East Belfast Enterprise welcomed all the DATA SET projects partners to Belfast, United Kingdom for the initial two-day meeting of the project. It was a highly productive meeting around a topic of very significant importance, not just in the United Kingdom but across Europe. Jonathan McAlpin – Managing Director of the company and all-round kick-ass leader was the Chair for the meeting ensuring everyone stayed awake and the meeting progressed as per the Agenda.

Jonathan went on to explain that if the economy is to flourish, SMEs must develop data skills or risk being uncompetitive. But there is an obstacle: today’s entrepreneurship teachers and trainers also face a data skills deficit. The majority entered the workforce before big data existed and there is currently no reliable source of training to help them boost their own skills. In East Belfast Enterprise survey across 28 Local Enterprise Agencies in the Enterprise NI Network, 52% of business advisors said they were completely unaware of the range of data that is available and 70% rated their own knowledge of smart data as poor.

To remedy this situation, Data SET will improve the ability of entrepreneurship education providers to understand and teach smart data skills, thus providing SME managers, early stage entrepreneurs and business students with more relevant, effective training.

The project responds to the following needs:

  1. SME MANAGERS (current entrepreneurs) need to learn how to grow their smart data capacity even with limited resources. The training must be flexible, to ensure participation, and be inclusive of all levels of a prior digital skills.
  2. EARLY STAGE ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS STUDENTS (future entrepreneurs) need to know how to build data skills into their business plans from the get go, to help capitalize on market opportunities.
  3. ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION PROVIDERS (VET colleges, enterprise agencies, local authorities, HEIs) who recognise big data is as an important trend, but lack understanding of its relevance to their daily work, as well as the pedagogical strategies to teach it to others. Our open education resources respond comprehensively in a practical, cost effective manner.
  4. ENTERPRISE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STAKEHOLDERS who need scalable strategies for upskilling our populations in data skills and digital competencies in general, in order to ensure economies stay competitive and they stay ahead of the curve at the forefront of entrepreneurship support.