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The first workshop for participating teams of the Erasmus+ Program grant project, "Virtual exchanges in the fields of higher education and youth" - ERASMUS-EDU-2021-VIRT-EXCH "INTERNATIONAL NETWORK," took place in the Italian city of Vieste from June 16 to 20, 2023. The event, titled VIRTUAL YOUTH BUSINESS HUBS (VEHUB4YOU), was held in a mixed format.

Representatives from various institutions attended the workshop, both in-person and online.

Participants representing project teams offline were:​

  • The Italian University of Foggia, the project coordinator, represented by Giulio Esposito, Head of the International Department and Erasmus+ Coordinator of the University of Foggia, and Dr. Pierpaolo Magliocca, Oleksandra Tverezovska, and Olesya Benchak.

  • RISEBA Latvian University of Applied Sciences, represented by Anna Ragain and Zane Rashevska.

  • Kyiv National University of Technology and Design, represented by the project manager, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Business Design, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor Oleksandra Olshanska.

  • Mingachevir State University (Azerbaijan), represented by Research Manager Samira Ahmadova and Researcher Turkabneyim Ahmadli.

  • Institute of Social and Economic Initiatives, represented by Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor Olena Chernyavska.

  • Kyiv Educational and Training Youth Center, represented by Oleksandra Chernyavska and Olga Verkhola.

Throughout the workshop, representatives from each participating university delivered reports on innovative pedagogical practices used in teaching, as well as methods and platforms for modern virtual learning and knowledge transfer.

The final meetings, as outlined in the workshop program, fostered productive discussions among the participants. They examined 40 ideas for international virtual exchange and explored potential applications, aiming to enable virtual exchanges for over 2,000 participants in small groups. The discussions resulted in proposals for various activities, including virtual presentations about local businesses and opportunities, where participants from each country shared information about their local business centers, presented successful cases, and discussed potential opportunities for foreign students. Other proposals involved virtual entrepreneurship courses to teach participants the basics of entrepreneurship, including business plan development and strategies. The participants also suggested virtual meetings with successful entrepreneurs, the organization of permanent events with business representatives from participating countries called "Business Wednesday," virtual internships in companies to provide practical business experience, virtual discussion panels for online debates and exchanges of ideas on current business topics, virtual mentoring programs, virtual startup project competitions, virtual workshops, and other events.

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Based on the discussions and teamwork, a project schedule was created as a foundation for developing a Google calendar and updating the project website. The project was then passed on to the consortium members' teams for further discussions at their respective business faculties. Furthermore, it was proposed to arrange additional online meetings between the business faculties of the consortium members.

In conclusion, the workshop titled "Innovations in virtual exchange: training of facilitators and organization of virtual exchange" for the participants of the VEHUB4YOU project consortium proved to be extremely productive. The workshop facilitated coordinated and detailed discussions on training courses offered by the participating universities, various forms and methods of training that incorporate innovative approaches and practices, the finalization of the Training Program for facilitators (future initiators and heads of business hubs), coordination of types and forms of virtual exchange, and the creation of a training plan calendar for facilitators and virtual exchange activities among project participants."

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