You(th) and Business
“You(th) and Business” was a project granted by Erasmus Programme that foreseen the realization of two main activities: a Training Course which took place in Rzeszow, Poland and a Study Visit which was organized in Seinäjoki, Finland. The project was successful, reflecting the good cooperation between the two coordinating organizations: Seinäjoki Youth Department from Seinäjoki and International Projects Association “INPRO” from Rzeszow, supported by another seven international partners.
Main goal of the project was to offer 27 youth workers the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills and expand specific knowledge, while developing their network, practice English and increase their job satisfaction. A special focus was given to the context of entrepreneurship environment of young people from remote areas and how this condition can be overpass by using smart creativity, technology and community resources.
In the first activity, the Training Course held in Poland, focus was on delivering specific knowledge in a non-formal way, by working in groups, debating and forum discussions. We worked with 4 trainers who were delivering different sessions to participants: Elsa Daniels, Radu Mirea, Elżbieta Szczepaniak and Bohdan Kamiński.
Participants learned and discussed about entrepreneurial process, how non-formal education can motivate youth to start a business and why youth workers have an important guiding role on this educational path. Trainers also showed how social economy concept can help youth from remote areas to develop a business, while being also oriented on community development. Learning theoretical knowledge and working in groups on their newly designed start-ups, positively challenged participants and results were satisfactory. On the other hand, being a player in a business game simulation was also a great experience. Participants learned how to start and manage a tourism agency. The simulation game challenged participants in using or learning skills needed for running a business. They had to calculate costs, hire employees, boost customer satisfaction and also compete with each other’s businesses. Few of them purchased the game for further use in their youth work.
Other few sessions were planned and realized in order to offer participants an interactive cultural interaction with locals. During City Rally participants got to know the city businesses and see part of the city. Open Café event brought together participants and locals sharing food and traditions. One day was organized as a field visit and they had the occasion to go in remote areas from Bieszczady Mountains, where participants could visit the Regional Office of Social Economy Support Project in Strzyzow, a Chocolate Factory in Korczyna and the School of Disappearing Professions in Uherce Mineralne. One half day session was organized following to Open Space Technology and participants created their own agenda on entrepreneurship coming up with sessions about start-ups they run, how failure can make you successful, importance of being intrapreneur or benefits of having entrepreneurial spirit in your career.
Erasmus programme session offered participants a brief on how youth and youth workers can learn and experience more by taking its opportunities.
During the second activity, the Study Visit held in Finland, the international group of 27 participants had occasion to visit several local businesses located in remote areas and also couple of local institutions entitled with youth education. Businesses like manufacturing medical products from local herbs, witchcraft and storytelling, sound and massage therapy, drums and singing therapy, building drums craft, were heard during the visit at MagaLacrima. Participants found out how making gin is like from Kyrö distillery staff. They could also see how producing furniture by 14 years old youth can become famous and become a business of millions, reaching international market and also fame. These teenage entrepreneurs from Mööpeli were honoured to visit the Finnish president, mister Sauli Niinistö, who congratulated them for their brave and interesting venture.
On the other hand we also could see how Alakylä School, one of the best school oriented on entrepreneurship, is working with youngsters and also how vocational educational school SEDU works with youth who wants to start their own business after graduation. Participants were pleased to see how well are equipped these public schools and how the concept of cooperative works supporting both members and clients. Ylistaro Satulinna day care centre show how kids learn to be entrepreneurs from early ages, having the occasion to work in all fields while spending their day time with educators.
Participants have had also the occasion to see how 4H Association is working with local youth and support them in their businesses. They had the opportunity to meet and discuss with entrepreneurs from different fields: Katariina Kimpimäki from Kuorasjärven kartano, running a private restaurant, Heikki Korhonen from Anouk Studios, working in photography art field, Tommi Kilpiö from adrealize, doing web development, Elli Koskinen from Koru- ja lahjakauppa Hopeinen Kuu and Anu Kuivaniemi from Pakopeli FindOut. A network of escape rooms.
The newly launched brand of the Seinajoki city is Capital of Space and it reflects best how remotely things are there, this making more difficult to make business and find clients for them. All visits here were full of emotion and surprises, participants getting meaningful knowledge and examples strongly connected with the project topic.
In Finland visits were facilitated by local trainers: Marika Eromäki and Päivi Kandolin. The coordination team had an excellent cooperation and together with all partners representatives they would like to thank to ERASMUS Programme and Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI).
- Seinäjoki Nuorisopalvelut from Finland
- International Projects' Association "INPRO" from Poland
- Bulgarian Youth Forum from Bulgaria
- Urbana Mladez from Croatia
- Asociacion Mundus from Spain
- Young Effect from Italy
- Socialas Inovacuas Centrs from Latvia
- Agrupamento de Escolas de Vilela from Portugal
- Asociatia Comunitatilor Interculturale from Romania
Special thanks to local stakeholders and partners:
- Radio Rzeszow
- Joint Municipal Authority for Education – SEDU
- Alakylä School
- Satulinna day care center
Thank you all for making “Youth and Business” happen!
Text: Radu Mirea