business. In particular, the analysis focused on the training needs of:

●        Persons with disabilities

●        Women

●        Young people

●        Seniors

●        Immigrants and refugees

According to the literature review, the above-mentioned groups face some common challenges, such as the lack of:

  • managerial and communication skills and competences;
  • contacts/network;
  • supporting services and organisations;
  • access to credit.

Almost all disadvantaged groups need to enhance the following:

  • qualities: opportunity-seeking, perseverance, risk-taking, more demand for efficiency and quality, information-seeking, goal setting, planning, persuasion and networking, self-confidence, listening to others, demonstrating leadership
  • competences: subdivide tasks into packages, ask the experts, set priorities, reduce risks.

However, there are also challenges and training needs that concern some target groups specifically but not others. Please find below a table with the main identified training needs per target group. For more information, please read our full analysis “Training needs of excluded groups” (in our Intellectual Output 2,task 2)

Target groupTraining needs
SeniorsNetworking skills to update and develop their contacts/ information flows;Fundraising skills and other competences to acquire the needed financial resources to set up their business.
YouthSupport to build their self-confidence;Networking skills to create relevant contacts and information/ market intelligence flows;Communication and other skills to build trust among business partners;Lack of personal, social and management competences.
Persons with disabilitiesSupport to boost their self-confidence;Support to access relevant services;Support to cover higher costs to set up their own business (e.g. need to buy assistive living technology);Fundraising skills and other competences to acquire the needed financial resources to set up their business.
Migrants and refugeesNetworking skills to update and develop their contacts;Fundraising skills and other competences to acquire the needed financial resources to set up their business;Language and cultural skills;Knowledge on the business environment and legal/administrative issues;Access to spaces and infrastructures to develop/test their business ideas.
WomenNetworking skills to develop their contacts;Support to boost their self-confidence;Support/advice to combine family and professional duties and commitments;Fundraising skills and other competences to acquire the needed financial resources to set up their business.
    Introduction to the incubation methodology

Section 2 > HERE Incubation proposal

  • ❏  Objectives of the incubation process

Entrepreneurial education programs have to provide knowledge and understanding about various aspects of bringing a business idea into reality, such as the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset, the entrepreneurial intention development and technical expertise as well as encouraging participants’ empowerment and self-awareness.

However, to become a successful business entrepreneur from a disadvantaged background, the HERE training curriculum is based on an intensive incubation process where selected participants will work in real-time in developing their business idea and strategy while being trained. The training sessions shall provide them with the needed knowledge to develop their project, followed by a step by step approach and agile methodologies (including design thinking, lean startup etc.). The implementation of the lessons learnt in their real business start-up is the core of the incubation process.

Crucial factors for the success of an entrepreneurship initiative run by vulnerable entrepreneurs are:​

  • a personal plan and a strong motivation ​
  • holding awareness about one’s own skills and potential ​
  • having confidence in one’s own chances of success​
  • the combination of a notional part in fact + more practical portion of coaching professionals and specialists in the field​
  • teamwork that allows disadvantaged and more fragile people to give each other courage, to reflect in others and confront, seeing that some fears or difficulties are shared and are manageable in a group dynamic

In order to achieve success in the business project, planning is a central issue and it is essential that participants have a high degree of involvement during the training: a specific work is required on individual mentoring, building a plan in function of their needs, objectives and limitations. With a particular reference on planning personal goals and next steps, a personal action plan is an important tool that may help participants to meet their expectations and to autonomously manage their business activity, helping them to think in terms of objectives, both from a personal and professional point of view.

The main topics to be developed within this training curriculum are:

  • Agile methodologies for business model design
  • Business strategy and marketing
  • Commercial plan
  • Communication (including networking and digital skills)
  • Bureaucracy and finances

Moreover, during the support of the creation of entrepreneurship, soft skills are considered a central issue due to the fact that these personal capacities are beneficial during the management of one’s own business. Due to that, a specific attention will be paid to their development. More than a specific module focused on them, participants will develop them through teamwork, having  the opportunity to make their personal skills available to the group​. ​Through formal and informal learnings, entrepreneurs can acquire or reinforce:​

  • communication skills​
  • mediation ability​
  • problem-solving ​
  • adaptation ​
  • flexibility
  • Participants profiles

This training curriculum is oriented to people at risk of exclusion living in areas with low employment rate or high demand labour market and other complex conditions. Entrepreneurs’ profiles can be described as: low education level, previous working experiences, low or no knowledge and skills already acquired, have specific implications in the definition of the training needs and the specific training program in an incubation process.

The disadvantaged status of entrepreneurs can be connected with limited knowledge, skills, labour experience, access to labour market, poor human and social capital and discrimination in terms of ages, race and gender. The training program must take into consideration these aspects. Entrepreneurship education and training is key to developing and expanding their skills and capabilities.

When it comes to the selection of incubation participants, the following aspects need to be evaluated:

  • education level​
  • previous working experiences​
  • knowledge and skills already acquired​
  • analysis of relative marginalised neighbourhood

Secondly, it’s fundamental that participants have a high degree of involvement during the training.​ A specific work is required on individual mentoring in order to define their own business development strategy. Therefore the training and incubation facilitators will build with them a specific plan in function of their needs, objectives and limitations.​ This personal action plan is an essential tool that may help participants to:​

  • meet their expectations ​
  • manage autonomously their business activity​
  • allow them to think in terms of objectives, both from a personal and professional point of view​
  • provide strategies to balance work and personal sphere​

Thirdly, it is crucial to consider possible psychological, health, gender, living context related challenges, not forgetting the ones related to the economic stability of participants (i.e. the possibility to afford to eat everyday) that might affect incubation and learning processes. These kinds of challenges might be expected​ but it’s fundamental to know strategies and tips to manage them. It is recommended to offer the opportunity to work on self-awareness and empowerment with coaches specifically prepared to lead those processes.

  • ❏  Training methods

The training and incubation methods have to be aligned with the education level and personal requirements of entrepreneurs, mixing different methodologies:​

  • frontal​
  • non-formal ​
  • e-learning​
  • peer mentoring​
  • Learning by doing​
  • Meetings with successful entrepreneurs or experts​
  • Study visits​

Non-formal training methodologies are generally more engaging and motivating as an aspiring entrepreneur can see live experiences and situations that recall his own project, rather than limiting himself to a theoretical study and further away from concrete cases. ​

In that sense, it is essential to avoid training sessions providing a high academic dimension. A pool of trainers composed of professionals and entrepreneurs might be more able to connect with participants’ needs and to provide a learning environment based on concrete life and business experiences. 

However, the incubator coordinators need to work together with the trainers in the training preparation. They will review together the sessions and adapt contents and dynamics if required in order to fit into the overall incubation programme and objectives.

  • ❏  Self-directed learning approach

Those non-formal activities might also offer spaces and inputs for self-directed learning habits among students.  To better understand the processes involved in this learning mode, this training tip outlines key components that foster independent learning: being ready to learn, setting learning goals, engaging in the learning process, and evaluating knowledge.

Assess readiness to learn and to set up learning goals

Students need various skills and attitudes towards learning: being autonomous, organised, self-disciplined, able to communicate effectively, and able to accept constructive feedback and engage in self-evaluation and self reflection. Activities should then facilitate Learning Skills Assessment Tools that help students to measure their habits and needs in terms of learnings.

Based on this self evaluation, students might define learning goals related to their business ideas. Those learning goals are: identifying main needs, priorities and already acquired abilities or competences. They allow students to design their own learning paths with the support of the rest of the group and/or their mentors and coaches.

Engaging and empowering

Students need to see themselves as learners in order to understand their needs as self-directed learning students. The developed approach of learning involves a transformation which is crucial in this learning process. This approach is about understanding ideas on your own, applying knowledge to new situations and using novel examples to explain a concept, learning more than is required for unit completion. Students need to generate their own connections and be their own motivators.

Evaluating learnings

For students to be successful in self-directed learning, they must be able to engage in self-reflection and self-evaluation of their learning goals and progress in a unit of study. To support this self-evaluation process, they should regularly consult with the advising instructor, seek feedback and engage in reflection of their achievements. 

  • ❏  Bank of ideas

Before launching the incubation program, the coordinators and volunteers worked together to identify and analyse business opportunities in different analysed sectors characterising the selected neighbourhoods. Those ideas are presented with an overall description, a first market analysis, and practical advice to guide the entrepreneurs in their business development process.

This bank of ideas proposes surest options for incubation participants who desire to undertake their business. Their development models have already been evaluated by professionals and are often based on experiences that have already been successfully implemented. Those opportunities are presented to participants on the first day of the incubation programme. They can either choose one of those business ideas or to work on their own idea.

During the following weeks of the incubation process, the participants will work on developing selected business idea. They will apply what they have learned from the training sessions to the idea, developing their business plan with the support of the respective mentors. Mentors and incubators’ staff might analyse the steps they are making in this process in order to constantly upgrade the bank of ideas (both in case of success or failure). The students will then benefit from improved business ideas that they could take over.  

Mentoring and Coaching programmes

Apart from trainers delivering the different sessions, the participants will benefit and be supported by mentors and coaches that will respectively monitor:

  • the progress of participants in designing their business plan;
  • the personal development and motivational levels of participants

A mistake that is often made when talking about mentoring and coaching is to confuse one concept with the other and use them interchangeably. But there are differences between the two concepts[1].

A mentor is someone with whom the entrepreneur will have a long-term relationship and who will support the entrepreneur’s growth and evolution.  The mentor will be the one who will provide wisdom, knowledge and steps to follow from the entrepreneur’s own experience. It is someone who will help entrepreneurs to develop their respective business models from the start-up of their ideas.

A coach is someone with whom the entrepreneur will have a short-term relationship and who will focus on working on certain behaviours or thoughts that are an obstacle to the achievement of the final objectives, i.e., the implementation of the business models.


Mentors should meet at least 2 hours each week during the incubation program. Mentors intervention is mainly focusing on the business approach. They will support entrepreneurs in defining their business strategies and action plans. The mentoring programme will follow those main steps:

  • PROJECT ANALYSIS : Human and economic objectives
  • HYPOTHESIS VALIDATION: becoming researchers, Archaeologists, Journalists…
  • ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: designing new values proposal
  • ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: Business model validation

During the 12 weeks of the incubation, a mentoring programme is organised to supervise and support new entrepreneurs’ progress. 2 mentors with complementary profiles are assigned to accompany each team following steps based on agile methodologies. 

  • The first mentor is a professional with a good knowledge of those agile methods (design thinking, lean startup, canvas business model…),
  • Second mentor (support) is a professional with good experiences in designing businesses model and launching companies; 

Mentors and entrepreneurs are meeting at least 2 hours each week during 12  weeks to define the main part of the business strategy:

INCOMEWhere will they come from?From whom?How often?What is the possible forecast for the next 6 months?
EXPENSESA small cost analysis (simple, but they must be clear about how much each product or service they want to sell should cost them to produce)What other expenses do they have?
PRODUCTIONTime analysisHow long does it take to make each product / service?If they need equipment or not,Where they will do it,Do they need special facilities, etc ..
COMMERCIALHow are they going to get clients?What channels will they use?How often?What kind of tools and storytelling will they use?
VALUE PROPOSITIONA clear elevator pitch (being able to explain their business in 30 seconds),A clear value curve to be able to compare with the competition
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONBrand image, logos, media,Which channels will they use? How often? How?

All this information needs to be documented by the end of the 12 weeks process. It sets up the base of the upcoming business and will be used as indicators to evaluate the entrepreneurship progress after the incubation period.

During the 12  weeks of the incubation, the mentors are organising the monitoring following those main steps:

Part 1: Getting ideas
Week 1PROJECT ANALYSIS : Human and economic objectives
Part 2: Validation
Week 8HYPOTHESIS VALIDATION: becoming researchers, Archaeologists, Journalists…
Week 9ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: designing new values proposal
Part 3: Prototyping
Week 12ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: Business model validation

After those 12 weeks of incubation, the new entrepreneurs are supposed to start their GTM (Go to Market) activities which translate into going on the street and “launching” their business by presenting it to potential customers. Mentors will meet incubation teams once a month every 3 following next months to evaluate the results and processes and to propose adjustments if needed.  

Those sessions consist of analysing the indicators that we have created to see the business’s evolution (in each case it may be different indicators) and to compare it with the forecast that we had made at the end of the 12 weeks. Based on this evaluation, they try to analyse what has happened and why. Considering the new information and the first results they are getting “from the street”, they may work together on adapting the business model.

  • Coaching programme

Coaches should meet at least 1 hour each week during the incubation programme. Coaching sessions are aimed to support entrepreneurs in their personal experience and learning paths. They help participants to better face challenges and possible frustrations or conflicts that might happen during the incubation process.

  • VALUES: Why am I doing this?
  • BELIEFS: Stop believing what we think we are
  • SELF ESTEEM: If you’re not, who is there
  • MENTAL MAP: Everything is fruit and consequence of our own interpretation
  • DESERVING : You deserve much more than enough
VALUES: Why am I doing this?
OBJECTIVES OF THE MODULE:   1st / First awareness about positive self-knowledge.   2º / The entrepreneur begins to look within himself and at his own pace.   3rd / Provide him with the first tool for his emotional self-management    THE VALUES AS ENGINE OF CHANGE:   In this module, we work on the person’s core values ​​for connecting directly with the motivation and the decision-making process. Once identified and defined the main values ​​the coach can accompany the entrepreneurs to answer questions that connect with these values:. What am I participating in this program ?What am I undertaking?For what…?   RECOMMENDATIONS: for this first session, it is recommended to create a “safe space” where the entrepreneurs feel confidentiality is guaranteed and that the coach is here to listen and accompany.  
BELIEFS: Stop believing what we think we are
OBJECTIVES OF THE MODULE:   1º / Identify with the entrepreneur the patterns of behaviour that may limit him and those that enhance him.   2º / Begin to work with the entrepreneur the current self-image   3º / Work various anchors that can be supported in emotionally low moments.      THE UNCONSCIOUS:   About 90% of what we do is unconscious. That is, in “pilot automatic”. Our subconscious is formed, among other things, by the beliefs that we have been acquiring from throughout our life, especially in our childhood.   Identify the beliefs that limit us (Ex: I’m not good at painting, technology, public speaking, be creative …) and those that empower us (Ex: I’m good at talking to people make others laugh, fix things,having business ideas …) is the key so we can get what we really set out. Otherwise, we are constantly repeating the same patterns, without learning and knowing that we are the ones we sabotage ourselves.   RECOMMENDATIONS: A single session is likely insufficient to work on the beliefs, given their importance, it is recommended to work in this session on the basis and spend 10-15 minutes in 1 or 2 more sessions, if necessary.
SELF ESTEEM: Your only limit is your mind
OBJECTIVES OF THE MODULE:   1º /  Work the I AM… .. adapted to each entrepreneur.    I AM…   The human being has a remarkable ability to observe its surroundings, however when it comes to look inside us it costs a little more.   With this simple exercise, you can check for yourself: write a list of things you don’t like or that you are not good at.when you finish writing another list with things that you like about yourself or that you give well.   Usually for the first list everything is going easily and entrepreneurs have many things to say about things that they don’t like. Instead with the second list he might take  more time to make it. > this is the way our own mind is using to protect ourselves. The good news is that this can be changed.   RECOMMENDATIONS: In each session, we have with the entrepreneurs is advisable to check how is self-esteem in order to offer tools to help him to see his greatness and his powerful self-image
MENTAL MAP: Everybody has different interpretations of things
OBJECTIVES OF THE MODULE:   1º / The entrepreneur becomes aware of what happens in his life   2º / He/she defines his/her ideal self-image, future, how he/she would like to be      THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY:   In this module, we will accompany the entrepreneur in a job exploration in which we will tour his/her mind map, in order to focus all learning, without judgement or guilt.  “There is no good or bad, just learning ”   RECOMMENDATIONS: In each session with the entrepreneur it is advisable to check how his/her self-esteem is in order to offer tools to help him/her to see his/her greatness and his/her powerful self-image.
DESERVING : You deserve much more than enough
OBJECTIVES OF THE MODULE: 1st / Define what happiness is for the entrepreneur.   2º / Accompany the entrepreneur to release  what makes him/her suffer   3º /  Work on self-forgiveness and introduce merit in the day to day.  YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY   The natural state of the human being is to be happy. This basic idea, that is obvious in the current educational system practically worldwide, is not reached so easily because we think we don’t deserve it.   One of the most conscious liberator awareness is understanding that we deserve the good things that happen to us and be happy.   RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended for this session to propose concrete exercises related to “merit” in order to create this habit and reprogram the subconscious.
MODULE 1: Introduction to agile methodologies for business models design
  • INTRODUCTION (Why it is important)

What will follow in our module is essential the combinations of a previous EU project with concrete  field experience of one the most relevant members of UNESSA’s network JOB’IN specialist among others on INCUBATOR, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP BUSINESS

As shown in our O1 and the conclusions of the questionnaires, neighbourhood’s support before creation should be ensured to make the business plan possible.

What does the support before creation consist of?

During pre-creation support, your advisor challenges your project and allows you to ask yourself the right questions to bring your business project to fruition.

The different stages of this support are structured around your action plan     and follow a Business Plan logic built on the basis of the Business Model Canvas.

In particular, the mission and vision of your” future company”, its positioning its strategy, the commercial and financial study, the analysis of your entrepreneurial profile or your professional network.

If necessary, your advisor will direct you to experts or resource organisations (notary, lawyer, accountant, communication specialist, etc.). He also offers training or seminars to develop your skills as an entrepreneur.

Your advisor will direct you to the most appropriate financing and public and / or private aid solutions for the study of your project or the realisation of your business.”

Relevant investment in time should be foreseen to ensure diagnostic  and analysis of the initiative, training and global framing of the approach

The first thing we are going to do is make the CANVAS model before writing any project report or business plan explaining all the sections that make up the business model. It is critical to sketch and perform a canvas analysis to develop the business model in a quick and simple way

  • The canvas model is very simple, a very intuitive and fun canvas. Print it in XL size and work with post-its and coloured markers.
  • It allows you to work as a team: hang the canvas on the wall and make the canvas model visible to everyone. Remove the tables and work in groups in a very interactive and dynamic way.
  • Visual: It allows you to see all the important aspects that make up your business model canvas in a global way. I recommend that you leave the canvas exposed once the analysis is finished, so that all members have a clear overview of the company at a glance.

LEARNING GOALS: discover yourself as a key to the success of your business.

Able to formulate the questions that have to be tackled.

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
The participant will gain a better focused knowledge of their potentialParticipants will be able to address questions, and to feel the potential they can express problems related to business development with a new approach
(MODULE ON THE TRAINING NEEDS) Participants will get familiar with key concepts such as ‘disadvantaged groups’ and ‘training needs’ participant will learn about challenges and opportunities linked to entrepreneurship(MODULE ON THE TRAINING NEEDS) participants will increase their self-awareness and make the most of their strengths and weaknesses participants will be able to seize and shape opportunities to respond to challenges and create value for others


  • Consider the relevance of basic skills
  • Be curious
  • Think and formulate the questions
  • Have the courage to formulate
  • Problem solving – Ability to visualise the entire value chain of the developed product or service and to identify specific pain points and start to understand how to find/search, have the necessary tools to address them

TOOLS AND RESOURCES (refer to the end of the module)

How the Canvas model has to be filled and what is it for?

  • It is divided into nine modules; the left part is the one that refers to the external aspects of the company, the market and the environment. The right part of the canvas business model consists of the following blocks: market segment, value proposition, channels, relationship with customers and sources of income
  • These are the points where a business plan is broken down and which will be developed later:
  • Project summary
  • Presentation of the project
  • Personal dates of the promoter team
  • Motivations
  • Description of the business project
  • Analysis of the market and commercial strategy
  • Marketing plan
  • Product
  • Prices
  • Publicity
  • Distribution channels
  • Production plan
  • Service provision
  • Resources needed
  • Technological plan
  • Stock management 
  • Quality management
  • Safety of hygiene
  • Organisation plan 
  • Organisational structure
  • Human resources
  • Legal plan
  • Legal form and the reason / Licences and permits
  • Taxes
  • Social Security
  • Coverage of responsibilities
  • Trademarks and patents
  • Economic and financial plan

The Canvas has nine elements. Together these elements provide a coherent view of a business’ key drivers:

  • Customer Segments: Who are the customers? What do they think? See? Feel? Do?
  • Value Propositions: What’s compelling about the proposition? Why do customers buy, use?
  • Channels: How are these propositions promoted, sold and delivered? Why? Is it working?
  • Customer Relationships: How do you interact with the customer through their ‘journey’?
  • Revenue Streams: How does the business earn revenue from the value propositions?
  • Key Activities: What uniquely strategic things does the business do to deliver its proposition?
  • Key Resources: What unique strategic assets must the business have to compete?
  • Key Partnerships: What can the company not do so it can focus on its Key Activities?
  • Cost Structure: What are the business’ major cost drivers? How are they linked to

The Business Model Canvas has a work order. It should not be filled without rhyme or reason.

Below we listed the order in which the blocks (modules) of the canvas are completed, following the canvas methodology.

Knowing and testing these blocks is the first thing you must do before analysing the left part of the canvas.

STEP 1 | Print the canvas

As we have already mentioned, print the canvas model in size XXL and paste it on a wall.

Grab post -it’s and coloured markers and get to work! In this case explain the canvas using the example of a canvas model developed by example of one social entrepreneur.

STEP 2 | Reflection of the right part of the Canvas

This part is referring to the specific activity that each neighbourhood would like to develop

The market:

Identify your potential market

Value Proposal:

To define your value proposal, it is critical to know what problem/need/services you are helping to solve / answer.


Identify how you will make your value proposal reach your target customer segment. Sometimes your online Marketing strategy will be key in this section and others less.

Relationship with clients:

Reflect on what your relationship with customers will be. Where does this relationship start and end?  Also, your strategy in Social Networks and Online Marketing will be key in your relationship with customers.

Revenue flow:

You must be clear about how you are going to make money. At the beginning put all the options that you can think of and later test how and how much your target customer is willing to pay (sale of assets, subscription, advertising …)

    • :

Once you know the environment of your activity, adapt the internal pieces (blocks) to provide the “value proposal” detected in the best possible way; create alliances with the necessary agents, focus on the core activities of your business and think about what you need and what the cost structure is. That is, analyse:

Key Resources:

What do you need to carry out the activity of your company? The resources can be physical, economic, human or intellectual.

Key Activities:

What are the nuclear activities for your initiative? It is important to be clear about this block because it is what your company will do, the rest, which brings less value, you can outsource it.

Key Partnerships

List the agents you need to work with to make the business model work (strategic alliances, suppliers etc.)

Cost Structure:  

After analysing the key activities, key resources, and key associations, reflect on the costs of your activity.


Adoption of agile thinking for identifying and have a problem-solving attitude – believe and be confident in your abilities and experiences

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
Participant will gain agile thinking approach participants will gain independent approach to their challenges to faceParticipants will be able to address problems related to business development with a new approach
(MODULE ON THE TRAINING NEEDS) participants will get familiar with key concepts such as ‘disadvantaged groups’ and ‘training needs’ ‘value chaine”-neighbourhood-participant will learn about challenges and opportunities linked to entrepreneurship(MODULE ON THE TRAINING NEEDS) Participants will increase their flexible approach to solve and make diagnostics of the initiative – increase their self-awareness and  make the most of their strengths and weaknesses participants will be able to seize and shape opportunities to respond to challenges and create value for others


  • Problem solving
  • Ability to visualise the entire value chain of the developed activity or service to identify specific pain points and have or start to produce the necessary tools to address them

Business Plan

  •  Once you have your CANVAS you can start with your business plan following the model we propose below.

A business plan is a work tool for all those people or groups that want to develop a business initiative. In a Business Plan the different factors and objectives of each of the areas involved in the start-up of a business are collected.

The utility of the business plan is doubled. Internally, it helps the promoters of the project to start their business venture with a minimum of coherence, rigour, effectiveness, and possibilities of success, and contributes in a relevant way to minimise the risks inherent in the generation of a business project. Externally, it is a letter of presentation of the project to third parties, which can be used to seek financial support, seek new partners, contact suppliers or apply for grants.

This section is written at the end of the business plan and includes a brief description of the activity and the place where it is carried out, commercial name if there is one and if it is a new creation, a transfer, a new line of business, etc.

In the case that funding is requested, a summary table and detail of what is being requested must be included.

Own resources  (41%)2.500 €
Credit (advanced money from the incubator) (59%)3.642 €
First year18.238 €
Second year23.267 €
Third year26.335 €
  • Presentation of the Project

Description of the activity that will be carried out as well as the profile of the promoters that makes up the project and the origin of the idea.

            Personal data of the promoter team

            Motivations and origin of the idea

            Explain the evolution of the idea

            Explain the motivations to develop the idea

  • Description of the business project

Here we should emphasize the added value of the product or service we offer, because the product or service we offer must be bought for a specific reason; what are the differential factors in a positive relation to the others.

Analysis of the Market and Commercial Strategy

The objective of this section is to define the market to which we want to address. In addition, we will analyse the demand well, that is, our customers, and also those who are offering the same as us, our competitors.

            Characteristics and trends of the market:

  • Description of the situation, evolution, and trend in which the activity sector of the company is located. Issues to consider: sector in the birth phase, growth, mature, decline / recession; expected evolution, regulations / regulations that may affect the sector’s trend, entry or exit barriers, concentrated supply or demand.
  • Description of the geographical area to which you will direct the product and service (neighbourhood, municipality, city, county, province …). If it is a direct sales service to the client, describe the location and environment of your activity. Attached photocopy of the location of the activity (municipality / neighbourhood).
  • Description of the main socio-demographic and economic characteristics of the target area of ​​your product or service: number of inhabitants, age structure, level of income in the area, level of employment and unemployment, cultural level. Economic structure of the area: main activities.

Analysis of the demand: definition of the profile of the clients to whom the product or service is directed:

            Characteristics of clients:  Individuals – Companies

Analysis of the purchasing process and consumer habits of the customers:

Quantification of potential customers.

Contacts already established and / or list of clients.

Collection system foreseen.

Analysis of the competition:

            Description of those companies, that offers our same products:

Analysis of the main   competitors: Competitive strategy that uses competition.

Strengths and weaknesses of the competition.

Strengths and weaknesses of your project in relation to the competition.

       Marketing plan: In this section we will describe the product, its price and the communication        and distribution strategy that we will use.

            Product: Description of the activity to be developed – differentiating and innovative features of      your product or service  – Needs that are intended to be covered.

            Prices: Criteria for determining prices –  Price list.

           Promotion and publicity:  Define how the new company will be announced, if there are     promotions or initial discounts, and the cost of each one of the shares.

            Distribution channels: direct points of sale, wholesale, retail.

            Production plan: In this section we will detail the manufacturing process of the product           or what is the process to provide the service. We will detail the resources necessary to develop our activity and how we will manage our suppliers.

                                   Manufacturing process or service provision

                                   Resources needed: facilities, infrastructure, equipment and labour

                                   Technological plan

                                   Stock management: Procurement and storage

            Quality managemen: how – actions.

          Safety and hygiene, and environmental management: Measures related to safety and         hygiene to be adopted. Can waste be minimised in the purchase/production/sales processes?              What will you do with the different types of garbage/waste?

Organisation plan structure – Administration – commercial.

            Human resources needed

            Indicate the chosen legal form and the reason for your choice

            Legal plan – fiscal – Taxes to pa.

            Licences, permits and procedures to constitute the activity,

            Social security.

            Coverage of responsibilities: what insurance do you have to provide?  

            Trademarks and patents.

Economic and financial plan

The objective of this section is to establish the economic and financial aspects of the activity and must conclude with the analysis of the economic and financial feasibility of the project.

Determine the initial investment and sources of financing: it reflects the amount of money needed to start the activity and the sources of financing to obtain that amount of money.

Emphasise that the difference between investment and financing must be zero.

Basic points: (Three-year treasury table – Three-year income statement – Loan repayment schedule – Forecast of income per day per day or week – …) (use classic Excel document.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS – (direct or indirect messages to the future entrepreneurs)

  1. What you need is to think, develop that idea.

The business plan is the ideal tool to detect how to start a project and detect weaknesses and potentialities to work before undertaking.

      We must anticipate the different situations that can occur, to know what to do when they arise.

  • Assess the personal circumstances of the entrepreneur.

The entrepreneur is there all day, even if the business is closed. We must assess whether personal and family circumstances (children, dependents, professional and personal life compatibility) are compatible with the time and effort required by the entrepreneurial project.

  • Know how to delegate

There are aspects of the business, which for the time they require, or due to ignorance of how to do it, it is better to delegate to other professionals, and we must know how to detect these aspects to optimise our time and work.

  • Not knowing what your target market is

Starting a business based on what you want instead of what your customers want is one of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make.

  • Do not forecast the income necessary for the viability of the project

Start a project without having done a study or estimate of the current expenses that you are going to have, and of what you will have to invoice to cover those expenses.


  • Adoption of agile thinking for problem solving
  • Ability to ensure the necessary focus on the business
  • Able to cope with stress
  • Ability to invent solution in the framework of the acquired knowledge
Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
Participant will gain agile thinking approach Be strong to face stress – measuring and accepting to work with outside resourcesParticipants will be able to address problems related to business development with a new approach  – being able to diagnostics – project themselves in the future of their activity – being to summarize and formulate  their problems – willing to ask for help
(MODULE ON THE TRAINING NEEDS) participants will get familiar with key concepts such as ‘disadvantaged groups’ and ‘training needs’ participant will learn about challenges and opportunities linked to entrepreneurship will learn to develop and understand the importance of a Business plan/ of financial issues on short -mid – long term approach(MODULE ON THE TRAINING NEEDS) Participants will increase their self-awareness and make the most of their strengths and weaknesses   Participants will be able to seize and shape opportunities to respond to challenges and create value for others


  • Problem solving
  • Ability to visualise the entire value chain of the developed product or service to identify specific pain points and have the necessary tools to address them
  • Be able to create and develop (or be part of)  an efficient and multidisciplinary community

TOOLS AND RESOURCES – collaborative tools

  • Video conferencing platform
  • Local co-working places
  • Develop mentoring approaches
  • Be open to local institutional and sector related support structures
  • Collective coaching
  • Individual mentoring


  • Collective coaching in principle two sessions: one of 3 days and another of 4 days
  • 6-day individual coaching in two sessions, namely two of 3 days
  • The time needed for the future entrepreneurs will depend on their involvement and the overall quality of the coaching
  • For the recommendations: we underline the basic approach of considering the environment, the neighbourhood and the person
  • Please refer / use the final recommendations that we have of this module
MODULE 2 : Business strategy and marketing plan


This module focuses on the “Business Strategy” which defines the goals of a certain business and describes how entrepreneurs will attain those goals. A Business Strategy sets objectives, defines budgets, engages partners, and anticipates problems before they occur. It is generally prepared in order to:

  • Attract investors.
  • Check out if business ideas will work.
  • Outline each area of the business.
  • Set up milestones.
  • Learn about the market.
  • Secure additional funding or loans.
  • Determine financial needs.
  • Attract top-level people.
  • Monitor the business.
  • Devise contingency plans.

Every Business Strategy should include some essential components:

Overview of the Business: Describes the business, including its products and services.

The Marketing Plan: Describes the target market for the product and explains how entrepreneurs will reach that market.

The Financial Management Plan: Details the costs associated with operating the business and explains how will be paid for those costs, including the amount of financing may be needed.

The Operations and Management Plan: Describes how the core processes of the business will be managed, including use of human resources.

Seven common parts of a good Business Plan are:

1.                     Executive Summary

2.                     Business Concept

3.                     Market Analysis

4.                     Management Team

5.                     Marketing Plan

6.                     Financial Plan

7.                     Operations and Management Plan

The Marketing Plan section details what you propose to accomplish, and is critical in obtaining funding to pursue new initiatives.

The Marketing Plan:

  • Explains (from an internal perspective) the impacts and results of past marketing decisions.
  • Explains the external market in which the business is competing.
  • Sets goals to direct future marketing efforts.
  • Sets clear, realistic, and measurable targets.
  • Includes deadlines for meeting those targets.
  • Provides a budget for all marketing activities.
  • Specifies accountability and measures for all activities.


By the end of implementation of this module:

  • The participant will have an overall knowledge about what a business strategy is.
  • The participant will be able to deliver a business marketing plan by implementing the suggested steps.
Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
Describing the business Entrepreneurs will be able to describe themselves by answering the following questions: What is the product or service? How will it benefit the customer? What is different about the product?Is it a new business, a takeover, or an expansion?Why will the business be profitable?What are the growth opportunities? What is the geographic marketing area?
Conducting a situation analysisA situation analysis details the context for the marketing efforts by considering internal and external factors that could influence marketing strategy. This section of the plan could include a SWOT analysis to summarize Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the business.
Defining customer profileEntrepreneurs will be able to define their potential customers by answering the following questions: Who are the competitors, and who do they target?Who is the perfect customer and client base?What is the current customer base (in terms of age, sex, income, and geographic location)?What habits do the customers and potential customers share? Where do they shop, what do they read, watch, listen to?What prospective customers are not currently been reached? How can they be reached?What qualities do the customers value most about the product or service? Do they value selection, convenience, service, reliability, availability, or affordability? What qualities about the product or service are needed to improve? How can they be adjusted to serve the customers better?
Strategizing the market entryEntrepreneurs will be able to focus on their competition by identifying direct competitors and learning what they do. Entrepreneurs will sharpen their decisions about the best business category and market segment in which to compete.
Forecasting sales and/or measuring demandsEntrepreneurs will be able to identify and estimate current demand by considering total market potential, market share, and expected sales. And also, they are going to estimate future demand by considering past sales patterns, consumer trends, and overall market projections.
Defining the marketing budgetEntrepreneurs will be able to define the marketing budget by answering the following questions: What previous marketing methods have been most effective?What are the costs compared to sales?What is the cost per customer?What marketing methods will be used to attract new customers?What percentage of profits can be allocated to the marketing campaign? What marketing tools (i.e. – newspapers, magazines, Internet, direct mail, telemarketing, event sponsorships) can be implemented within the budget? What methods will be used to test the marketing ideas? What methods will be used  to measure results of your marketing campaign?
Integrating the marketing communicationIntegrate marketing communication to consolidate marketing tools, approaches, and resources within a company to maximize impact and gain edge over the competition. Entrepreneurs will be able to apply: 4P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and PlaceMarketing & Advertising (internet, events, direct, database) Public Relations
Identifying sales channelsPart of the challenge of marketing is figuring out which distribution method to use for the business. Entrepreneurs will be able to assess the following channels: RetailWholesaleDirect mailTelemarketingCyber-marketingSales force
Tracking marketing activitiesTracking helps monitor the effectiveness of each marketing activity and is especially helpful with the overall program evaluation. Entrepreneurs will be able to include procedures for tracking each type of marketing activity they are using. For instance; display advertising, internet marketing, trade shows, database.
Evaluating the progressEntrepreneurs will be able to identify how they can measure their success and in what ways their objectives have been met. Entrepreneurs are going to answer following questions Did we reach our goals? Was the marketing campaign successful? Were we able to determine Return on Investment (ROI)? Did our efforts result in conversion? In other words, were we able to convert an inquirer to a visitor, a visitor to a customer? Can we utilize our database to survey, capture additional information, or establish a more comprehensive customer relationship program?


Describing the business – Small business owners often describe themselves by their product or services; however, business must be viewed as a customer-satisfying process, not goods-producing.

Conducting a situation analysis – A situation analysis details the context for the marketing efforts by considering internal and external factors that could influence marketing strategy.

Defining customer profile – Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the centre of every successful business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other businesses. Once you have this knowledge, you can use it to persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is in their best interests.

Strategizing the market entry – A market entry strategy is where you spell out such all-important specifics. It outlines your business goals, an overview of the target market, precisely what you will sell there, expected sales and how you will achieve them.

Forecasting sales and/or measuring demands – Market demand is the total volume that could be bought by a defined customer group in, a defined geographical area, in a defined time period, and under a defined marketing program. Forecasting market demand is the process of using predictive analysis of historical data to estimate and predict customers’ future demand for a product or service. It helps the business make better-informed supply decisions that estimate the total sales and revenue for a future period of time.

Defining the marketing budget – Marketing budgets, especially in small and mid-sized businesses, are often arbitrarily set as either x% of planned revenue or y% over the prior year’s marketing budget. It is essential to use targeted budgeting to more intelligently set the budget based on company objectives.

Integrating the marketing communication – An integrated communication strategy is the connective tissue that ensures brand consistency across all channels and aligns communication with business objectives. It considers who the target audiences are and how and where to communicate to engage them and move the business forward.

Identifying sales channels – To reach out to customers and deliver a product or service, businesses rely on sales channels, which are touchpoints between them and consumers. These distribution channels are as many ways the product can take to arrive at the end consumer. From the creation of its business plan, a company has to face the difficult, strategic choice of which channels to use to sell its value proposition.

Tracking marketing activities – It doesn’t matter whether entrepreneurs are launching a new product or service or they are an established business, tracking will show them which marketing vehicles are working and which ones are not. It will help entrepreneurs in evaluating their marketing efforts and where they are spending their marketing budget.

Evaluating the progress – It entails measuring the actual performance of a business against intended goals. Regularly checking the business performance protects business against any financial or organisational problems. It helps businesses in lowering process cost and improving productivity and mission effectiveness.


In order to find professional business contacts:


• Hoovers (primarily executives)

• LinkedIn

• Lead Liaison

• ZoomInfo

• NetProspex

In order to  find companies:

• Hoovers

• Lead Liaison

• (limited company search)

Social Media:

• TweetDeck

• AddThis

• Facebook

• LinkedIn

• Twitter

• Radian6 (owned by

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

• SEOMoz

• SeoQuake (+ plugins for Firefox)

Website Analytics:

• Google Analytics

• Adobe Online Marketing Suite (Omniture)

Revenue Generation Software:

• Lead Liaison

• All the other wanna-bes

Email Marketing:

• iContact

• Constant Contact

• Vertical Response

• Lead Liaison (closed loop)

• ExactTarget

Customer Relationship Management (CRM):


• SugarCRM

• Microsoft Dynamics

• NetSuite

• Maximizer

Press Releases:

• PRWeb

• PR Newswire


Implementation of this module is expected to be 8 hours. As 4 Hours is dedicated to the introduction and transferring the theoretical knowledge on business strategy and marketing plan, 4 hours of simulative implementation is suggested.

          MODULE 3: Commercial plan


This module provides the main information a new entrepreneur will need to (further) develop their business. After outlining business and marketing plans, the entrepreneur should create a commercial plan. The focus of a commercial plan should be on sales aspects and such on the customers. In it, the entrepreneur needs to define their customers, decide how to reach them, and plan how to keep them engaged with a service / product. It is important to understand the value of a loyal customer base for business growth and profit making. Besides them, any entrepreneur will have to maintain initiatives to also find new customers and be aware about a good mix to stay on the market. To avoid failure, an entrepreneur needs to plan ahead and find ways to gain new clients and keep the existing ones. 

The module is divided into three units.

  1. In the Customer Acquisition unit, the learners will find out how to gain new customers.
  2. The Sales Channels unit will present what sales channels an entrepreneur can use to sell their product(s) / service.
  3. The final unit – Customer Experience and Customer Retention – will discuss how to retain customers and keep them satisfied

The preparation phase takes time and may be complex. Entrepreneurs should have in mind not only their customer profile, but also the customer costs. Gaining new clients can often be an expensive process; customer acquisition costs are 6 to 7 times higher than those for keeping the existing ones. To optimise the individual situation regarding spending and ensuring business success, the learners will have mentors and coaches by their side. The staff will be there to give necessary tips to entrepreneurs and help them work on strategies that would fully prepare them for the upcoming challenges.


The main goal is to equip disadvantaged individuals with knowledge and skills on how to be successfully planning the commercial side of a business. Throughout this module, the learners generate essential knowledge of drafting, developing and implementing a commercial plan for their business. In this module, the learner understands main issues around sales channels and customer and retention. The learner is aware of the costs of these processes and is able to make decisions that will optimally allocate available financial resources and result in profit. 

EQF level: 3

KnowledgeSkillsAutonomy and responsibility
The learner acquires comprehensive, factual, but limited knowledge of developing a commercial plan. They outline potential customers, recognise optimal sales channels, and define plans to interact with and retain the customers.  The learner gains cognitive and practical skills to develop customer acquisition and retention strategies, and calculate costs of gaining and keeping clients.The learner is able to make optimal decisions themselves that will keep the customers engaged with their product(s) / service.

Detailed information about expected learning outcomes for each unit of this module is presented below.

Unit: Customer acquisition

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
The learner understands the importance of customer acquisition.The learner is able to develop a customer acquisition plan.
The learner calculates customer acquisition cost.The learner can optimise costs needed to gain new customers.

Unit: Sales channels

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
The learner differentiates direct from indirect sales channels. S/he knows their PoS (Point of Sales) and knows different sales channels.The learner is able to choose the best way to offer services / products to their customers (PoS) and can address an appropriate sales channel.

Unit: Customer experience and Customer Retention

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
The learner recognises what makes a good customer experience.The learner is able to use customer’s feedback to improve their experience.
The learner prepares a customer retention plan.The entrepreneur is able to retain profitable customers.


Customer acquisition is a process of gaining new customers. Since customers are the backbone of every business, it is vital to develop an optimal strategy that will transform potential buyers into loyal customers. To do so, an entrepreneur should first understand how individuals decide on purchasing products or services. This customer journey consists of three phases. The first phase is ‘discovery’. This is the phase where customers are looking for options to address their needs for service / products a business offers. In the second, ‘consideration’ phase, a client takes the business into their pool of consideration. In it, the client researches the business and products / service they wish to obtain, compares the quality and price with competitors’ products, and evaluates if the said products / service satisfies their needs. If the evaluation is positive, the customer reaches the final, ‘conversion’ phase. They make a decision to buy the products / service and finally become a customer.

This customer journey is also known as the sales funnel and can be visualised like the graphic below.

When an entrepreneur understands the sales funnel, they can start developing their customer acquisition strategy. The strategy should at first identify target audience(s), the groups of people that one wishes to have as customers, and create a customer profile. The strategy should also reflect goals set in the business and marketing plans. Entrepreneurs should choose channels of communication and diversify their messages, so that they can address customers at any stage of the customer journey. One should not forget that interacting with people at ‘discovery’ stage is not the same as communicating with those at ‘consideration’ stage. Another important aspect to think through is the customer acquisition cost. Customer acquisition cost represents all the costs invested in the process of gaining a new customer. To calculate this cost an entrepreneur should divide the amount of money spend to acquire new customers with the number of new customers.

These costs vary from one industry to another. There is no single, ideal customer acquisition cost. What is however important is to keep these costs low or understand other value brought in by customers e.g. To minimise these costs, entrepreneurs should optimise the path to conversion. Analysing what attracted customers the most in the conversion phase and improving upon that can be helpful. There are many benefits of customer acquisition. New customers could raise awareness about a business, increase sales and profit, and give an entrepreneur an opportunity to keep their place on the market and expand their venture. If planned well, this often costly process can yield good results for the business future.

Sales channels are a contact point between a business and customers. They represent the ways to sell products or services to customers. There are two types of sales channels: direct and indirect. Direct sales channels ensure direct contact with the customer and include selling products or services in your store to a customer, face-to-face, or online, on the Internet or through a mobile application. On the other hand, indirect sales channels mean that products or services are offered to customers through a third party, not the business itself. Indirect sales channels involve distributors, retailers, or wholesalers in selling processes. These channels exist in an online environment as well; online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay are the best examples. In addition, there are also industries in which sales along the value chain bring good success rates in sales.

Both types of sales channels have advantages and disadvantages. Whether offline or online, selling goods or services directly to customers provides an entrepreneur with an opportunity to build stronger relationships with the customer and learn more about their needs. If necessary, the entrepreneur can more quickly modify their products or services to ensure they fully meet customers’ expectations. However, selling through direct channels is often expensive. The entrepreneur has a sole responsibility to cover all the costs – from maintenance, marketing, to customer acquisition costs. And, entrepreneurs should have changes planned well to avoid spending into wrong trends or into individual customer’s preferences.

Choosing indirect sales channels may be less expensive, as the costs are divided between the entrepreneur and a third party that places products or service on the market. Using these channels often means reaching a larger number of customers. The business can establish its customer base in a quicker manner than when selling through direct channels; if connected to bigger organisations in this channel also other neighbourhoods could be reached more easily. Main disadvantage of indirect sales channels could be that big retailers and distributors can dictate the sales conditions, slightly decreasing the entrepreneur’s decision-making power, it also asks for more communication along the sales channel and might take longer time spans for changes.

Traditional physical stores and distributors are gradually replaced by direct and indirect online sales channels. Direct online sales channels include e.g. own e-store, website or mobile application. Online indirect sales channels include general marketplaces such as Amazon, social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) or platforms for selling crafts and handmade goods (e.g. Etsy), as well as bigger businesses in the industry or along the value chain. If an entrepreneur chooses online sales, they are expected to have tech-savviness that will allow them to optimally use online sales channels. The marketing concept will have to be closely linked to the commercial planning and needs to consider the selected sales option(s).

Customer experience represents every interaction a customer has with one business. It includes, for example, customer’s thoughts about the product, service or the store. Whether they are satisfied with the goods and their perception of the customer service is also a part of the customer experience. Overall, it is a broad spectre of customer thoughts, perception and satisfaction with a brand as a whole. An entrepreneur should therefore ensure that the customer journey and their interaction with the business are seamless at any given point. To do so, an entrepreneur should use customers’ feedback. This information should be analysed and used to improve the business. What is also important here is to choose what information to take into account when making a decision. Feedback will vary, and customers may comment on many things. In this case, an entrepreneur should not consider every single feedback, but assess what the majority of customers prefer – or the customers that need to be kept (e.g. because of their sales size/ value they bring in). Any changes and incurring costs should also align; to maximise the profit, all costs should be optimised, or ideally, minimised.  

If the customers are satisfied, they will return to the business and continue purchasing goods/ services. Therefore, customer satisfaction is essential for customer retention.

Customer retention is a process of ensuring the number of customers that come back to the business steadily increases. It is a process of creating a loyal client base that will not only purchase your goods or ask for your services, but spread the word about the business and help it grow which is particularly of importance to new businesses that want to operate in a local market. Besides reacting to customer criticism, it also should be considered if your business can offer a loyalty programme or how to offer upgrades to customers (e.g. to be planned in the marketing plan).

Even though vital for further growth, customer retention depends on the business’ lifecycle. The more business develops and becomes established, the more important is customer retention. If an entrepreneur only started a business, the focus should be on gaining new customers, since there are no customers to retain. To help you best address clients and have references to preferences, previous purchases or feedback and personal details, as well as possibly information on the sales pipeline at hand, a Customer Relationship Management system should be implemented as an important backbone to store data and access related details when in contact with your customers. It is important for learners to know and understand, depending on the industry and business size, what they should consider in this sense.


Learners might find this YouTube video[2] interesting, as it provides basic information about customer retention.

This blogpost[3] summarises and describes most important online sales channels for retailers.

The learners might find this blogpost[4] useful, as it provides detailed information about customer acquisition process.

This customer experience guide[5] will show the learners its importance, and how improving customer experience may improve their business.

Tools to consider also relate to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and available software (see also examples)


Training duration: 9 hours; 3 hours per each unit

For Learners: to spend 6 more hours per unit on the implementation of lessons learnt and hands-on work for their individual business.

Working with people from disadvantaged backgrounds might require more flexibility and patience. Some project beneficiaries may find the learning material difficult or would need more support – this could mainly refer to conceptual understanding but also linguistics and learning principles in general to implementing the lessons learnt into their situation and business cases. Therefore the staff should respond accordingly and provide help when needed. For further recommendations trainers/ mentors should refer back to the suggested training/ mentoring methodology provided in the respective manual description

MODULE 4: Communication


Nowadays, the development of a successful communication plan for any entrepreneur, company, state institution, non-governmental organisation, activist association means, first of all, a strong representative core. This core and the values ​​it contains often create: utterly important impressions, vision of a company, its path, mission, development, psychology, reliability, vocation, calling and character, invitation and willingness to cooperate.

In other words, communication is a language – including its sound, timbre, register, richness – in which a particular organisation, a company tells the STORY about itself to the surrounding community, city, country and world – and included in all aforementioned – to its clientele.

Communication of a company directly reflects the values, identity, essence and image of its implementers and deployers. It is with the implementation and development of successful communication / communication strategy / communication policy/ innovative communication approaches that the company is able to form a positive dialogue, resonate, gain recognition, gain trust among people (potential customers, cooperation partners, last but not least – future investors). The implementation of successful communication also ensures the company’s visibility on a wider scale, both locally and internationally, which in turn can foster significantly greater interest in both the particular company and the area in which it operates. The key purpose of an effective communication plan surely is the ability to feel the audience. Not less important is the desire and understanding of how to spark the audience’s interest aimed at the company itself. Reciprocity is not to be overlooked here and is without doubt of grave importance.

Next step: versatile tools – i.e. virtual and social media, conventional (TV, Radio etc.) platforms through which brave and innovative ways of expressing tales, ideas, visions describing the company, services of the company, possibilities of development, characteristics and the soul of the company are told. If all the aforementioned is implemented efficiently – the result – most hopefully – will be an audience that is trusting, willing to give feedback, interact, participate, share opinion, volunteer, cooperate and become – figuratively speaking – a part of an entrepreneur’s family.


  • Identify how to outreach each stakeholder: means finding effective ways of addressing many different stakeholders for the purpose of involving them into collaboration with the company. For instance, potential employees can be addressed via inviting job advertisement descriptions, investors can be addressed via conferences and exhibitions e.t.c.
  • Selecting and setting tone of voice within all communication: means creating a unique and original, specific to the company way of projecting one’s core values and essence into reality via communication
  • Develop storytelling technique – means to create a tale, which is enticing, imbued with appealing elements to the potential customer and stakeholders in general.
  • Proper unfolding of the communications plan is important for it creates the vision of what the company IS and PROVIDES to others. The proper unfolding of a communications plan grants company followers, clientele, popularity, feedback, revenue, competitiveness. Communications plan is a fairly important constituent of a company to become successful and reach all aforementioned aims.

The most important goal in the implementation of any company’s communication policy is to create a recognizable, original way of communication. It is important for the manner of communication of a particular company to stand out among other participants in the field of communication / communication market, preferably with high-quality and original communication implementation, innovative solutions, ingenious communication tools. Turning to the storytelling technique – it is important for the entrepreneur to emphasise in his communication original video scenarios, high quality filmed material, stories, video stories, photo stories, as well as textual characters who are able to express the company’s imagined message in a free and uncomplicated manner. The company’s communication representatives must be encouraged to provide feedback, as well as be well-oriented in their field, in the company’s offer, in the range of services provided by the particular entrepreneur.

The most effective tone of communication, means expressing your company’s story in such a language that the company’s audience – especially the customer – feels welcome and invited to solve their questions, wishes, difficulties, in other words, so that nothing prevents customers from using the company’s services. The entrepreneur must create a feeling, a message that his company is open, friendly, always ready to help, cooperate and, most importantly, talk to the customer. The customer does not have to feel insignificant in front of the company, but a participant of equal cooperation. In terms of stakeholders, the company’s perceived, thoughtful and nuanced communication can stimulate the interest of third parties in cooperation with the company, which has created a positive and attractive image through communication. Investors, employees and customers alike will be fascinated first and foremost by working with a company with a good, open and reliable image – this is the most utterly important communication task.

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
Knowledge of the importance of original communicative means towards the desired audiencePlanning of a unique and original communications campaign as well as foreseeing the means of expressing it.
Knowledge of the importance of storytelling and a great story’s impact on the collective psycheLearning to work with conventional media and learning to use social media platforms for addressing different audience of different age groups, learning to express company’s message in a thorough, inviting and original manner
Knowledge of the importance of creating a feeling of significance in stakeholders related to company via the communication voice and tembreOrganising company’s treatment and communication of and with most valuable people, stakeholders, in an inviting manner, learning to imbue them via communication with the feeling of belonging and trust to the company; begetting in stakeholders the feeling of being equals/part of company’s family


  • Public speaking
  • Storytelling development
  • Online marketing campaigns
  • Stakeholder engagement strategy

The initial goal of any entrepreneur is to reach the widest possible audience. This means that the entrepreneur must operate with media mechanisms to attract and spark interest towards his company from third parties: customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, investors, volunteers, media, etc. In order to achieve the above mentioned objective, it is important to rethink the communication strategy from the outset and, preferably, to establish a communication campaign plan.

A successful communication campaign plan includes creative tools with which the company’s communication will be realised. This should be equated with storytelling development. Original tools of storytelling can, for example, consist of several successive podcasts about the company’s daily life, challenges, innovations, successful transactions, customer or workforce influx.

They can also be a series of videos about the range and features of the services offered by the company, the quality and the features that distinguish the offer of this particular company from the offer of other companies.

Within the framework of the communication campaign plan, it is also important to develop a forecast of the desired frequency of interviews on television and radio platforms, as well as the frequency of uploading various video and photo scenes on social media platforms. Undoubtedly, it is important to observe regularity in the implementation of communication, but also not to oversaturate the media chosen to communicate the message of the entrepreneur or the company. Moving towards the direction of storytelling development of the company, it is important to follow the principle of message development: the interviews and the created stories must be complementary to each other, not ruminant, brooding the same and boring to the audience. The goal of corporate communication must remain the desire to attract people and make them feel welcome and invited, i.e. a part of the family.

Another important point in the development and communication of the entrepreneur’s idea to the general public, potential partners, customers, employees and suppliers: participation in large-scale conferences, presentations, summits, expositions, exhibitions, public presentations whereby entrepreneur is granted the ability to advertise his idea/business to a wide range of stakeholders.

Along with the development of successful communication, an entrepreneur can start developing various online marketing strategies: in regard to these strategies it is, firstly, important to evaluate which online media, in entrepreneur’s opinion, will be able to most effectively address the desired customer spectrum, and will provide the best platform for starting to advertise a product suitable for the desired customers.

Marketing, which must be dressed in appropriate, engaging language, is communication AS WELL.  Also in marketing (similarly to everyday conventional communication) the visual image or visual communication, which is oftentimes paired with high-quality text – sometimes written, sometimes audialized or voiced – forms utmost importance for reaching the desired aims and rationales. Communication and marketing are two important pillars on which a company’s reputation and success in the business world are based.

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
Knowledge of the importance of a nuanced, versatile, conversational communications planCreating a detailed vision in regards of how, by the use of what exactly instrumentarium, creative tools the communication will be brought  to life
Knowledge of the importance of understanding many social platforms and conventional platforms, their appeal to general audiences and the ways they workPaying close attention to the wide range of platforms and learn about the audiences using them and to come up with the best possible solution in regards of which messages will be communicated to which audiences and in what way
Knowledge of the importance of creating a meaningful and appealing contentTo train the ways of communicative expression via different approaches: for instance via text, photos, videos, speeches.
Additional skill, if necessary: to learn to work with various photo and video editors, cameras, sound recorders e.t.c.


Effective communication tools and resources

It is important for a company to choose several platforms in which to communicate with followers. For example, modern day platforms such as Youtube or Facebook etc. platforms can be a good site to distribute informative videos about the company’s services or everyday challenges, innovations, developments or any important stage in the company’s life.

It is often worth remembering that different social networks as well as conventional media platforms tend to be used by different age groups. For example, the social media site Instagram is more popular among young people, but the television or radio influence is more likely to influence the middle (such as those who listen to the radio while driving) or the older generation.

Attention should also be paid to the fact of the peculiarities of different social media platforms. For example, on the social media site Instagram, the emphasis is often placed on a compelling, high-quality image – it conveys the company’s primary message, but the text here is secondary. The advantage of Instagram is the addition of hashtags to the entry, thus easily reaching specifically those people interested in the services provided by the host. With Instagram, it’s easy to reach customers outside of an entrepreneur’s social or public bubble.

A more important role in Facebook is played by a well-developed, relevant, audience-oriented text. Picture here can play a secondary role. It is important to mention that Facebook also offers the possibility of creating a business profile to the entrepreneur, whereby the posts can be boosted or integrated into wider marketing endeavours.. In this way large audiences can be reached – and that costs just a little of money,

Often, for some reason, a potential customer will not look for an entrepreneur’s profile on Facebook or Instagram, so it is important for an entrepreneur to create a nuanced website that explicitly communicates the entrepreneur’s story, mission, vision and vision (again communication) and details the service and product. Ideally, an entrepreneur can hire an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist who will make the host’s website easy to find on google – among other competitors.

It should also be mentioned that if an entrepreneur wants to create a podcast, Spotify or Soundcloud could serve as a suitable platform for its hosting. As these platforms are aimed particularly at listeners, not watchers or readers.

Video links on how to make social media profiles and how implement a google-ads campaign: How To Set Up Key Social Media Profiles For Your Business | V11 – YouTube

How To Use Google Ads 2021 | STEP BY STEP Google Ads Tutorial [FOR BEGINNERS] – YouTube


When helping to develop an entrepreneurial communication strategy, mentors and trainers should pay attention to the proportionality of communication, originality, and addressability. As representatives/helpers of the entrepreneur they are obliged to put effort into creating in people – by their business partners, employees, customers – a sense of belonging to the company, a sense being a part of a larger entrepreneurial family,  begetting a sense of willingness to confer with the company.

It is important to design the company’s communication so that the recipient of the communication feels that the company represents a safe, friendly, loyal, high-quality and collaborative environment, thus multiplying the impression of a positive image of the company.

In terms of technical nuances, before actively starting to tell your company’s story and promote your image on social media platforms, it is important to provide equipment and hire versatile professionals who can manifest ideas of the communication campaign plan/communication strategy into qualitative visual content. Particular attention should be paid to both: quality content and quality form.

Last but not least – for the implementation of the entrepreneur’s communication politics a thorough assessment of the capacity of those in charge of the company’s communication’s department must be done. 

MENTORS should hold educational seminaries for all those interested at least for a month or perhaps two. It would be of uttermost importance to go through the details of creation of a communication plan. Also it would be important to acquaint the seminar attendees with the whole spectrum of communication as a concept, to acquaint the participants with the importance of communication development capacity assessment. After at least a month students should be versatile enough to have a reasonable understanding of communication as a wide spectrum phenomenon.

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
Knowledge of adjusting and shaping different messages according to different social media and conventional media platforms, creating in a unique storiesKnow how of creating specific communication messages compatible with specific media platforms in relation to addressing specific audiences
Knowledge of the wide spectrum of communicative tools used for different purposesSkill of knowing/understanding when and where to use video, an interview, a photo, a text based communication, a podcast, an advertisement
Knowledge of the importance of planning the frequency of airing the communications material and the assessment of one’s capacity to effectively implement communicationSkill to find the equilibrium between over-communicating and communicating insufficiently (i.e. with stakeholders and wider audience) – taking into account one’s capacity.

Key aspects of communication

  • Telling your own story in an original way – standing out in the market – essential for attracting stakeholders and success
  • Thoroughly knowing the plethora of communications channels, audiences that these channels are addressing, types of messages that are compatible with channels – essential for creating a reciprocity in people – future clients, employees and involves of a large spectrum
  • Knowledge of the value of an inclusive visage of a company and how to create one – essential in shaping a sympathetic work environment, attractive entity for investors and future business
  • Creation of a communication plan
  • Usage of various media platforms
  • Creation of a reasonable and compatible content
  • Understanding of a correlation of various media platforms with the various age groups of the addressed audience
  • Understanding of the importance of a unique, inviting way of communication and creating company’s visage through a compelling story, original way of expressing company’s personality
  • Attracting and retaining stakeholders
  • Partners – essential to raise company’s competitiveness within the larger market of other companies, service providers
MODULE 5: Finances


A financial plan is simply an overview of your current business financials and projections for growth. Think of any documents that represent your current monetary situation as a snapshot of the health of your business and the projections being your future expectations.

Importance of a Financial Plan

A financial plan is the most important thing a small business needs. It’s a road map, a guideline, a reminder of what your goals are–what you are trying to achieve in the short-term and the long-term. It lays out what your possible costs are, and it seeks out to address avenues for how to manage these costs. It is so important that investors, bankers, and creditors won’t even set up a meeting with you if you don’t have a financial plan for your small business. A solid financial plan can be a reminder of all the necessary expenditures to keep your small business growing so as to stay ahead of the competitors in your market. The decisions the small business owner takes can have positive or negative consequences. A good financial plan can spot positive and negative trends where they may have become lost in a sea of numbers. This will help you better allocate funds to the areas that are making your business money, and avoid expenditures that didn’t yield enough results.


By the completion of this module, the participant will acquire following knowledge and skills:

–       He/She will be able to draft a financial plan and adapt it within the whole business plan

–       He/She knows the main concepts and methods for an efficient financial plan

–       He/She will be able to sustain a financial plan

–       He/She will know the current trends and approaches on financial control of a business

Knowledge to acquireSkills based on the acquired knowledge
12-month profit & loss projectionThe 12-month profit and loss projection (P&L) is the centrepiece of a business plan.Participants will be able to prepare their documents including projected sales, cost of goods sold and gross profit.Therefore, they can specify expenses, net profit before taxes, estimated taxes and net operating income.
3-year profit & loss projectionCreating a 3-year profit & loss projection will help participants to determine financials to change substantially after the first year, or if investors or lenders require it.
Cash flow projectionThe cash flow statement is an essential parameter defining how much cash a business has on hand at any given time.Participants will be able to create a cash flow projection.The cash flow projection can be defined as a forecast for your business checking account.It details when entrepreneurs need to spend money on things such as inventory, rent and payroll, and when they expect to receive payments from customers and clients.The cash flow projection takes these factors into account, helping entrepreneurs budget for upcoming expenses so their business doesn’t run out of money.
3-year cash flow statementThe cash flow statement is an essential parameter defining how much cash a business has on hand at any given time.Participants will be able to create a cash flow projection.The cash flow projection can be defined as a forecast for your business checking account.It details when entrepreneurs need to spend money on things such as inventory, rent and payroll, and when they expect to receive payments from customers and clients.The cash flow projection takes these factors into account, helping entrepreneurs budget for upcoming expenses so their business doesn’t run out of money.
Projected balance sheetA balance sheet subtracts the company’s liabilities from its assets to arrive at the owner’s equity.Participants will be able to create a projected balance sheet showing the estimated financial condition of their business at the end of its first year.The projected balance sheet includes any owner’s equity resulting from the business’s first year in operation.Lenders and investors may want to see this projection.
Break-even calculationThe break-even analysis projects the sales volume is needed in order to cover costs.Participants will be able to calculate break-even scenarios using their profit and loss projections, expected fixed and variable costs.According to the category of their business, they may even create a couple of different break-even analyses for different scenarios.
Use of capitalIf an entrepreneur is using the business plan to seek financing from lenders or investors, he/she has to provide a breakdown of how he/she will use the capital and what results that are expected.Therefore, good skills on use of capital can help entrepreneurs to extend their vision and provide foreseeability.
Benefits of Financial Planning for Business
1. Clear company goalsThis is the starting point for a whole financial plan. What is the company supposed to achieve in the next quarter, year, three years, and so on? Early on, you’ll want to establish that there is a real need for your business, and that your business fills this need. This is also known as “product/market fit.” For many startups, the first several years may be devoted to building a product and establishing that product/market fit. So this would be your chief one-to-two year goal, with smaller checkpoints along the way. Crucially, if this is your key goal, you won’t set lofty sales targets or huge marketing KPIs. What’s the point of investing in sales and marketing for new customers, if the product isn’t ready to sell?  
2. Sensible cash flow managementYour financial plan should also set clear expectations for cash flow – the amount coming in and out of the company. In the beginning, you’ll of course spend more than you make. But what is an acceptable level of expense, and how will you stay on track?   As part of this plan, you also need to figure out how you’ll measure cash flow easily. You may not have seasoned finance experts in the team, so can you accurately and efficiently keep track of where your money’s going?   By making your plan now, you can anticipate challenges both in receiving money and spending it, and identify ways to do both more effectively.  
3. Smart budget allocationThis is obviously closely related to cash flow management and cost reductions. Once you have a clear understanding of the amount of funding you have to spend – whether through sales income or investments – you need to figure out how you’ll actually spend it.   The company has its overall budget – essentially its “burn rate” for each quarter or year. Break this down into specific team budgets (product development, marketing, customer support, etc.), and ensure that the amounts dedicated to each reflect their importance.   Budgets give each team their own constraints from within which to build. They know what resources are available to them, and can plan out campaigns and personal or product development accordingly.   At the company level, tracking project or team budgets is always going to be easier than monitoring spending as a whole. Once you break each budget down, it’s relatively straightforward to keep an eye on who’s spending what.
4. Necessary cost reductionsAside from setting out how much you can afford to spend (and on what), a financial plan also lets you spot savings ahead of time. If you’ve already been in business for some time, building your financial plan involves first looking back at what you’ve already spent and how fast you’re currently growing.   As you set out your budget(s) for next year, you’ll refer back to past spending and identify unnecessary or over-inflated costs along the way. And then for next year’s budget, you simply adjust accordingly.   This conscious effort is all part of spend control, the practice of keeping company spending in line with your expectations. Even better, a quarterly or annual review almost always unearths areas where you can save money and put your resources to better use.
5. Risk mitigationA crucial aspect of the finance team’s role is to help companies avoid and navigate risk – from financial fraud to economic crisis. And while plenty of risks are hard to predict or even avoid, there are plenty that you can see coming.   Your financial plan should make room for certain business insurance expenses, losses through risky inefficiencies, and perhaps set aside resources for unexpected expenses. Particularly during turbulent times, you may in fact create several financial forecasts which show different outcomes for the business: one where revenue is easy to come by, and one or two others where times are tougher.   Again, the point is to have contingency plans in place, and to attempt to determine how your roadmap changes if you grow only 20% next quarter instead of 30% (or 50%). There’s no reason to go overboard, but you can find risky areas within the business, and also consider your best responses if things go wrong.
6. Crisis managementThe first thing that tends to happen in any company crisis is you review and re-build your plans. Which of course means that you must have a clear business plan in the first place. Otherwise, your crisis response is simply to improvise.   And those with robust and well thought-out financial plans will find this process easier. They’re not starting from scratch over and over, and they’ve already identified obvious risks and the key levers to pull in response.
7. Smooth fundraisingWhether you’re a brand new start-up, a sustainable company that needs a small cash injection, or looking for a significant series-level investment, at some point you’ll likely need funds.   And the first thing any prospective investor or bank will ask you for is your business plan. They want to see how you intend to grow the business, what risks and uncertainties are involved, and how you’ll put their money to good use.   A financial plan that speaks to investors is critical, and the better your history of planning is, the more likely they’ll trust your projections. So whether or not you’re looking for funds today, a business financial plan is an important tool in your chest.
8. A growth roadmapFinally, your financial plan helps you analyze your current situation, and project where you want the business to be in the future. Again, your wider business plan will do this on a broad level: the markets you’d like to be present in; the number of employees you’ll have; the products or services you hope to sell.   The financial section adds data to these goals, and plugs in your level of investment along the way. For example, if you wish to hire 100 new employees this year, your financial plan will likely need to include recruiters, and a specific budget to find new talent.   Take the time to set out how large you expect the company to be, your expenses with a larger company, and the amount of revenue coming in to compensate. If you’ve raised venture capital to help grow financially, you can probably expect to burn cash faster than you make it – this is normal.  
9. Transparency with staff and investorsIt is expected that company executives will be open and honest with staff. Some start-up’s go so far as to publicise their salaries for the world to see.   At the very least, modern employees want to see that the company is in good hands and on the road to success. And when executives can share the financial plan in all-hands meetings, they bring real data to what would otherwise be a business plan lacking in details.   Employees love to see key figures like revenue coming in, costs, and where you are on the road to profitability.








For this section, the trainer is suggested to have a clear presentation of theoretical concepts of the business plan briefly in the beginning. Then for each sub-section of the business plan, a template canvas will be provided to the working individuals / groups to discuss and fill them with the trainer’s support.

The following activity should take place after the completion of the main concepts and given feedback. This follow up activity includes the benefits of a financial plan in order to better understand the implementation of each step and why it is necessary by providing up-to-date examples.


Week and topicsTraining sesionsMentoringCoaching 
Week 1 > Introduction to training methodologies and objectivesDesign thinking (Module 1)PROJECT ANALYSIS : Human and economic objectivesVALUES: Why am I doing this? 
Lean Startup (Module 1) 
Canvas business model (Module 1) 
Group building activities 
Week 2 > Introduction to training methodologies and objectives:Workshop on Canvas Business model (Module 1)CANVAS MODEL BUSINESS 
Week 3 > Introduction to training methodologies and objectivesWorkshop on Canvas Business model (Module 1)  
Week 4 > Introduction to training methodologies and objectivesBusiness strategy (Module 2)  
Week 5 > Market analysisHypothesis validation (Module 2)CLIENT PROFILE + VALUES MAPPINGBELIEFS: Stop believing what we think we are 
Marketing plan (Module 2) 
Week 6 > Digital marketingGroup dynamicsADAPTABILITY + DEFINING VALUABLE PROPOSAL 
Digital marketing (Module 2) 
Week 7 > Commercial planSelling plan (Module 3)EXPERIMENTS DESIGNSELF ESTEEM: If you’re not, who is there 
Physical sales channels (Module 3) 
Customer experience (Module 3) 
Week 8 > CommunicationCommunication plan: digital branding (Module 4)HYPOTHESIS VALIDATION: becoming researchers, Archaeologists, Journalists… 
Communication plan: storytelling (Module 4) 
Contents and copywriting (Module 4) 
Communication workshop: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin… (Module 4) 
Week 9 > Creating an online business environmentHow to create a webpage? (Module 4)ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: designing new values proposalMENTAL MAP: Everything is fruit and consequence of our own interpretation 
How to create an online store? (Module 4) 
Week 10 > Legislation and bureaucracyGroup dynamicsCREATING THE SMALLEST VIABLE PRODUCT 
Legal aspect of business creation (Module 5) 
Week 11 > Finances and brandingFinance: accounting, financial plan, fundraising (Module 5)VALIDATING MARKETSDESERVING : You deserve much more than enough 
Online tools for graphic design and audiovisual creation (Module 4) 
Elevator pitch (Module 4) 
Week 12 > Evaluation and follow-upFinal recapANALYSIS OF RESULTS: Business model validation 
Planning following months 
Final group dynamics 
3 next months Follow-up of the entrepreneurs    
European Creditsystem for Vocational Education and Training – ECVET and the HERE Project

To offer a standardised education system, the European Commission and its Member States have implemented the European Qualifications Framework (short: EQF[6]) translating their National Qualification Frameworks (short: NQF) along suggested eight official education levels.

Their levels are a way to measure and compare learning experiences.

  • The National Qualifications Framework records the credits given to specific study areas and gives them an NQF level – to make sure that all learning done across the country can be recognised equally
  • It helps to support the comparability and comprehensibility of qualifications in Europe – since mobility from people in Europe increases

For vocational training, the European Commission suggested 2010 the European credit system for vocational education and training (short: ECVET[7]), a credit system to ease transparency and any transfer in further education enhancing the recognition of international qualification and an easier exchange and recognition of courses in the labour market. National coordination points (short: NCPs) available / alternatives are in charge of possible questions around the topic.

Within the HERE project it was suggested to also align the HERE course to these systems for a higher chance in transferability and recognition of the course in a wider geographical scope than in the project partnership countries (in alphabetic order) Austria, Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Spain and Turkey by the project partners. Applying these two systems, it means to also follow the EQF/ECVET guidelines related to definitions and structuring of courses, labelling individual elements in use described in short in the following paragraphs:

Both, EQF and ECVET use learning outcomes to describe what a person shall know/ be able to do upon the completion of the course/ education level which in turn is described in terms of

  • Knowledge: described as theoretical and/or factual.
  • Skills: described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) and practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments).
  • Competences / Responsibility and autonomy: described as the ability of the learner to apply knowledge and skills autonomously and with responsibility.

This means, within the two aforementioned approved education systems, a course would be structured into modules and units (of learning outcomes) as a result of a coherent set of knowledge, skills and competences that can be assessed and validated. To follow these guidelines, the HERE project also defined the course units of learning outcomes and structured them comprehensively and logically.

In specific, for the target group defined in the HERE project (i.e. entrepreneurs from disadvantaged groups with low pervious education accomplishment – see also the “profile” examples provided in earlier chapters), the following general EQF level and learning outcomes shall apply:

EQF Level 3:  Knowledge
Knowledge of facts, principles, processes and general concepts, in a field of work or study  Skills
A range of cognitive and practical skills required to accomplish tasks and solve problems by selecting and applying basic methods, tools, materials and information  Responsibility + autonomy
Take responsibility for completion of tasks in work or study; adapt own behaviour to circumstances in solving problems

Detailed information on learning outcomes per Module is provided within each module to help enable an evaluation process that determines if a learner has achieved the learning outcome at the end of the course, not only within one provider or country, but wherever this structure is being followed.

In fact, by following the transparency tools of EQF and ECVET the HERE course can be implemented, assessed and validated in all countries which accept this model. As a consequence, they can offer the following structure and possible accreditation that comes with it when joining the scheme:

Module No.Module TitleLearning UnitsTraining/ learning hoursMentoring and Coaching hoursECVET credit points
1Introduction to agile methodologies for business models design1.1   Agile business planning1.2   Agile working methods for business model design1060.64    
2Business strategy and marketing2.1  Introduction to business strategy 2.2  Fundamentals of marketing 2.3  Marketing and social media1560.84
3Commercial plan3.1 Customer Acquisition 3.2 Sales Channels 3.3 Customer Experience and Customer Retention1560.84
4Communication4.1 Public speaking 4.2 Storytelling 4.3. Stakeholder engagement strategy  1560.84  
5Finances5.1 Financial plan 5.2 Funding  1060.64
Total   3.8


ECVET in HERE partner countries

The following details were researched for the ECVET report organised in the HERE project.

While the EU has rolled out the European Qualifications Framework (short: EQF) and the European credit system for vocational education and training (short: ECVET[8]) systems, the member states have not all implemented (yet) all of the suggested elements and procedures in full. In short, we can summarise that EU countries within the project partnership can be categorised into three groups, depending on to what extend the countries take part in the ECVET system – the colour code used further on below helps to highlight the groups:

 Group 1: countries that have credit systems compatible with ECVET

Group 2: countries that are working towards ECVET-compatible systems;

Group 3: countries without credit systems and without system level ECVET initiatives. These are the countries where activities at the system level have not started or have been put on hold for various reasons.

LatviaSpainBelgium ItalyAustriaTurkey
ECVET available
NOYESECVET on holdYESNOT YETYES: in mobility Erasmus context Not completely in VETNOT YET
Current credit systems/units 
Modules and units that are linked to NQF      VET  system implemented all ECVET principles, except credit points        NQF is used as a tool for describing and assigning levels to the learning outcomesNQF IS linked to ECVET, which is seen as a chance to improve VET

Training profiles describe the expected learning outcomes and are based on units with credit points  
Modules and units; training credits are recognised VET structures are compatible with ECVET principlesECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) compatibleModules and units; training credits are recognised ECTS-compatibleECVET used in connection with Erasmus mobilityModules and units; training credits are recognised
Implementation status of ECVET 
2019: seminar on fostering ECVET imple-mentation2020 amendments in the VET sector underpin the application of ECVET principlesAll VET programmes are designed as learning units and modulesECVET is seen sceptical and as just a bureaucratic effortTraining profiles are based on units with credit pointsECVET  ValidationVET and Higher Education structures are compatible with ECVET principles.Studies point to a growing interest to ECVET2013: a national ECVET implementation strategy was presented: Employing the added value of ECVET A national working group on ECVET was founded ECVET found in Erasmus programmes not yet in VET programmesECVET is implemented within the EU-funded projects/trainings – Accreditation is available
Organisation of Validation abroad 
 A modular system is being developed by the National Education Centre (NEC) with support from the ESFLearning Agreement: Recognition of learning outcomes abroad and related to the workplaceTransfer of learning outcome abroad is not commonTransfer of learning outcome abroad is not commonEasier with ECVET      Training providers define units of learning outcomes for mobility actionsECVET should be implemented for permeabilityLegislation allows recognition of learning/work placement periods abroadPossible only through the implementation of EU-funded VET mobilities
National coordination points (NCPs) available / alternatives 
No NCP – State Education Development Agency (SEDA).NCP-ECVET:  General Directorate for Guidance and Vocational Training of the MinistryNCP-ECVET: The Department of Education and TrainingNCP-ECVET: National Agency for Education and TrainingNCP-ECVET has not yet been nominated – a team of experts and a community of practice existNo NCPA community of practice exists through the team of experts who provide advice and training to: o   get involved pre-paring curricula for VET o   institutions make learners mobileTurkish National Agency is the main coordination point.


[1] “This Is How A Great Mentor Could Boost Your Career And Life”. 2021. The Balance Careers.








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