Term “entrepreneurship“ is associated with the ability to discover new opportunities, realize yourself and create economic and social value. The incentive of entrepreneurship in Europe is key to Lisbon Strategy objects and tools aiming that the EU could become an equally competitive economy in the world. Existing vacancies do not guarantee successful youth, which have just graduated from school or university, employment. That is why they must have a stronger connection with the world of work and business to understand how important it is to integrate into the labour market and how to do it successfully.
Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing problems in the labour market and there has been an increase in the number of young people out of work in recent years, so the association “Unique Projects“ has implemented a Youth Exchange project called The Journey of Entrepreneurship. The project took place from the 12th to the 21st of June 2022 in Kaunas and was funded by the European Union programme Erasmus+. Young people from Italy, Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania took part in the project. The project aimed to increase young people’s knowledge of entrepreneurship and aspects of the labour market as well as to develop participants’ entrepreneurial competencies that enable them to start their own business or increase their employability.
Participants during the project through different activities and informal methods, deepened their knowledge of entrepreneurship, analysed youth unemployment from different perspectives, looked into and searched for answers to the problem. They bravely raised questions about the labour market, discussed how they imagine themselves and how they see or would like to see a young person in the labour market in general.
It was a pleasure to welcome the guests who visited the project and who shared their success stories. During these visits, Aurimas Mazūras and Mantas Malvicas shared their “start-up” stories. Participants got to know what the process was from coming up with an idea to finding sponsors, heard about the mistakes they made in setting up a business and got useful advice to build it for themselves. We thank guests for sharing their experiences and inspiring young people.
During the project participants deepened their knowledge and developed entrepreneurial skills during the self-cognitive session, activities promoting teamwork and creativity. Moreover, they improved their ability to leave their comfort zone as well as think otherwise – “Think out of the box”. Later, young people analyzed problems and sought solutions – i.e. they developed business ideas to solve problems and were critical of them using methods such as Six thinking hats. Also, young adults got familiar with the business model Canvas and tested it with the chosen idea, then participants tested those ideas by interviewing local residents and improved them in response to comments. The whole project was crowned with a final event where young people presented ideas developed in teams throughout the project. In total there were four groups with four different business ideas.
We are thankful to KTU Startup Space for helping us organise and implement the event. Also, we thank our guests from business world Vaida Morkūnaitė, Jūratė Danėnienė and Mantas Malycius. Participants had an opportunity to present their own ideas and answer questions that have made young people look into the idea that has been put forward even more as well as receive better feedback from professionals. We hope that the experience gained throughout the project and the closing event will help participants to gain a better foothold in the labour market and create a job for themselves in the near future.
Furthermore, during the project, young people had the unique opportunity to get to know the psychological play of roles the Detective Mafia. We thank the Detective Mafia Club for their good emotions and have a good time.
Given that intercultural knowledge is a very important part of the Erasmus + programme, during the project we had traditional cultural evenings, during which participants allowed each other to get to know the cultures of their countries. Also, in order for participants to consciously travel through the experience of the project, we carried out reflections, during which participants evaluated their day and acquired or improved Youthpass competencies using various methods.
Organisers encourage participants to share their gained knowledge and experiences in their local communities and environment with family members, friends and acquaintances to ensure a wide and long- term impact of the project. The results of the project and more detailed practical advices to help develop entrepreneurial skills individually will be published on Unique Projects Facebook account www.facebook.com/uniqueprojectseu and the website www.uniqueprojects.eu