The European Youth Event (EYE 2014) brought together 5,000 Europeans aged 16-30 to exchange ideas on youth-related issues in Strasbourg, 9-11 May, 2014. It launched the 5th anniversary of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, which celebrated its fifth anniversary at EYE 2014, is a cross-border exchange programme giving new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other participating countries.
EYE 2014 participants could choose from 200 activities overall. Under the theme of “Youth Unemployment” six of the workshops provided participants with advice to enable them to take part in practical scenarios.
- Cannot find a job? Create your own! This session encouraged young people to use their entrepreneurial spirit
- Business Challenge, a workshop organised with EuropeUnlimited and EBAN, gave young people the chance to pitch their business idea to business experts and coaches
- A “real life” stories discussion saw entrepreneurs who had changed their career and set up their own business discuss their experiences and the challenges they faced
- A World Café-style collective discussion generated ideas based around the topic: ‘Tell the EU’ and focused on how we can work better together with young people on supporting entrepreneurship
Three winners of the Business Challenge will take active part in the SME Assembly. Enterprises, business organisations, the media, academia, the European Commission as well as national and regional governments will attend the Assembly, which takes place in Naples in October.
A success stories brochure confirms the tangible benefits of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme for startups and growth phase SMEs. By 2020, COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) funding will allow for 10,000 exchanges.
The six European Enterprise Promotion Awards categories are:
Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
Recognises initiatives at national, regional or local level that promote an entrepreneurial mindset especially among young people and women.
Investing in entrepreneurial skills
Recognises initiatives at national, regional or local level to improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills.
Improving the business environment
Recognises innovative policies at national, regional or local level which promote enterprise start-up and growth, simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses and implement the “Think Small First” principle in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Supporting the internationalisation of business
Recognises policies and initiatives that encourage at national, regional or local level enterprise and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets both inside and outside the European Union.
Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency
Recognises policies and initiatives at national, regional or local level that support SME access to green markets and help to improve their resource efficiency through, for example, green skills development and matchmaking as well as funding.
Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship
Recognises national, regional or local initiatives by authorities or public/private partnerships that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium sized enterprises. This category will also recognise efforts to promote entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, especially long term unemployed, legal migrants, disabled or people from ethnic minorities.
The Grand Jury Prize can be from any category and will go to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.
Category | Grand Jury Prize
A special prize awarded to the entrepreneurial initiative considered the most creative and inspiring in Europe
Making enterprise a realistic option for the hard-to-reach
Outset, YKTO Ltd, United Kingdom
Outset is designed to show the unemployed that self-employment and enterprise is a realistic alternative to unemployment.
Specifically created to help the most vulnerable groups, including the long-term unemployed, recently redundant, under-25s, women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people with mental and physical disabilities and those who are over 50 years of age, the programme takes a unique approach to supporting start-ups. A national project that works in urban and rural settings, it seeks to change beliefs about the ability to start a small business.
The project ethos involves using support teams that often have similar challenging backgrounds, come from the same local areas and have had first-hand experience of being self-employed or running a business. Outset actively reaches, through all types of community spaces, from sports centres to Diwali and Chinese New Year festivals to find the people that will benefit most. This in-person outreach is reinforced by highly effective, targeted promotions including radio ads with direct response SMS facilities, quirky and enticing posters, postcards and flyers plus online and email marketing and lots of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We use normal, jargon-free language.
Since the start of the programme, Outset has engaged with over 6,000 people. Of those, 673 have started a business, together creating 890 jobs. Outset Finance has helped its clients raise £790,258 from a variety of funding sources to either start or expand their business.
Most importantly, the businesses that Outset support do last: survival rates, particularly for women entrepreneurs, far outstrip national averages. Within disadvantaged client groups, conversion rates from engagement to start are approximately 1:5 and Outset’s new business survival rate after four years is over 80%.
Bev Hurley, Chief Executive
St John’s Innovation Centre, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0WS, UK
Category | Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Recognising actions that promote an entrepreneurial culture and mindset and raise awareness about entrepreneurship in society.
Boosting women’s entrepreneurship by providing easy access to financing Women’s Co-operative Bank Ltd Women’s Co-operative Bank ‘initiative’ Ltd, Cyprus
The Women’s Co-operative Bank seeks to boost women’s entrepreneurship by providing easy access to financing. The organisation identifies gaps in the economy, promotes support programmes for female entrepreneurs and provides free advice and guidance, as well as loans, that are tailor-made to the needs of small business owners. Since the project began, women’s entrepreneurship has increased in Cyprus overall from 12% in 2001, to 28% in 2012.
Artemis Toumazi, Chairman/Director
Sinergatikos Organismos Protovoulias, Ginekon Kiprou Ltd, 30 Pavlou Valdaseridi Street, Branches 1-4, 6018 Larnaca, Postal Code 42251 6530, Larnaca, Cyprus
Category | Investing in Skills
Recognises regional or local initiatives to improve entrepreneurial, vocational, technical and managerial skills
Fostering knowledge transfer and digital visualisation
Visualisation Park, Sweden
Visualisation Park in Sweden focuses on the commercial application of digital visualisation technology. Using a business park model, the location in Eksjö offers a home to a cluster of businesses with expertise in this emerging field. They are gathered around Campus i12, which offers a range of vocational courses. 50 partner companies support the educational programmes and the Park provides a meeting place for educational environment and industry to identify and develop projects. Since it was founded in July 2009 the number of partner companies has more than doubled, to over 100. Most importantly, students’ attitudes shifted. More of them are now inclined to be entrepreneurs themselves, either by launching their own start-up or freelancing.
Joakim Falkäng, Manager
Visualisation Park, Kaserngatan 26, SE-575 35 Eksjö, Sweden
Category | Improving the Business Environment
Recognising measures to simplify administrative procedures for businesses, particularly for start-ups
Tackling difficulties faced by SMEs in urban areas
FaciliTO, Municipality of Turin, Italy
FaciliTO is a model that the Municipality of Turin adopted to tackle the difficulties that small enterprises encounter in struggling urban areas. Micro and small businesses in Turin have faced particular difficulty in accessing credit, which is often due to the absence of project expertise. FaciliTO attempts to meet these needs by providing free consultations to support the development of business plans as well as direct financial support. Over 200 businesses have accessed FaciliTO and 93 of them have received financial support.
Elisa Rosso, Servizio Fondi europei Innovazione
Sviluppo Economico, Via Braccini 2, Cap 10144, Turin, Italy
Category | Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Recognises policies to encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets both inside and outside the European Union
Co-operating to bring Douro wines to the world
Douro Boys, Aicep Portugal Global, Portugal
A group of five small wine producers from the Douro region worked together to create the Douro Boys brand. Designed to exchange information and support each other to steadily improve the quality of the wines they produce, the group also aims to co-ordinate a marketing strategy centred on promoting the Douro region and its wines to the world. Between 2002 and 2011, the exports of wine from the five producers increased from €4.7 million to €11 million, an increase of 134%.
Jorge Holtreman Roquette, Administrator for Quinta do Crasto SA
aicep Portugal Global, Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal, EPE
O’Porto Bessa Leite Complex, Rua António Bessa Leite, 1430 – 2o Andar, 4150-074 Porto
Category | Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Recognises regional or local actions promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices
Supporting disabled people into the workplace, Disabled at Work, Denizli Municipality, Turkey
Disability is a major cause of social exclusion and poverty, primarily due to the lack of employment opportunities. Disabled at Work, a joint Turkish-Dutch project, seeks to change attitudes and support the integration of physically disabled people into the labour market. The group comprises 16 organisations from Turkey and the Netherlands. The projects provide training as well as a matching programme which offers disabled people mentors as they prepare to enter the workforce. At the end of the programme, 194 people had been trained and 65 were employed.
Ms Pınar GÜLMEZ AĞIRBAŞ, Director of Survey and Project Department
Altıntop Mahallesi Lise Caddesi No:1, 20100 Denizli, Turkey
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards have run since 2006. There have been 42 winning entries including one Grand Jury Prize winner in each competition. The most recent recipient of the Grand Jury Prize being Think Small First – Introduction to Micro Companies in Latvia.
Winners from previous years are listed below. We hope they inspire you to enter your national competition in 2015!
Outset, YTKO Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Outset is designed to show the unemployed that self- employment and enterprise is a realistic alternative to unemployment. Since the start of the programme, Outset has engaged with over 10,000 people. Of those, 1,916 have started a business, together creating 2,188 jobs.
Barcelona Activa SAU SPM, Barcelona City Council, Spain
With its mission to transform entrepreneurship and business growth in Barcelona, the centre acts as a reference point and hub for entrepreneurs and uses an innovative model of online and on-site services to train individuals, thereby fostering the establishment of more than 6,000 new companies.
Entrepreneurs’ Residencies, Auvergne Agence Regionale de Developpement des Territoires d’Auvergne (ARDTA), France
Entrepreneurs’ Residencies provides short and long-term support measures for business creators or buyers from outside the area willing to settle in the region. They are designed to support, facilitate and accelerate the setting up of new businesses by guiding potential entrepreneurs and refunding their living expenses.
The Scarborough Renaissance Partnership, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
The development project transformed the north-east England seaside town of Scarborough by pioneering renaissance and boosting entrepreneurship, thus turning a seasonal economy with winter unemployment 50% higher than summer into a year-round economy with only a 10% difference between summer and winter employment.
Development of premises for business use, Lan Ekintza-Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
Innovative urban redevelopment initiative that aims to prevent city decay by attracting startups and established businesses to relocate to the old heart of the city by providing financial support as well as combating marginalisation and social exclusion.
Y4 Committee, Finland
A complete methodology that introduces the business perspective in regional decision-making, encourages innovation and entrepreneurship espousing ethically sustainable values. The project triggered a cultural change in Central Finland, raising the proportion of entrepreneurs in a region that previously had a well- established culture of paid employment.