Beyond understanding blockchain: What the SME Training Programme offers

Blockstart, as a project, is not just about providing opportunities for businesses to learn about what blockchain technology is, it is also about helping businesses understand how integrating a blockchain solution would change their business, address current business challenges and create new opportunities for growth.

The starting point is ensuring that a business understands where they are now, what their strengths and challenges are, and what barriers to growth they currently face. Our experienced business experts have established tools to efficiently analyse a business and help the directors understand their current stage of development. 

Our business support programme then offers a range of training options in blockchain technology, allowing a business to choose the technical level that is right for them and hear from more than one blockchain expert. The information is tailored to our focus sectors: healthcare, supply chain, logistics and agrofood, enabling the business to get a real understanding of precisely what blockchain means in the context of their sector.

Once the blockchain knowledge has been established, the support programme offers a series of business skill workshops that allow businesses to workshop in small groups and analyse the impact and feasibility of a blockchain solution on their business. Topics such as customer value proposition, investment readiness, supply chain optimisation, business process optimisation and sales strategy will be delivered by business and sector experts from universities and SME cluster organisations from across North-West Europe. Techniques such as design sprints, Business Model Canvas (BMC) tools, feasibility studies and market assessments will be employed. 

By the end of our training programme, an organisation should have a clear understanding of how relevant blockchain technology is to their business. This understanding should help them solve their business challenges and understand what changes and developments will need to be made to business processes to implement the solution. They should also have an understanding of the impact that any changes could have on their business model. This should all help the business to decide on whether to invest further in implementing a blockchain solution and support them to identify the next steps, including introductions to solution providers. 

In the second stage of the Blockstart programme, we are looking to take 12 of the businesses we have worked with who have a strong investment and growth case for blockchain implementation and support them through a living labs programme. 

We will support the actual development and implementation of a blockchain solution in the businesses and test its impact on addressing their business challenge. 

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