In a nutshell
Coordinating partner: CROS, The Alternative University (RO)
Partners: Impact Hub Sicily (IT), The Business Start-up Centre-Bitola (FY), Team Academy (NL)
Timeline: November 2014 – October 2016
Budget: 120 416 EUR
Events: three sharing sessions based seminars, study visits associated, an expert training, a transnational meeting
Intellectual Outputs: research on the current state-of-the-art of youth incubators, Incubation-outside-the-Box ToolSet – educational physical product
Dissemination Events: 5 workshops in 5 different European cities
Detailed information about the project
The EYE (Enabling Youth Entrepreneurship) support group project is a collaboration between four European business incubators with various approaches to working with youth enterprises.
The alliance has helped the partners to gain expertise, build capacity and develop innovative and easy-to-share methodologies (the Y incubate toolkit) for business incubation programmes targeting young Europeans.
The toolkit is based on the four organizations’ experience, and on preliminary research into the state of the art concerning business incubators for young people. It has been tested by several European entrepreneurship hubs, students’ associations and business support groups, and will be disseminated to all European universities, incubators, foundations, investors and governments promoting youth entrepreneurship programmes.
The EYE project has included research, transnational project meetings, learning activities, workshops, project management and communication. At every stage, the partners have used innovative methodologies including product and service design, design thinking, partnership brokering, facilitation, and co-creation.
Initially, the project was meant to create a toolkit to increase incubators’ performance. During the transnational project meetings, and after examining the needs of the target audience, the design team has decided to produce a multilayer toolkit to help young people learn about and prepare themselves for the challenges of entrepreneurship. Y incubate incorporates a set of instruments, both digital and physical, to make young people aware of their skills and encourage them to enter the world of entrepreneurship. It aims to become a powerful resource for tackling unemployment across Europe.
The Alternative University is a Romanian democratic learning environment that offers rich, personalized learning experiences, created together with business and education professionals. The organization aims to support young people’s growth and empower them to make an impact on society. It does this by unleashing their hidden potential and pushing them to achieve the best they can in their respective industries, and to create a new culture of socially aware business that makes the world a better place.
The educational model of the Alternative University is based on four principles:
- Choose freely.
- Create challenging projects that have real impact.
- Develop your existing skills and gain new ones.
- Be a part of the community, and give and receive support and inspiration.
The university was founded in 2008. It currently provides a learning environment for 150 students, and has a network of over 150 business and education professionals. Each year, the students create approximately ten new businesses and carry out over eighty projects.
Team Academy Netherlands is a university of applied entrepreneurship. It is part of an international network of schools, Tiimiakatemia, founded in Finland in 1993, which has satellites in ten countries, more than 1,300 teampreneurs, and 800 team coaches. The programme is focused on guided self-organized learning, applying theory to practice, and team- and action-based learning.
Teams operate both as learning environments and independent cooperative companies. Students work only on real-life projects that they devise themselves, to cover all the expenses of the company.
Team Academy Netherlands offers an accredited bachelor’s degree in business administration and entrepreneurship. Founded in 2005, it has 75 students in multiple locations, and is expected to grow to 100 students in the upcoming school year. More than 50 percent of students are entrepreneurs two years after graduation.
Impact Hub Siracusa is an independent private cooperative company focused on social innovation, with a wide network of partners and affiliates in the Mediterranean region. With five years’ experience of Mediterranean cooperation and a team of eight founders and partners, it relies on a community of over a hundred social innovators and entrepreneurs. These act as highly skilled business and social enterprise experts, trainers, consultants and facilitators.
In 2010, after several years spreading the culture of social innovation in Sicily, the founders won a European grant for the Euro South Hub project, part of the Interreg Italy-Malta programme. The successful completion of the project has consolidated a Mediterranean network of innovators and allowed the creation of the first co-working space in Sicily, on Ortigia island in Siracusa.
Impact Hub Siracusa offers business support services, access to finance, community building, toolkits, workspaces, events, training, and business incubation programmes. In 2015 it launched a business incubator focused on digital social innovation, together with a hi-tech consortium, in the city of Catania. Since then it has developed and consolidated a wider network of partners, and become a cornerstone for social innovation and entrepreneurship in Sicily and beyond.
The Bitola Business Start-up Centre was established by six local partners in 2007. Between 2007 and 2010 it implemented the From Idea to Business project, financed by the nongovernmental organization SPARK using a grant from the Dutch government. The project achieved a direct and positive impact employing three main strategies: direct poverty alleviation, capacity building, and policy making.
From 2011 to 2014, it implemented USAID’s Business Without Borders programme, with the goal of accelerating economic growth in southwestern Macedonia by facilitating the growth of start-ups and existing SMEs and creating employment opportunities for the young and vulnerable. Between 2007 and 2014, the organisation helped to create 750 jobs, supported 365 SMEs, advanced €417,000 in microcredit to sixty-two SMEs, provided 7,878 hours of consultation and organised 216 business training sessions for almost 4,000 people.