A quick guide for EU-funded Technical Assistance proposals and best practices for implementation
To whom the article is addressed
This article addresses small and medium business consultancy companies. I am convinced that large consulting companies know in great detail everything contained in this article and even more. But I am also convinced that the expertise of small consultancy companies can be extremely valuable and many companies of this kind are afraid to try to participate in technical assistance projects because they do not have the correct understanding of what needs to be delivered in these projects and in which way. I hope that this article will help them and will give more clarity to those who want to access technical assistance projects funded by the European Union.
This article is about Technical Assistance (TA) projects financed by the European Union. I would not like to focus too much on the financing mechanisms for TA projects, although there are significant differences between pre-EU-accession and post-EU-accession stages.
First of all, let’s set the grounds for the next sections of this article … so, what is TA? Well, there are multiple definitions, some of them very abstract or very technical. The bottom line is that TA is a specific service to be provision to the beneficiary in order to help him to achieve a specific objective. The key word in this definition is “help”. Take a look to the picture above, as Consultant, you are the guy on the top of the mountain and you are helping the other guy (the beneficiary) to claim to the top.
So, you are not climbing the mountain on behalf of the beneficiary, the beneficiary is climbing the mountain with your help.
Understanding this approach is the first (and probably the most important) step towards a good proposal and a further successful implementation. The impact of a good understanding of this approach is decisive for determining the scope of work, the implementation strategy and the project budget.
Another important aspect is that TA is (first) about learning-by-doing and (second) about securing long-term results.
In other words, as Consultant, you need (first) to work side-by-side with the beneficiary in order to build the tools and (second) you need to create the framework which will allow the beneficiary to continue, further develop and maintain the results after the implementation ends.