SMERALD competence framework: A start to digital transformation in SMEs

We are pleased to announce the completion of the SMERALD competence framework. This is a key milestone in our mission to equip small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with essential digital skills. This comprehensive framework will be trialled as part of our partnership before being used for the first time for real at the upcoming Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course in Palermo in December.

Overview of the framework:

The SMERALD competence framework addresses the growing need for SMEs to integrate digital data, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations. This framework builds on the theoretical foundations of two influential competency models: LEVEL5 and EntreComp. LEVEL5 provides a structured approach to skills assessment and development based on real-world business needs, while EntreComp focuses on fostering an entrepreneurial mindset that is essential for innovation and adaptation.

Key components:

Competency Theory:

The framework combines LEVEL5 and EntreComp to provide a solid foundation for digital competences. LEVEL5’s systematic methodology ensures the development of practical skills, while EntreComp fosters the entrepreneurial spirit required for dynamic market environments.


The environment of the trainer:

Chapter 2 of the framework guides trainers in planning, delivering and evaluating effective learning experiences. By integrating design thinking principles, educators can create adaptable and engaging environments and use different pedagogical methods to address learners’ specific needs.


Specific SMERALD competences:

The framework describes four core competencies: technical, social, personal and organisational skills. These clusters include essential skills such as teamwork, communication, resilience and process optimisation, which are crucial for managing digital transformation in SMEs.

Test phase and upcoming CPD course

We’re so excited to put this framework through its paces in our partnership! It’s going to be tested rigorously to make sure it’s effective and can be used in different contexts. We’re really excited to hear your thoughts on this phase! Your feedback will be invaluable in helping us refine the framework before we officially launch it at the training course in Palermo. We’re so excited to announce this course, which is scheduled for December 2024! It will equip 18 participants with advanced digital skills and will be the first practical application of the SMERALD framework.

We’re so excited to share that the SMERALD competence framework will bring amazing benefits to trainers and SMEs!

The framework provides trainers with innovative tools and strategies to design and deliver effective training programmes. We’re so excited to share that through the use of digital tools and interactive learning environments, trainers can now improve learner engagement and skills development. For SMEs, this framework promises to foster a culture of continuous improvement and enable them to thrive in the digital economy through data-driven decision making, optimised operations and innovative business practices.

We are so proud of this significant achievement and look forward to the positive impact it will have on SMEs across Europe. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to support SMEs on their digital transformation journey.

Pilot phase and training course

The pilot phase will cover four countries and involve many learners who will be given the opportunity to develop different learning projects independently. Each partner has shared initial plans for their respective pilot projects, ranging from internal training to specialised courses on AI and project management. In addition, a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course is planned for 10-13 December 2024 in Palermo, preceded by an online event at the end of October.


Blinc has developed the first version of the SMERALD Hub, a central platform for collaboration and resource sharing. An internal test phase has been launched to test usability and provide feedback.

It includes a digital version of the Competence Framework and various concepts covering different areas, including AI, digital data and data analytics.

This productive meeting underlined our commitment to fostering a collaborative and innovative environment. We remain focused on our goal of equipping SMEs with the digital skills they need to compete in today’s market.


Stay tuned as we take further steps towards a digitally empowered Europe.


Yours sincerely,

The SMERALD Consortium