DIVERSEurope ΕU-funded project

The DIVERSEurope ΕU-funded project focuses on promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) through awareness-raising campaigns in SMEs based in smaller cities and urban areas. This article synthesises key insights gained from visits to local SMEs in Athienou, Dali, and Kalopanayiotis villages, shedding light on challenges, best practices, and recommendations for future campaigns.

Kalopanayiotis: A Blueprint for Rural SMEs

Our visit to Kalopanayiotis revealed the challenges faced by rural SMEs, with a particular emphasis on recruitment and training. CAFEOINO, a local enterprise, showcased the significance of community engagement in overcoming obstacles. The implementation of adaptive training programs and collaboration with educational institutions proved instrumental in addressing skill development and workforce challenges. Flexible work hours tailored to rural living contributed to a positive work environment. Despite successes, the region faces recruitment difficulties and limited access to diverse talent pools. The Diversity Charter Cyprus (DCC) will develop and provide a tailored training, and propose recommendations to tackle this barriers, such as through local collaborations with educational institutions, and by highlighting success stories to inspire other rural SMEs.

Athienou: Nurturing Inclusivity in Local Businesses

DCC’s visit to two businesses in Athienou (MAS Supermarket & Mobylette Cafe) emphasised the importance of community engagement and flexible work hours in fostering inclusivity within local businesses. Successful skill development programs were identified as contributors to a more inclusive workforce.
Challenges included recruitment difficulties and an awareness gap among SMEs. Recommendations include collaborative training programs among businesses, local community workshops, and establishing local talent pipelines through partnerships with educational institutions to address these challenges.

Dali: Inclusive Practices for SME Success

The visit to an SME in Dali highlighted a family-centric approach and comprehensive employee benefits as key practices in promoting inclusivity within SMEs. Bonanza restaurant-café’s commitment to involving family members, employing a diverse staff, and providing extensive benefits contributed to employee satisfaction and overall well-being. Challenges in recruitment procedures due to bureaucratic hindrances were identified. Leveraging the positive experiences from CAFEOINO and Athienou, the recommendations include adopting family-centric approaches, offering comprehensive benefits, and addressing bureaucratic obstacles in recruitment processes.

The experiences in Athienou, Dali, and Kalopanayiotis provide valuable insights into the challenges and successes of SMEs in smaller cities and urban areas. The DCC will provide tailored trainings and recommendations to those SMEs with the aim to address these challenges and promote diversity and inclusion, ultimately contributing to the development of more inclusive and thriving business environments in these regions. By sharing success stories and implementing targeted strategies, future awareness campaigns have the potential to create positive impacts on both local communities and businesses.

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