M-House project: Mobile learning to unleash households business potential

Between last 5th and 7th February 2014, Brussels has hosted the kick-off meeting of the M-House project “Mobile learning to unleash households’ business potential”. The project, funded by the European Commission under the Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme, aims to raise awareness of the entrepreneurial skills of adults in charge of managing a house or a family.

The Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce is the organization leader of the M-House consortium and is coordinating a partnership of several organisations coming from 6 different countries: the German Fulda University of Applied Sciences, the Institute Inter.research e.V, the Cooperative for Innovation and Development of South Italy, the Polish Kozminski University, the Danish consultancy Anne Fox, the International Federation for Home Economics and the Romanian Association for Lifelong Learning in Rural Areas.

The main objective of the M-House project is to increase the number of start-ups and enterprises that will be created as well as to promote the intrapreneurial spirit of households, which means behaving in an entrepreneurial way while you are an employee, a key aspect for career development. The target of the project are households, a term which has a wide meaning including people living alone, flatmates sharing their responsibilities for the house management, couples or families with children. The main problem the project aims to tackle is that house and family management implies entrepreneurial skills which households are little aware of and the competences acquired are not recognized or are taken for granted.

The kick-off meeting, organized by the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, has constituted the first official opportunity for all partners to meet and discuss upon the future implementation of the project, aiming to define the main activities they will be carrying out during the 2-year lifespan of the project. The partners have thus worked together to identify key-situations that normally households face when carrying out their daily activities at home which imply entrepreneurial skills. Subsequently they will develop e-learning modules accessible from computers and mobile devices aimed to raise awareness within households about the skills and the competences that they were developing carrying out such activities.

A valorisation portal will be implemented during the project, through which the partners want to provide a useful tool that can be used by the learners during and after finishing the course, a tool where they can put into practise what they have learnt, find information about business opportunities, about possible funding, or information about how to open a new business. Other parallel activities that will be implemented will imply the interaction between learners and entrepreneurs such as, for example, during the next events the consortium is going to organize in Poland and Italy, as well as thanks to the quality evaluation provided by the stakeholders board made up of 25 members.

In order to launch the project and involve all the relevant stakeholders, the partners’ consortium has promoted a public opening event entitled “Management skills from your house to your professional life: Boosting households’ entrepreneurial potential”. The conference, which has taken place on February 6th 2014 at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union, has presented the project aims and future activities to the present stakeholders.

In addition, thanks to the contribution of Prof. Dr. Michael-Burkhard Piorkowsky from the University of Bonn and PhD. Tarja Römer-Paakkanen from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and Jyväskylä University, the conference has represented an opportunity to discuss the academic link between private households and business models.