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International project 'Entrepreneurship with vision - methods and tools for managerial capacity building of agricultural producers in Central and Eastern Europe' (ISM+ Project)

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In September 2015 the Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics (LIAE) started implementation of the international Strategic Partnerships project 'Entrepreneurship with vision - methods and tools for managerial capacity building of agricultural producers in Central and Eastern Europe (ISM+ Project)', contract No. 2015-1-PL01 – KA202-016871, funded under the European Union ERASMUS+ programme.


European farmers and their successors live in a changing market environment and have to prepare for the new Common Agricultural Policy after 2015, allowing more freedom to produce products of own choice and quantity. The new EU countries experience this even more. Especially the situation in less favored regions, often in remote areas with relative small farms, is complex. Such families are found in large numbers in Central- and Eastern Europe. Then the ability to apply entrepreneurial skills is a key factor for survival. One component of entrepreneurship deals with strategic choices. However, farmers focus on day by day management and operational, rather than strategic decisions. Capacity to take initiative is also a large challenge.

The Interactive Strategic Management (ISM) method was introduced in 3 Central-Eastern EU countries within Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation ISM Project in 2011-13, to instruct dairy farmers and advisors how to prepare a farm strategy. The trainings were very positively evaluated. Also, scientifically based positive effects were measured on competencies’ development of the farmers. Based on these positive experiences we built the current project. Therefore, the aims of this ISM+ project are:

  • to assess the local agricultural framework conditions by a context analysis in order to adapt the ISM method and understand the outcomes of the training process;
  • extend the ISM method to farmers and students in a variety of agricultural sectors (dairy, beef, pig, crop production);
  • make the ISM method more applicable to market oriented development paths;
  • make the training applicable to a larger language area in Europe (English, German, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovenian languages);
  • add a business planning module for economic assessment of farmer choices;
  • introduce the concept of networking to stimulate social entrepreneurship;
  • improve competency in entrepreneurship of advisors, teachers, farmers, and agricultural students;
  • evaluate the effect of the trainings and use of tools;
  • create an internationally oriented website to disseminate the project methods and results.


The target groups of the project are farmers and vocational agricultural students on one hand and agricultural teachers and advisors on the other hand.


The project consortium consists of organizations in the fields of research, education, economics, know-how transfer and agro-business. Participation of the agricultural universities (Wageningen, Ljubljana and Warsaw) and the Agrarian Economic Institute in Vilnius, on the one hand, and professional farmer associations and extension services in all countries, on the other hand, assure smooth cooperation, innovative knowledge transfer and interaction between science and practice, which contributes to achievement of the project objectives. The positive experiences from cooperation in the previous project add to a solid fundament for this new project.


This ISM+ project focuses on product development serving the ERASMUS+ goals. It strengthens the capacity of farmers, teachers and extension workers to help articulate and develop strategies and market opportunities. The ISM tool and materials are made applicable to a variety of agricultural sectors, the local situation and languages in the four countries, and become part of the extension packages and educational curricula. The project will establish the framework for an EU Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Platform.


The Project is coordinated by the Warsaw University of Life Sciences and by the LIAE together with the Lithuanian Chamber of Agriculture in our country. Cooperation partners are from Poland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria and Germany. 



The project results formulate a wide education platform for rural entrepreneurship. They are:

  • Report from the Context analysis – helps to understand the differences in the strategic choices of farmers in different regions of Europe.

Results: http://ism.sggw.pl/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Context-analysis-report.pdf

  • Website "Entrepreneurship with Vision", devoted to Interactive Strategic Management for farming – serving as a platform for all the project results and materials available to wide public http://ism.sggw.pl/ 
  • Interactive Strategic Management Tool with complete training materials (ISM+ handbook and Facilitator guidelines booklet etc.) – is dedicated for trainings for farmers and rural entrepreneurs as well as for agricultural advisors to work with farm strategy development.

Download: http://ism.sggw.pl/publications-and-downloads/ism-handbook-entrepreneurship-with-vision-interactive-strategic-management-and-facilitator-guidelines-booklet/

  • Business planning module – it is an excel tool which helps to analyse the current farm economic situation and simulate future economic consequences for different strategy choices of farmers.

Download: http://ism.sggw.pl/publications-and-downloads/business-planning-module/

  • Marketing module – material for training in the area of the marketing strategy of the farm;

Download: http://ism.sggw.pl/publications-and-downloads/marketing-module/

  • Guidelines for Networking methodology – serves as a guideline for trainers and extension workers how the support networks in the agricultural sector and how to implement networking concept in ISM trainings;

Download: http://ism.sggw.pl/publications-and-downloads/guidelines-for-networking-methodology/

  •  ISM training module guidelines for agricultural students – serves as curriculum for ISM sessions adjusted for agricultural students;

Download: http://ism.sggw.pl/publications-and-downloads/training-module-guidelines-specifically-for-agricultural-students/

  • Book “Tools for improving entrepreneurship and communication for small scale farms” – helps to get detailed inside into the ISM Project, method and tools, with some practical examples from farms in project participating countries.

Download: http://ism.sggw.pl/publications-and-downloads/book-farming-with-vision-strategy-networking-marketing-and-business-planning/



The project supports VET system in each participating country but also in other countries, with the new approach, method of training, and training materials available for vocational educational training in agricultural sector and also applicable at the level of agricultural professional schools. Farmers and advisors found the ISM method very interesting and innovative. The project has been stimulating and inspiring for all persons involved. We hope that our results will be useful for a very wide range of beneficiaries from the agri-food sector.


Start Date: 01-09-2015

Ending Date: 31-08-2018

Duration in months: 36

Project web-page: http://ism.sggw.pl/  



Scientific articles:

Entrepreneurship and Competencies of Dairy Farmers in Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia

de Lauwere, C., Malak-Rawlikowska, A., Stalgiene, A. Klopcic, M. Kuipers, A. 2018. Entrepreneurship and Competencies of Dairy Farmers in Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia. In Transformations in Business & Economics. Vol. 17, No 3(45), p.237–257, ISSN 1648-4460; [Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index].



Dairy farmers’ business strategies in Central and Eastern Europe based on evidence from Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia


Frans Verhees, Agata Malak-Rawlikowska, Aldona Stalgiene, Abele Kuipers & Marija Klopčič .2018. Dairy farmers’ business strategies in Central and Eastern Europe based on evidence from Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia, Italian Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 17, Issue 3, p. 755–766, DOI:10.1080/1828051X.2017.1422154 ISSN:1594-4077 [Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ); CABI; (EBSCO) Agricola – USDA; IFIS: The Food Science and Health Database; (Elsevier BV) Scopus; (Thompson Reuters) Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index].



Analysis of Stakeholders’ Expectations for Dairy Sector Development Strategies from a Central-Eastern and Western European Perspective


Kuipers A., Malak-Rawlikowska A.,  Stalgienė A., Klopčič M. 2017. Analysis of Stakeholders’ Expectations for Dairy Sector Development Strategies from a Central-Eastern and Western European Perspective. The German Journal of Agricultural Economics. Vol 66, Issue 4, p. 265–280. ISSN: 2191-4028.[Web of ScienceSM].




© When cited reference to source and website is required.


For more details please contact:

Division of Farms and Enterprises Economics, Researcher Aldona Stalgiene

Tel. (+3705) 262 3011, aldona.stalgiene@laei.lt


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