Two minutes Tuesday #2 - How to create a successful partnership in 5 steps

You should create a super partnership. Yes “super”, because you will have no chance to be funded with a partnership which is average/just sufficient. There are a lot of extraordinary organisations out there applying for Erasmus+ projects and if you want to be competitive, you have to include the best partners for your project idea.

As you can imagine this is a critical step which can greatly affect the entire project proposal. Or, at least this is our vision. We, as Learnable, during the years had some wrong partners: somebody seemed “disconnected” from the project from long periods, others did not work if not pushed for every single activity, still others did not produce high quality results.

These situations can become very stressful to be managed and can affect both the project results and the partnership relationships.

One wrong partner can ruin the entire partnership’s work. “Why should I work with high quality standards if a partner with my exact responsibilities (and working days/budget) does not?”. That’s the point.

On the contrary, if you have great partners, they will push each other to get the best out of everybody. For a Coordinator this makes a tremendous difference.

Now we give special attention to selecting the project partners. Following specific criteria, we realised  that we can create a successful partnership. 

Even if it appears easier, we suggest to not include an organisation just because it answered your partner search message on Facebook. 

Here are some steps that we are using to maximise the partnerships effectiveness and the chances of having our project approved.

1. Stakeholders

At this point you have a project idea with, at least, a clear definition of the target group, needs, objectives and results.

A key partner must be, first of all, a stakeholder.

Someone interested in changing the status quo and solving the problem you identified. It is someone interested (directly or indirectly) also on improving the condition of the target group identified.

Here you can find an easy tool for carrying out a stakeholders analysis:

At the end you should have a list of possible stakeholders categories.

With this analysis we want to select the categories of organizations to be involved with that maximise the chances of success in terms of project results and approval. Only some stakeholders categories will be selected as a potential project partner at the end. The other ones will be potential project stakeholders.

Example: in Two minute Tuesday#1, we identified our project idea which is “To improve VET trainers competences in delivering training for e-leaders”. Based on this project idea the project stakeholders can be: VET organisations, VET professionals, Companies, Managers, Associations of companies, Universities, Technology Suppliers, Industry 4.0 experts, Consultants, Chambers of Commerce, Innovation Hubs, etc…

2. Involvement of different type of organisations

If you want to change something you must have a comprehensive understanding of the reality to be impacted.

A single organisation has a limited vision of the problem, considering only one side. Every organisation sees the reality based on their aims, interests and needs.

Nobody has the big picture.

It is extremely important to consider different kinds of organisations (universities, companies, associations, etc) located in different geographical areas (mediterranean, north, east, etc..), so to have the different points of view needed to approach the problem you want to solve. This is the first added value of an Erasmus+ project, to bring different perspectives coming from different cultures, societies and sectors.

Example: for our project idea, the most suitable categories of stakeholders are VET providers, Associations of companies, Universities, Chambers of commerce and Technology Hubs. We should consider a mix of partner countries coming from the mediterranean areas (less advanced in terms of e-leadership) and north Europe (leading countries in e-leadership).

3. Eligibility criteria

Once you have a list of potential partners, make sure that they will respect the eligibility criteria established by the Erasmus+ Programme. So, who can take part?

First, we clarify that individuals cannot take part in your project as a partner, but only the organisations can. So, individuals can only participate through an organisation.

Formally, you can select only partners who have an OID number, validated by their own National Agencies. If the organisation doesn’t have one, don’t panic. Here is a link that explains how to make the registration: If the organisation is not sure if it has already been registered, use this link to check:

The eligibility of the organisations depends on the actions of Erasmus+ that you are going to apply (Key Action 1, Key Action 2, Key Action 3, Sport, Jean.Monnet, etc.) and on the country in which they are based. Eligible countries are divided into two groups: programme countries and partner countries. Although programme countries are eligible for all the actions of Erasmus+, partner countries can only take part in some, and are subject to specific conditions. Have a look at the Erasmus Programme Guide for those specific conditions. Do not forget to contact your National Agency. They will know how to help you!

4. Selection of the partners

Now you can select the single potential partners. How many? The Erasmus+ programme guide defines for an Erasmus+ Strategic partnership, a minimum of three organisations from three different Programme Countries. There is no maximum number of partners, but the budget is limited to 9 partners. 

Our suggestion is to include at least 4 Programme countries with a minimum of 5 partners, so to have different perspectives, expertise and cultures involved.

Potential partners must :

  • have extensive expertise on the project topic: the expertise of the entire partnership must be balanced and based on the objectives to be achieved. 
  • be interested in achieving the project results in terms of innovation and change. The positive impact on the project beneficiaries must be relevant for them.
  • have the resources for carrying out the project activities (working time, budget, staff, facilities or technologies is required)

From the potential partners identified through the previous checks you should select:

  • those impacting more on the project beneficiaries: strategic organisations in a territory, organisations that can reach a lot of beneficiaries, organisations that can have an impact on the policies, so to bring the project results at systemic level.

With this analysis we should find partners covering all the following partnership elements:

  • extensive specific expertise on the project topic
  • great capacity of involvement of the project target groups and analysis of their needs
  • great sustainability potential

You should consider that every partner brings positive and negative elements. You should know the strengths and weaknesses of your partnership, so as to prevent problems and coordinate the project at the best.

There must be a balance between how the project needs the partners and the partners need the project.

5. Focus on the Application Form

At this stage, you have to translate your analysis into relevant information to be included in the application form. The application form has a dedicated section for the description of the single project partners.

The importance of this section is usually underestimated, but this is the only opportunity for the evaluator of assessing the quality of your partnership.

As a project coordinator, you have the big picture and should guide the partner in elaborating on their description, highlighting their strong points based on the project objectives.

We are working on the next Erasmus + call. If you want to be our partner or have a proposal to be developed, get in touch.

Contact us