Youth for Innovation: Social Entrepreneurship and Media
Young people are currently facing a number of challenges in their personal and working lives
Young people are currently facing a number of challenges in their personal and working lives, among which the economic crisis, temporary contract forms, and the recent pandemic that produced inequality among the population where young people have been deeply affected (Labour Market and Wage Developments in Europe, 2020, EC).
“Situation of young people in the European Union” (2018) shows that improvements on youth unemployment, with particular reference to NEETs, has been achieved, but quality level of employment and its social context should still be addressed. Young people are less likely to be self-employed than an older target because of finance barriers, lack of experience and skills and knowledge on funding opportunities. By providing the right support in overcoming these barriers and by encouraging innovative practice, young people’s potential can be positively affected.
Nevertheless, the pandemic brought along challenges for communities and organizations all over Europe. Young people are the most affected in terms of jobs and social opportunities (ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. 2020). Equally, we can state that this emergency showed societies how digital media, if used correctly, can support quality learning and professional development.
This project focuses on digital entrepreneurship to create a community of young people who can shape a better and inclusive world for them and future generations. Entrepreneurial competences are not only useful to youngsters who actually want to start a company but encourage them to find creative solutions, see opportunities and learn to take calculated risks. Such competences are of great importance in many areas of life, including social engagement through local initiatives and for diverse professional careers. In our post-pandemic societies, the ability to adapt and develop innovative ideas has become even more crucial for young people to find their career paths.
The consortium partners work closely with (second-generation) young migrants who often face additional cultural or educational barriers in accessing formative experience and employment. There is an urgent need to foster inclusion in youth work and non-formal education. The project therefore aims to apply more inclusive practices in training on media literacy & digitalization, and in the support of entrepreneurship and social engagement.
The project thereby responds to the need of more actively engaging young generations with diverse backgrounds in common activities. In YISEM, partners will share best practices and identify tools to develop young people’s entrepreneurial mindsets, their understanding of the interrelations between economy and human and cultural environments.
The project addresses youth educators, NGOs, youth centres and institutions involved in the field of non-formal learning who are in direct contact with the target groups. YISEM proposes tools for practitioners to better engage young people in self-directed initiatives and foster a more sustainable and social entrepreneurship based on innovation and media communication. The tools are comprised of new formats to better reach and communicate with young people.
Although educational materials on entrepreneurial competences exist already, partners see a great added value in having well-structured learning content in different working languages based directly on the needs of the target groups. For the production of the project results, partners combine tested know-how and best practice on European level with specific information needed to implement social entrepreneurship initiatives in the local context.
The project will foster the exchange of good practice among youth work organisations, increasing youth work quality and sustaining the creation of new educational material in podcast format. Furthermore, “YISEM” creates formative and experiential opportunities for young people, including youth with fewer opportunities, by developing small-scale social projects based on entrepreneurial principles.
The YISEM consortium fully supports the program priorities of the E+ program and the European Youth Work Agenda. Firstly, a main focus is the promotion of active citizenship, young people’s sense of initiative and social entrepreneurship. Secondly, the project is designed to address digital transformation by promoting digital and social entrepreneurship with a positive use of the media, encouraging media literacy and digital marketing for social purposes. And finally, inclusion and diversity play a central role in all activities. The project consortium works daily with young people from migrant backgrounds and/or second generation and young people facing economic challenges (young unemployed or looking for further education opportunities), being sometimes overlapping situations. In the project’s needs analysis, partners identified an added value in bringing together the specific target groups with other motivated youngsters to create a common identity and foster understanding. Encouraging acceptance of different perspectives, ideas, and backgrounds will foster social innovation and create more inclusive environments.
In times of the Post-Covid Pandemic YISEM also pays special attention to the reconstruction and capacity development in the area of transnational partnerships and networks. The project strengthens European partnerships through the exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices to coping with challenges in youth work that the different partners are experiencing. The development of online learning formats will help the partners with less experience with digital tools to strengthen their capacities and increase their reach of the target groups in post-pandemic times.
The specific objectives addressed by the project are
to promote digital entrepreneurship competences and social engagement of young people through attractive non-formal education tools (in podcast format) and experiential and peer-learning opportunities (international training and local innovator hubs)
to foster quality youth work by providing open educational material for youth workers to support young people in their development and to facilitate implementation of youth-led projects
to strengthen capacities of youth work organizations in the fields of social entrepreneurship and digital media, and the inclusion of youth with fewer opportunities by sharing best practices
to raise awareness among local and European stakeholders on the values of inclusion and diversity, and the potentials of youth participation for social innovation
to promote digital entrepreneurship competences and social engagement, ideas for innovative career paths and non-formal education opportunities among local stakeholders in the EU countries through a cross-sectoral approach (youth & education fields, private sector and public institutions)
The project objectives will be achieved through a number of activities involving partner organizations, young people and youth workers.
3 transnational project meetings:
Mid-term monitoring meeting
Final evaluation meeting
Regular partner meetings, including frequent online contact, will ensure the quality implementation of the project. Partners exchange their best practices to use the full potential of each organizations’ expertise and existing tools in the fields of non-formal education, social entrepreneurship and youth initiatives, and digital media.
1 Blended Mobility of young people, including a bootcamp training in Italy, follow-up webinars and local hubs in partner countries
24 participants (18-26 years old) from 6 partner countries
8 day training activity with non-formal and peer learning methods
The project aims at creating a network of young people who are able to put into practice their social ideas by using entrepreneurial and digital marketing competences. A bootcamp will be organised in Italy to give young people the needed competences and skills. For additional learning, visits to start-ups and social initiatives in the field will be organized. During the learning activity, participants will develop their own ideas for social and entrepreneurial engagement and plan the implementation at local level. Coming back to their countries, local innovation hubs will be organised by the project consortium to support the development of these small projects, supported by webinars during the period. At the end of the project, the national groups will present their work in the local multiplication events. Their stories and experiences will be shared with the other national groups through livestream.
Production of open educational resources
Series of 30 podcasts produced in 6 working languages on topics of social entrepreneurship; including easy to understand theoretical knowledge, inspiring examples from practice, tips and suggestions from experts in the field
The series will be divided into 2 main lines:
Aimed at young people to encourage their entrepreneurial spirit and competences in order to promote their participation in social and economic development of society
Youth workers will be provided with the necessary knowledge and tools to support young people in their development and in the implementation of their own initiatives
International and local multiplication events
During one final international multiplication event and local events in each partner country, external stakeholders will learn about the project results. Invited guests (youth workers, associations, educational institutions) will have the opportunity to give feedback on the educational resources and discuss their adaptability to their own working environments. Representatives of the local young innovator hubs present their social entrepreneurship initiatives to a professional public to promote social development of their communities and find potential supporters (strategic partners, expert support, financial support for continuation and sustainability of activities).
MAIN EXPECTED IMPACT ON INDIVIDUALS
Young people involved in the project (24 among which 12 with fewer opportunities) are expected to gain
increased empowerment, sense of initiative and active participation in the social and/or economic development of their communities;
increased chances for (self-)employment through specific competence development and first-hand experience;
increased competence acquisition on: digital and social entrepreneurship, digital marketing, media literacy, project management, business planning and communication.
raised networking on EU and local level, experience in working in an intercultural European environment.
Involved partner organisations and associatied local institutions:
exchanged good practices and innovative tools, analysis on social entrepreneurship based on digital competences;
exchanged and newly developed tools in supporting young people with fewer opportunities considering different target groups;
creation of local hubs to sustain involved young people.
increased local networking through the podcast promotion in schools and local youth associations: raised consideration in the communities.
Youth workers and practitioners working with target groups:
raised awareness on the importance of youth participation, employment opportunities and entrepreunership;
empowered in making impactful changes in their centres through the use of the produced educational toolkit;
fostered cooperation among cross-sectoral youth fields;
raised ripple effect on young people.
Report on the learning needs of young people and needs of youth workers to improve their capacities produced during preparatory research at the beginning of the project.
Podcast series (30 episodes, in 6 languages) as main project result: how to encourage youth social entrepreneurship and civic engagement based on digital marketing. Podcasts will be produced by the consortium before and during the local hub activities and provided to young participants as webinars. They will test them as part of the learning blended mobility giving inputs for improvements.
At the end, they will be released to the public, youth workers and young people as open learning tools (OER). The podcast will be issued and translated in 6 languages to ensure inclusive learning opportunities for young people with fewer opportunities and maximise the impacts on target groups while also widely spreading the tool potentially to different EU countries;
Evaluation report on the produced results provided by the project consortium
Creation of a website containing information on the project, podcasts, partner contacts, event information and resources;
Final Event + national multiplication events to promote the project and its results in each partner country , targeting young people, youth workers, experts in the youth work sector and local institutions; the events will be implemented with direct involvement of the young people participating in the project