Ethical Purchasing Groups

These days, even more than ever it is very important to develop, support and foster ethical purchasing practices in supply chains. The Erasmus Plus Project ‘Social Start Up’ aims to do exactly that.

Ethical supply chain management is becoming a mainstream business issue as questions about business practices constantly arise. All companies or business entities need an ethical policy or code of conduct when it comes to their supply chain.

This ‘Social Start Ups’ , The Erasmus + Project brought together entrepreneurs, ethical purchasing groups (EPGs), business mentors and researchers from the UK, Italy, Croatia and France. The aim of the project is to initiate social enterprise start-ups among ethical purchasing groups operating within the organic agri-food sectors in Italy, Croatia and France. The goal is to develop, test and validate a learning methodology for adult learners by experimenting the Ethical Purchasing Groups as real laboratories for the acquisition of key competences. The methodology of Social Start Ups is based on a “learning by doing” approach which includes the direct involvement of adults/participants in the Ethical Purchasing Groups start-up and management activities. The project also aims to define, through a participatory approach, a sustainable model of EPG, that meets both producers’ and consumers’ needs. Other very important intellectual outputs of the Project are: developing a mentoring guide and creating a business log book available in hard as well as in electronic copy.

The project started in March 2015 and is successfully achieving all its objectives. As the project is spread over nearly two years and the implementation is taking place in various locations, to support all the objectives of the project, the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre together with the University of East Anglia, TAMAT (Lead partner and Italian NGO focusing on supporting micro enterprise development internationally), Parco 3A (Italy), AMSED (France), and the Municipality of Verteneglio (Croatia) have developed a comprehensive methodology with valuable training sessions and efficient mentoring.

The Futures Centre here at Plymouth University, held several events in support of the Project since its launch. These were full of stimulating discussions and allowed us to further develop our understanding of the importance and the impact of entrepreneurial mentoring on starting up social enterprises especially ethical purchasing groups.

Dr Haya Al-Dajani also talked about a methodological tool and other relevant toolkits ‘training the trainers’ she and other partners have designed and developed to support a mentor training programme as part of the Social Start Up Project.

It is wonderful to see the great impact of the project and the support the project is continuously providing to potential social entrepreneurs and individuals engaged with and working in ethical purchasing groups when it comes to unlocking their entrepreneurial talents.

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