Action Space for Fostering SME and Entrepreneurship Development in the Tourism Sector - Fostering SMEs and Entrepreneurship Development in Support of Alternative Tourism


  • Ensure a transparent and favourable business environment
    Ensure and on-going review and dialogue with key stakeholders about creating a business environment that is transparent, understandable to enterprises and enabling of entrepreneurship. The term ‘business environment’ used in this context is wide-ranging and incorporates the fiscal and regulatory framework that businesses face (including opportunities for and restrictions upon informal economic activity), incidences of corruption, the availability of capital for investment, the availability of skilled labour, and particular kinds of infrastructure issues such as internet access.
  • Focus on local businesses
    Recognise the diversity of SMEs and seek to understand more about the characteristics of local businesses. Use such knowledge to encourage participation in local business initiatives. A particular feature should be to encourage various businesses to see themselves as part of a local ‘tourism sector’. Supporting the creation of tourism business networks would be useful in this context.
  • Strengthen business practices
    Devise flexible support mechanisms that relate to the world of the entrepreneur rather than mass-produced training courses, which will not be seen as relevant to their world and development needs.
    Small businesses may enhance business performance by adopting particular business practices but in many cases they will need to have opportunities to learn.
  • Promoting partnerships
    Develop municipal partnership working that incorporates SMEs. A pre-requisite to effective implementation will be capability and capacity building for the various actors that will be involved. Partnership working is vital if there is to be effective co-ordination between the various actors with an interest in the development of alternative tourism in Bulgaria. Some of the principles of effective partnership working are as follows: recognition of inter-dependence; a convenor is required that is seen to have legitimacy, expertise, and authority; a shared vision is developed where there is a sense of individual and collective benefits; a shared perception that decisions arrived at will be implemented.
  • Undertake a skills mapping exercise and develop means for delivering relevant skills
    Review the curriculum of specialist colleges to make sure that it meets the needs of contemporary tourism businesses. In addition, undertake a skills mapping exercise and develop means for delivering relevant skills to the labour market. The availability of skills is potentially an important constraint on development. A clear assessment of the strategic skills needs in tourism is required. At a municipal or regional level this should involve attempting to map supply of skills with demand and fill gaps accordingly. The curriculum could also be extended to include entrepreneurship and start-up training at a variety of levels. There is a sense that some of the curriculum followed at specialist colleges is rather dated by European standards.
  • Review current practices of business support and learn from them
    Review current practice of business support options available by finding out more about practice elsewhere and identify municipalities in other countries with experience of how to secure EU finance for support projects, and learn from them.


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