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Entrepreneurial on-the-job learning

TOY-model from Finland

Most professional and vocational programmes include a period of on-the-job learning. TOY (entrepreneurial on-the-job Learning) is one way of completing it. Ordinarily, students do their on-the-job learning at an employer´s workplace, but in this model they complete this aspect of their studies in a cooperative society, where they develop their entrepreneurial skills.
In the TOY model, entrepreneurship is learnt by doing. The TOY programme nurtures the students´ entrepreneurial attitudes and prepares them for running a business in their own fields. The most valuable experiences they obtain from learning with their peers in a TOY team.

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Entrepreneurship

The TOY programme offers an opportunity to try out entrepreneurship in practice. It allows students to test and develop their own products and services. It gives them time to consider what they can do, what they want to do and what they might make money from. Students can also probe the market and competitive scenario in their fields and figure out how to price their products. Trying to run a business without any customers is just a game; customers make the learning genuine. TOY encourages students to make their competence known and to seize opportunities. It develops their ability to market their competence, their social skills and their networking.
In the TOY model,the learners join cooperative societies set up in their colleges. Working in these turns their ideas into reality and experience.

Team coaching

Each TOY team has its own team coach or pair of team coaches, who broaden the students’ perspectives and encourage them to take steps towards their dreams. The team coaches are vocational teachers well versed in team learning and in coaching team-based entrepreneurship. They challenge and spur on the learners to experiment boldly. They do not provide ready-made answers, but ask questions to fuel the students’ own thoughts. They encourage students to seek information and apply it in practice.
It is important for the team coach to “read” the team and the individual learners to respond correctly to their learning needs and to decide how to apply the team learning methods. The entrepreneurship training sessions are not lectures, even though they contain theory related to the topic.

TOY Entrepreneurship coaching

During the on-the-job learning period, the TOY team get together for joint entrepreneurship training sessions. The one-day sessions are themed and make useof tools and methods that support team learning. The content of the sessions is determined based on the issues that the learners bring to the table. With the training sessions taking place during the on-the-job learning period, the sessions can cover questions that have come up in the students’ customer projects through themes related to the entrepreneurship topic. Alternating between practical work and joint deliberation deepens learning and understanding.

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THEMES OF THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING:

  • Team learning and its objectives
  • Customer-oriented thinking and networking
  • Productisation
  • Self-management and friend leadership
  • Creativity and marketing
  • Identifying product selections and customer relationships
  • Outlining a business idea and growing to be an entrepreneur

Toy principles:

  • A TOY team is composed of learners who learn together and from each other.
  • A TOY coach supports and spurs on the team in its entrepreneurship training during the on-the-job learning period.
  • There is a direct connection between the customer and the learner. The customer is the most important teacher.
  • The on-the-job teacher is in charge of ensuring professional learning takes place, just as in other job learning processes.
  • The cooperative functions as the location and environment for the on-the-job learning and allows for real billing.

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The TOY model was developed at the Ikaalinen College of Crafts and Design (IKATA). The college comprises the cooperative society Taidosto, which has been implementing the model since 2008. IKATA also manages the HOPE project, which provided the funding for piloting and developing the model.

For more information check the English broschure of TOY-model: http://issuu.com/letshope/docs/toy_english

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Creative Europe: new calls !

Creative Europe: new calls for proposals promoting networking and entrepreneurship available now!

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On Thursday, July 23rd 2015, the Directorate General for Education & Culture  published two new calls for proposals in the framework of the program Creative Europe.

Replacing the program Culture for the new funding period 2014-2020 Creative Europe aims at boosting the cultural and creative sectors by promoting the use of new technologies. Innovative aspect of the candidate projects is clearly expected and encouraged.

According to the Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013, one of the top priorities of the Cultural – Subprogram consists in testing and expanding of new business models.

Call for proposals EAC/S08/2015 – EU Network of Creative Hubs and Co-working Spaces

The Call for proposals EAC/S08/2015 intends to grant one single pilot project which  “will set up and support an EU-wide network of creative hubs and co-working spaces for cultural and creative professionals and entrepreneurs”. The project should reach this goal through the following activities:

  • To identify and select eligible creative hubs and co-working spaces
  • To develop virtual networks through the creation of a web portal, a digital platform and social media pages
  • To facilitate exchanges between creative hubs
  • To provide coaching and training support to creative hub managers
  • To organize a EU Network of creative hubs conferences in Brussels
  • To publish a report about EU creative hubs and co-working spaces

Application have to be submitted no later than on Thursday, September 10th 2015. The selected project will be granted with a maximum amount of 1,000,000 Euro for 24 months covering no more than 80% of the total budget.

For more details, please consult the guideline of this call for proposal.

 

Call for proposals EAC/S11/2015 – Pilot project supporting networks of young creative entrepreneurs: EU and third countries

The Call for proposals EAC/S11/2015 intends to grant one single pilot project enhancing networks of young entrepreneurs from the EU member countries and third countries active in the cultural and creative sector through the establishment of an innovative platform. Beyond this overall goal, the project should achieve specific objectives related to those of Creative Europe:

  • To support the capacity of young entrepreneurs to operate transnationally and internationally
  • To foster peer-learning and exchanges of experiences on new business and management models in the cultural and creative sectors
  • To foster the entrepreneurship, innovation and creative potential of young entrepreneurs for international cooperation in the cultural and creative sector

Applications have to be submitted no later than on Tuesday, September 15th 2015. The selected project will be granted with a maximal amount of 800, 000 Euros for 24 months covering no more than 80% of the total budget.

For more details, please consult the guideline of this call for proposal.

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TECH ALL STARS 2015: most innovative web start-up awarded!

What is TECH ALL STARS?

From 16th to 18th June 2015, the fourth edition of Tech All Stars took place in London.

Launched by the European Commission in 2012, this annual competition awards the most innovative web start-up company once a year in June. It is especially intended for accelerator graduates and web camp winners.

Beyond victory, successful applicants can expect to gain both exposure and network through this high-level competition.

Results of TECH ALL STARS 2015

Start-ups were invited to submit their application until 17th May in compliance with the following criteria:

  • Registration within the EU
  • Launching within the last 3 years
  • Profit below 1,000,000 Euros (in external capital)

Among all applications the selection committee accepted 12 start-ups for the Tech All Stars Battle organized in London. After having heard the pitches of all participants, the jury finally awarded Trip Rebel Tech All Stars 2015, an online hotel and accommodation provider. Winnows and Watly completed the podium.

As a result, the three finalists were invited to attend the Founders Forum, the biggest event gathering digital and technology entrepreneurs at the European level.

Successful start-ups: the case of WINNOW

Located in London Winnow was set up in order to help the hospitality industry to drastically reduce food waste through the use of new technologies.

The start.up was co-founded by Marc Zornes who as consultant at McKinsey co-wrote the Global Institute report “Resource Revolution: Meeting the World’s Energy, Materials, Food, and Water Needs”. According to the report, 1/3 of all food is wasted which also generates an economic loss in the amount of $750 billion per year.

The system created by Winnow involves a scale to measure the weight and cost of each food that is thrown away. In this way restaurants and hotels can easily check what the highest wastes are and adapt their food consumption. According to Winnow, it seems that this system has contributed to having saved 678400 meals and 3392 CO2.

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Aids to create a startup in Spain

Since the middle of the economic crisis, and when the Spaniards began to understand that no one except ourselves could get us out of the situation we were in, the interest in new businesses creation in our country soared. Of course, one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is obtaining grants to launch a startup or business start-ups.
Startups are “the apple of everyone’s eyes” in the programs to support entrepreneurship because of their potential for growth and future profitability. So they have many avenues of help, not only economic.

The different types of aids to create a startup

If you have a business idea and you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to consider is that there is a very diverse and varied infrastructure surrounding the launch of new businesses. Aids to create a startup can be translated in many different ways.
First, if you create a startup or you are under the development process, you will benefit greatly from the set of competitions and contests for entrepreneurs held in Spain throughout all the year.
The events seek to gather in one place to all those who are interested in undertaking, together with an assortment of experts, consultants and successful entrepreneurs to share their knowledge. Contests are an excellent choice if you’re a novice entrepreneur with a business project in mind. Prizes include cash grants and / or personal advice for you to start taking your first steps with your business idea.
On the other hand, if we focused on the financial aspect, we can think of the variety of credit possibilities that banks make available to SMEs. Unfortunately, after the “bank recue” or as we prefer to call it, the Spanish financial institutions, despite the ICO loans, have imposed severe restrictions on lending.

However, there are other more specific alternatives, referred to entrepreneurship, whose first phase is what is called seed capital. It consists in an amount of money contributed by an investor to launch a business idea, not a loan that has to be returned, but involves the acquisition of an interest in the business. In this case we can find public organizations, banks, venture capital funds and, of course, “business angels”, private investors who act individually.
Finally, the aid to create a startup can also come in the form of advice, fully-equipped offices offered in favorable conditions and the opportunity to work and create synergies with other entrepreneurs in the same situation as ours. This is where the full range of business incubators and shuttles that exist in Spain come into play.
It is noteworthy that, in many cases, these various aids are combined in the same association or institution, so that it is sometimes difficult to establish clear differences.

Capital seeds and accelerators: Economic aid and support to create a startup

The entities mentioned below are mostly specialized in seed capital or advice to get it, although many of them also invest in second round funding. In the case of accelerators, they usually combine financing, training advice and contacts.
However, it should be noted that, unlike in the US, to get funding of this type of seed capital in Spain, it is necessary to have a good and well defined business plan or even that the company has already taken its first steps and even count on some customers.

There are a huge amount of seed capital entities in Spain, some specialize in specific sectors and others that have a much broader spectrum of investment. This is a small selection of some of the most significant ones:

  • CDTI

The Centre for Technological and Industrial Development is a public entity which, among its many functions to support entrepreneurship, provides its own financial aid and access facilitates to third parties (primarily in the form of credits) for R & D + I business projects.

  • DAD

Digital Assets Deployment is a Spanish-based incubator for Internet and Technology 2.0 businesses and, which has a large international presence and support projects through seed capital.

  • Caixa Capital Risc and Bstartup

These are the two separate divisions of the Caixa and Banco Sabadell, respectively, responsible for monitoring and financing of startups.

  • AIEI

In addition to providing advice to selected projects, the Association of Investors and Entrepreneurs of the Internet helps them to achieve economic resources and to get access to funding rounds.

  • Cabieces & Partnerts

This venture capital company was founded by brothers Luis and Jose Cabieces. It enjoys great prestige in the Spanish investment landscape.

  • BAN Madri + d

Business Angels Network of Madri + d is an investment network specialized in projects of technological nature whose companies have headquarters in Madrid.

  • Wayra

The Telefonica startups accelerator offers capital injections of EUR 50,000 and support through mentoring and offices for the first months of operation.

  • Lanzadera

Accelerator driven by Juan Roig, President of the company Mercadona in Valencia, which offers capital, mentoring and workspaces.

  • Seed Rocket

Prestigious Accelerator for technology-based projects that has the support of various business angels and that at the same time provides training, advice and networking for innovative entrepreneurs and startups.

In Spain there are many options to get aid to create a startup. The key is to have a good business plan, prepare an excellent pitch and know how to invest the necessary time to call as many doors as possible.

* Source: Infoautónomos.

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THE COMPETITION TIME AMONG ENTREPRENEURS HAS ARRIVED

We are going to reveal the most important and influential calls for 2015 and those every Spanish entrepreneur should know.

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Nowadays, publications of calls for prizes, contests and competitions focused on discovering great talents and great ideas that are generated in our country are more and more common.
In this list you will see different events in which several skills are measured, from the traditional sectors to those with the projects about the latest technologies, but in all of them, the most important factor to consider is innovation.
Many entrepreneurs and companies consider these competitions as a unique opportunity for funding, visibility and promotion their business idea. In addition to all the advice and mentoring support that are included in many of the programs.

Do you want to know the relevant ones that have been calling for over the 2015?

Salonmiempresa

“Salonmiempresa” allows a dozen start-ups obtain financial facilities for their businesses during the ‘Elevator Pitch’ contest. Moreover, there are three prizes of 3,000 euros in cash for the best business model, the best proposal for e-Commerce and the most innovative project.
Deadline: Until January 30th, 2015

Sprita Start-ups

“Sprita” is a corporate Accelerator for start-ups, specialized in technology companies and innovative seed-stage projects and seeks the best projects about Smart Cities. The selected projects are provided with 35,000 euros (€15,000 in cash and 20,000 € for services for entrepreneurs).
Deadline: Until January 31st, 2015

Lanzadera

“Lanzadera”, the project promoted by Juan Roig with 100% of private capital to help nee companies to get started. It has expanded to 25 the number of selected projects in its third edition. With a total budget of 5 million euros, the deadline for submission takes part during the month of February.
Deadline: Until February 28th, 2015

V Concurso Nacional para Jóvenes Emprendedores

The aim of this fifth edition is to award the most entrepreneurial young career, giving him or her a full scholarship to participate in one of the most prestigious and renowned programs of Executive Education ESADE: the Program for Directors owners whose cost ascends to € 14,980. Aimed at young talented people under age 30 that have developed and launched a company, but that, however, have not had the opportunity to complete their training in management.
Deadline: February 2nd, 2015

Yuzz entrepreneurs

If you have an innovative technologic-based idea, you are between 18 and 30 years old and you live in a Spanish province in which there is a YUZZ Center can submit your idea. All participants go for 60,000 euros of prizes, 40 trips to Silicon Valley and 80 full scholarships for IMPULSA Forum.
Deadline: February 19th, 2015

Top Seeds Lab

“Top Seeds Lab” is the only Spanish accelerator that is part of the prestigious Global Accelerator Network. Seed funding, mentoring, networking, and business Angels services to move forward with your project.
Deadline: February 28th, 2015

Accelerating Entrepreneurs

EY has launched the Accelerating Entrepreneurs program, a global initiative focused on supporting six entrepreneurs with potential growth and drive their businesses. Entrepreneurs who are finally selected will receive a full program of training and advice that will allow them, among other things, to expand their network of contacts.
Deadline: March 1st, 2015

Zinc Shower

In the third call for “Zinc Shower” the objective are the best business projects of creative and collaborative economy. You can present your project or start-up whether it is in early stage of development or creation, as if it is an already implemented business already in growth, expansion and internationalization phase.
Deadline: March 15th, 2015

UC3M ideas competition

The Business Incubator of the Science Park of the University Carlos III of Madrid announces the 7th edition of the Competition for Ideas for the creation of innovative technology-based enterprises and aimed at students, alumni, researchers, and all those who wish to undertake in the field of knowledge and technology of the UC3M.
Deadline: March 31st, 2015

Everis Awards

The Everis Foundation launches the call for the XIV Everis Awards for entrepreneurship, innovation and talent, that will give it to the business project whose proposal has as its objective the exploitation of technological, management, social or environmental innovation, in one of these categories: “Information Technology and Digital Economy”, “Biotechnology and health” and “Industrial or energy technologies.”
The winner will get a cash prize of 60,000 euros for the development and launch of his/her company as well as accompanying services and support of i-deals, valued at 10,000 euros. If the jury thinks it appropriate, it may award an honorable mention to one of the projects that have been finalists and decide on the funding.
Deadline: March 31st, 2015

XXI Entrepreneur Awards

“La Caixa” and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, through ENISA, announce the ninth edition of the Awards EmprendedorXXI, the more established call for entrepreneurs in Spain. The initiative provides 400,000 euros in money prizes for innovative and high growth potential companies. Moreover, the winners are also invited to stays for training and networking in some of the main centers of innovation in the world, such as Cambridge (UK), Tel Aviv (Israel), Silicon Valley and New York (United States).
Deadline: April 17th, 2015

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EU Start-Up Policies and Procedures

Europe

Towards further simplifications to start a business in the European Union

Europe needs more entrepreneurs. This is a long-term objective for economic growth and sustainability in all the Member States of the European Union. To encourage potential entrepreneurs to start a business, there are several factors and areas of influence. An important one is, of course, education and training as a basis for innovation and more openness towards entrepreneurial culture. Another important factor are the administrative requirements, i.e. policies and procedures that need to be followed in setting up a new firm. This article will consider the attempts and the progress made in eliminating obstacles for business start-ups.

The creation of an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow, is one of the three pillars in the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, which is a blueprint for decisive action to promote entrepreneurship in several areas. A study on “Business Dynamics: Start-Ups, Business Transfers and Bankruptcy” from 2011, confirms the impact of reducing regulatory framework complexity on entrepreneurial activity. One recommendation for the EU and the Member States in their policies concerning small and medium-sized enterprises, is to simplify procedures as much as possible throughout the whole enterprise life cycle. Policies should focus on both – increasing the number of new entrepreneurs and also on keeping the “stock of entrepreneurs”, i.e. keeping existing entrepreneurs active. According to this study the administrative procedures in the enterprise life cycle include licensing, business transfers to new owners, bankruptcy and the conditions for re-starting a business – the “second chance” for unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Facilitating business start-ups mainly refers to time and costs in starting a business. There are also other elements taken into consideration by the EU, e.g. the simplification of administrative procedures to obtain licences, permits and authorisations. However, over a longer period of time, there are ongoing attempts within the EU to reduce the costs and to speed up the start of a new company – with sustainable progress made! In 2001 the average time to start a company in the EU was 22 days and the average costs € 827. Twelve years later the average time amounted to 4.2 days and the costs to € 315. The target set by the Competitiveness Council in 2011 was even more ambitious: Until 2012 the start-up time should have been reduced to 3 working days and the costs to only € 100. Although the time target was accomplished by 12 countries, only 7 countries achieved the cost target. Furthermore there are several countries that to-date do not comply with all the objectives.

Removing barriers to business creation is one way in better realising the EU’s entrepreneurial potential as expensive and time-consuming procedures and regulations, discourage many would-be entrepreneurs. Some countries made progress in loosening administrative burdens in start-up procedures with the effect: Cheaper and faster start-ups lead to more start-ups in number!

 

Sources and further information:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/business-environment/files/business_dynamics_final_report_en.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/business-environment/start-up-procedures/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/entrepreneurship-2020/index_en.htm

 

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Entrepreneurship Support Program In Turkey

Entrepreneurship in Turkey

In general, entrepreneur is the expression with which we define the person who undertakes risk, so as to profit.

An entrepreneur is someone who brings together production items under the best condition to make goods or produce services, in order to satisfy others needs.
The three basic factor that characterize an entrepreneur are: ability, courage and knowledge.
If we look at entrepreneurship in wider context, an entrepreneur should satisfy these factors :

• Must trust himself and be the person who is trusted at the same time
• Can give up and start again
• Can evaluate results and undertake occupational risks.
• Must be creative
• Must be courageous
• Must be individual and social at the same time
• Must be optimistic
• Must be directed towards success
• Must benefit from opportunity
• Must be open to innovations
• Must be someone who loves his job

Speaking of KOBİ enterprise for exemple, according to information resulting from researches, it is possible to sort the characteristics of company’s organization in this way:

• They have powerfull sense of enterprise
• They desire to work independently
• They want to benefit from financial opportunities
• They invest in social aims
• They pursue a goal to employ their family members
• They want to struggle with their own ability
• They expect quick and tangible results.

We can understand that the owner of KOBİ has features related to entrepreneurship, such as the desire to work independently and struggle with their own ability. However the company is lacking to receptiveness to innovations.

To find out more about the Entrepreneurship Support Program , read the PDF here : Entrepreneurship Support Program In Turkey

 

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Freelancer: A Positive Choice or an Enforced Option?

Freelancer desk

As more people become freelancers the employment market is shifting and with it many of the traditional structures in place to support it. Being a freelancer can provide flexibility, a good income, an exciting breadth of work and the ability to guide your own projects, but it also presents challenges. Working as a freelancer usually gives less job and income security than a normal job, involves additional admin and does not come with the usual package that accompanies employment such as a pension scheme or maternity/paternity leave options.

Nonetheless, freelancing is on the rise and has the potential to be a very positive influence on how we work. For many it is a positive choice – they learn how to generate income, enjoy the lifestyle and prove successful in balancing needs and delivering revenue streams. However, as a society we must be mindful of the increase in people who fall in to freelancing because they have no other choice or are offered work on a freelance basis only even when it was not their plan. In these circumstances freelancing can become problematic and disruptive. It is in these situations when support must be offered early on and specifically for individuals either to guide them towards their goal (eg full time employment) or to empower them as a freelancer and embrace what it can offer.

Co-working spaces will continue to grow in importance for freelancers, providing affordable spaces that give them a surrogate team, a like-minded community and somewhere to belong. When combined with working at home and on client site, the variety of the working week becomes interesting, promoting creativity, conversation and the blending of worlds.

Businesses of all size and style should begin to include in their strategy the use of freelancers. The access to their skills, talents and experience can be very good value, very low risk and very low commitment. More positively it provides quick response resource to immediate needs and requires no long-term commitment. In the future it may be that small businesses create over time their own freelancer teams that get to know them and their business and together provide capacity and expertise beyond the core team function that expand the capability of the business, give it confidence in taking on new work and enable growth in smaller steps.

Our employment markets are evolving quickly and freelancing is a good option for many. But it’s still an option only, which should be a positive choice for individuals.

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Greening of small urban areas in Berlin

Thanks to the Gründerinnenzentrale Berlin, a platform supporting women in setting up their own business, we met Aniela Horntrich. Since her childhood, Aniela has cultivated a passion for gardens, wild herbs and tea plants. She recently turned her passion into her professional activity, and now teaches Berliners how to “vegetate” their terrace and balconies. Her small enterprise NELKA (www.nelka.net) was just set up this year.

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Aniela Horntrich in a photo by Julia Richter

Aniela, what is your business idea / philosophy?
I specialized in the “greening” of small urban areas such as roof terraces, balconies and patios. I often adapt my work to the residents’ preferences. Most clients want to be included in the designing and elaboration of the garden so that it becomes a common experience. I also take care of the plants or help my clients to take care of them!

How did you “learn” to be an entrepreneur?
The “learning” took place at two different levels. On the one hand, I acquired the expertise on gardens, on the other hand I had to learn how to be self-employed, to found my own company, where I need to pay specific attention, who can support me, etc.

I acquired the expertise by practicing, while I was taking care of our family garden and roof terrace. During this time, a true passion for planting and working on roof terraces emerged. Even though I already had a job, I took the time to develop this passion. I think that having an interest and pleasure in doing something helps learning quickly and simplifies the learning process. Before I set up my business I did a lot of researches on the internet, I red many books, visited gardens and tested many new things in my garden and roof terrace.

Moreover, as I worked for some time as a project manager, I am at my ease with all kind of people, I am good in communication and can successfully manage projects. Additionally, my back office experience helped me in tasks such as accounting, taxes, invoicing, etc…

The Gründerinnenzentrale Berlin has been a great support in finding someone who could help me writing my business plan. I would recommend anyone to write his/her own business plan. It is possible to find templates on the internet, the content can be then developed autonomously. It took me much more time than I planned, but it was worth it because many things became clearer, for example how many contracts I need to get before my balance is positive!

Did you attend a course?
After completion of the website (I used a programme with some ready-to-use templates) I followed a course at the Gründerinnenzentral about search-engine optimization. I had no idea about it, I only knew that being visible on the Internet is important. The course provided me with good inputs and I could really improve the visibility of my website.

What about social networks?
They are essential. I have been trying to be present on different social networks and platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest or Houzz. Physical networks should not be forgotten! It is very important to build and maintain a large network of different people. You have to learn to catch and re-catch people’s attention, without being too intrusive. You never know where the next job is coming from… In addition, exchange with colleagues is very important and is always a precious source of information!

Aniela, thank you very much for your contribution and all the best in your endeavors!

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Non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Europe

From 23rd to 25th October ENIA RDI Ltd, emcra GmbH and the EU-Fundraising Association came together to a trilateral partner meeting in Cyprus. Among other topics, the question of “non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Europe” was broached.

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An Entrepreneurship Action Plan for Europe

Entrepreneurship has been put forward on the EU’s agenda through the “Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan”. It should serve as a “blueprint” for decisive action to support Europe’s entrepreneurial potential and culture. The strategy is built on three pillars, one of them being the promotion of entrepreneurial education and training.

The EU is already supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education thanks to two programmes:

  • COSME, wich supports the mobility of young entrepreneurs and exchanges among educators and trainers’ best practices in entrepreneurship education. Examples of actions include:
    • The European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs, which provides advice and support to women entrepreneurs in the start-up, running and growth of businesses during their early years
    • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, which helps new entrepreneurs (not necessarily young in years, but in the age of their businesses) by offering an opportunity to learn from a more experienced host entrepreneur in another country.  The host benefits in return from a fresh perspective on his / her business.
  • Youth, one of the subdivisions of the new Erasmus+ education program, lays a specific emphasis on youth employability and encouraging entrepreneurship in young people in Europe

Why promoting non-formal learning and entrepreneurship?

At a time when youth unemployment hits records in Europe, the question has been raised during the partner meeting whether non-formal education can help to develop skills more adapted to the workplace, complementing the ones acquired in the formal education system. It has been notably argued that EU mobility programs or other European schemes could foster the development of essential skills, such as intercultural skills, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and risk-taking, lifelong learning, practice of foreign languages, flexibility, etc, which should better prepare individuals for the job markets.

Increase employability

There are various initiatives and innovative projects across Europe addressing the challenges of recognition /integration of trainings on entrepreneurship, empowerment of young people to set up enterprises, or self-(non-formal) learning tools inside enterprises to develop new skills. The partners of the Cyprus meeting have exchanged opinions about the following projects:

  • The Dutch Entrepreneurship Module Eligible for Certification, developed by the European Vocational Training Association and partnering the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, gives upper secondary vocational education institutes the option to add entrepreneurship to existing vocational training courses
  • The Italian project “Bellacoopia” is addressed to young students from upper secondary schools to create virtual cooperative enterprises to experience what running a business means
  • The Spanish FLORIDA Universitaria, training center affiliated to the University of Valencia, enhances the development of an entrepreneurial mindset among students in order to facilitate their employability according to today’s market needs. Innovative methodologies such as business simulation games are included in the learning.
  • The EU-funded project LIFE2: key competences in life skills, bringing together vocational education organizations from Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK has developed a “train the trainer pack”, aiming at helping teachers and trainers to assess and include life skills in vocational learning and encouraging entrepreneurship skills such as creativity and innovation to set up in business.

Entrepreneurship education is not a new concept, but its implementation is still lacking of coherence. The Cyprus meeting allowed the partners to reflect on new approaches leading to innovative project ideas, notably concrete tools and needs analysis for trainers in this field.

 

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