The analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among SMEs at international level is the starting point of the CSR-READY project. This exercise will provide information on the benefits derived from CSR for the activity of SMEs and their environment, the challenges faced by SMEs that implement CSR, whether SMEs that specifically apply CSR tools have any special or different characteristics, etc. The aim is therefore to obtain in-depth knowledge on the state of CSR in SMEs in the different countries participating in the project, from which to create a tool that facilitates the self-diagnosis of CSR in SMEs and its promotion.

This analysis will provide information to fill the research gaps that still exist on CSR today. Although CSR in general has already been extensively researched, there are still important gaps with regard to the specific challenges and benefits for SMEs, which leads to a low implementation rate of CSR strategies and measures, especially in smaller companies.

On the other hand, with this activity the CSR-READY project will contribute to raise awareness of the importance of CSR in SMEs (internal and impact perspective). The publication and dissemination of the research results to the scientific community and to the target groups (especially VET trainers, experts, SMEs, entrepreneurs and StartUps) and other stakeholders (public institutions, intermediate entities, etc.) will also help to create a sustainable awareness of the importance of the topic.

Finally, the work of the partners in the elaboration of the initial study will be a key input for the subsequent phases of the planned work. Thus, the level of CSR preparedness, the specific benefits for the company, as well as the individual impact areas identified in the CSR impact study on SMEs, among others, will be used for the structure of both the curricula and learning resources of IO2, as well as for the self-assessment and individual solution approaches of IO3.