This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Project number: 2020-1-IE01-KA202-066017

Project Team & Partners

Atlantic Technological University, Galway

ATU was previously known as Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and officially became ATU on April 1st 2022 when it amalgamated with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and Sligo Institute of Technology. ATU’s mission states: “At ATU we develop life-long learning opportunities through our teaching and research, by supporting regional development consistent with national higher education policy.” Since its establishment, there has been a strong research tradition in ATU, characterised by high-quality research in several niche areas. Initially, this manifested through individual staff members’ endeavours to do research, publish, and come together in small research groups. ATU is the first Irish higher education institute (HEI) to participate in an Erasmus Mundus shared doctorate programme Sustainability is embedded as a core guiding principle for ATU more. While successfully securing considerable funding to build entrepreneurial opportunities activity and supports for those in the Agri-Food sector across Europe.

The AWARE project has come to fruition following the success of the “Educate to Innovate” project that aimed to develop and sustain female food entrepreneurs by developing peer-led training materials and resources for VET educators to use specific to their female learners’ needs. The project was a 2020 Green Gown Award shortlist and came runner up for a prestigious award. Previously, ATU began working to support entrepreneurs in 2016 in the ‘Creating Entrepreneurs in Food’ (CEF), which worked to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in rural communities across Europe using work-based learning in all its forms, with particular attention to apprenticeship-type training. 

Dr Lisa Ryan
Head of the Sport Exercise and Nutrition Department at ATU
Maria McDonagh
Project Manager
Emma Finnegan
Project Communications, ATU

Project Partners

Macra na Feirme

Macra na Feirme is a voluntary organisation representing a thriving community of 10,000 young people from rural Ireland. The organisation advocates for, nurtures and develops members aged between 17 and 35 in a fun, inclusive and supportive environment. The mission of Macra na Feirme is to contribute to sustainable development of rural communities in Ireland.

Ciara McDonnell
Gillian Richardson

University of Bedfordshire

University of Bedfordshire is a higher education institute in England, UK. It is the largest provider of undergraduate and postgraduate education in Bedfordshire. The university has over 24,000 students from over 100 countries and over 1200 members of staff. It has education partners in UK, Europe, Asia and Middle East and international and multi-cultural learning communities. The university has four faculties and four main campus, including: University of Bedfordshire Business School, Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science, Faculty of Education and Sport, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

The business school has considerable experience and knowledge in supporting local and regional enterprises through funded projects, including European social fund, EU Lifelong Learning Programmes and Erasmus+ programme. The business school strongly supports teaching, training and research links with employers and has a wide range of projects in providing training for improving different skills including digital business, entrepreneurship, digital marketing, business communications, etc.

UoB have been involved in many lifelong learning projects and training programmes which include:

  • E-Business for Women – an ESF funded project for providing e-business training to women entrepreneurs.
  • Innovative learning approach for non-IT students to improve their computing competence (CC INFINITE). An Erasmus+ KA2 project.
  • Creating Creative Entrepreneurs (CCE). A project funded British Council Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise programme.
  • Creating entrepreneurs for Food (CEF). An Erasmus+ KA2 project.
  • Development and test of a system for the recognition of professional competences in the field of commerce. EU LDV project.
  • Development and test of a modular ECVET system in the field of professional further training (M-ECVET-S). EU LDV project
  • Promoting social entrepreneurial spirit among the young people. EU LDV project.
Dr Yanqing (Yan) Duan
Dr Yongmei Bentley
Patricia Wilson
Dr Manpreet K Dhillon

PROPEL Europe

PROPEL Europe is an organisation set up to help upskill and improve different areas of the European community, with a special focus on rural regions. Our company’s main expertise relies on providing information and/or educational materials to target groups of all ages in Belgium and the other Member States, with the help of our partners. Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit is one of the main goals of PROPEL. We aim to equip rural actors with the necessary skills, tools, and information to develop their own business and help it reach its true potential.

Jessica Fitch
Diana Nitu

CIA Toscana

The Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori Toscana (CIA Toscana) is a professional farmers association. The CIA Toscana represents and protects the farmer’s economic, social and civil interests and the rural community. The CIA affirms agriculture’s fundamental importance to the economy and in society. The CIA Toscana is a democratic, independent from political parties, trade unions and government. Farmers and agricultural enterprises agree together with conceding of rural country-estates, pensioners, Confederation’s employees, its institutes, associations and societies, the technicians and whoever works in a rural environment.

CIA Toscana is organised in provincial, regional and national associations which are legally independent. CIA Toscana is based in Florence and represent 20.000 farmers and more than 70.000 associated. The regional CIA system is present in every major town and in the majority of Tuscany’s communes. Thanks to its presence, the CIA guarantees also the town-dwellers and pensioners of the marginal areas, it offers good answers at the agricultural enterprise’s requirement. The CIA Toscana works to affirm and to improve the farmer’s professionalism, the development of the agricultural enterprise, the diffusion of innovation, the protection of the social and civil rights in rural communities. CIA Toscana promote and protect female farmers thanks to its association „Donne in Campo”. Founded in 1999 Donne in Campo with Cia Toscana support women’s networks, assist and forms models or alliances of female entrepreneurs and improve the entrepreneurial spirit, professionalism and safety of women in rural areas and promoting their inclusion in the management bodies of companies and associations.

Alessandra Alberti
Cosimo Righini

The Polish Farm Advisory and Training Centre Not-For-Profit Sp. z o.o.

The Polish Farm Advisory and Training Centre Not-For-Profit Sp. z o.o. is a private not-for-profit company dedicated to providing farm advisory services, fostering rural development, and enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit in rural areas by providing formal and non-formal training opportunities in the field of agriculture, rural business start-up, food production and food processing.

Natalia Truszkowska
Project Manager
Klaudia Liszewska
Project Officer at the Polish Farm Advisory and Training Centre