The project Consortium is composed of five organizations from four different Programme Countries: the Integrated Business Institute (IBI) – FYR Macedonia (Applicant Organization), The University College of Economics and Culture (EKA) – Latvia (Partner Organization), University of Pavia – Italy (Partner Organization), Riga Technical University (RTU) – Latvia (Partner Organization) and University of Ljubljana – Slovenia (Partner Organization). The selection process of the Partnering Organizations was based on identifying highly qualified institutions, which had previous experience and addressed the overall project objective and project purposes accordingly individually as part of their long-term strategic programmes. Each of the partnering institutions was selected in order to create a stable, adequate Consortium, with partnering institutions which match and provide complementarity in both their strengths and weaknesses.
The Integrated Business Institute (IBI) is established in 2011 in FYR Macedonia. IBI has been implementing new curricula, focusing on enhancing the entrepreneurial culture among graduates and linkages with the business community. IBI is composed of highly qualified research team, which will bring researching experience and competencies in developing the innovative learning model. Additionally IBI has already developed a local network with relevant stakeholders from the business community and the public sector, which will be put into full use for achieving the project goals.
The University College of Economics and Culture (EKA) is a private higher education institution which will bring their quality and vast experience in delivering educational best practices. They have collected numerous recognitions in Europe regarding the implementation of educational programmes, and their experience will especially add value to the creation of the integrated model.
University of Pavia will provide assistance to the project in creation of the integrated model. The experience of the Riga Technical University regarding the efforts 1)to facilitate the innovation and technology transfer in RTU through activities promoting the inventions of their researchers and 2) to connect the researchers with the right market resources has been taken into consideration while choosing partners on this project. This HEI accents innovation and entrepreneurship highly, through its innovation and technology transfer center being the initial link between the HEI and businesses in the region is established. Therefore, this HEI can share not only experience in entrepreneurial support, but also seed communication and cooperation with the business community.
The University of Ljubljana has been chosen because of its several appealing aspects for this project. It is a HEI that has successfully implemented various steps towards modernization of higher education, a credit system (ECTS) for the assessment of study performance is in place. Moreover, the University of Ljubljana can also provide with good practices for the encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation. The University of Ljubljana has already established a successful network of Career Centres and University Incubator, this experience may be transferred to the project. Additionally, the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Administration, has established the Centre for the Development of Pedagogical Excellence with the objective to strive towards pedagogical excellence as expected by its stakeholders.
All partnering organizations have been doing a cooperative research on the main issues covered by this project prior to the beginning of the application preparation process. Each partnering HEI has outlined its main contributions to the project, which has lead to the creation of the main idea of the project. It is important to stress that the partners have not cooperated in this form before, and this will be the first time they work on a joint project. Therefore, they fulfill one of the main points of the mission of the Erasmus plus programme – widening the cooperation between European institutions, especially establishing new partnerships between institutions in different countries. None of the partnering institutions has been involved previously in a similar project, which makes this partnership an innovative approach to targeting transnational issues in higher education.