Två tomma händer [Two empty hands] – a report on entrepreneurship

This report is about entrepreneurship. The report is based on, among other things, knowledge and information generated previously by Temagruppen Entreprenörskap och Företagande.

The reason why Theme Group Youth chose to describe entrepreneurship is that it is a method used in work involving unemployed young people within projects supported by the European Social Fund. We did not have any ambition to give any precise answers, but rather to present several examples of projects and allow some views to be presented that help to identify the area. We hope that people whose work involves project or regular activities aimed at unemployed young people may find inspiration and support in this report. Entrepreneurship will become an increasingly important dimension of the new Social Fund Programme and consideration should consequently also be given to aspects such as allowing project participants to participate in the project for a longer period, perhaps for as long as two to three years.

Co-financing model at the national level promotes sustainability

A co-financing model at the national level should prevent individual participants ending up in situations where they are required to leave a project owing to the rules and regulations of, for instance, the unemployment benefit fund. This would also afford greater security for project owners. It would also thereby become easier to have a more long-term and sustainable plan for project participants. Stable growth requires a long-term vision. Entrepreneurship might be better suited to people who did not do well in theoretical subjects at school, which dominate most of the teaching at compulsory and upper secondary school. Perhaps the only thing required for them to succeed is to get the opportunity and to be placed in the right situation? This might mean providing an opportunity to be for the first time put into a situation where a period characterised by searching and which has also perhaps been somewhat troubled is moved on to a period involving doing something more concrete. Being able to see the results of their own work has a positive impact on individuals and their quality of life.

Important things to consider when a project involves entrepreneurship:

  • Ensure that project financing is secured so that no liquidity problems or the like arise that may result in the project being discontinued.
  • Which stakeholders should be involved in the project? Individuals/organisations with experience of running businesses and training in entrepreneurship should be included in the project structure.
  • What should be the purpose of entrepreneurship? Should its aim be to get young people to start their own businesses? Or is the purpose to help them to develop and find their own motivation and build self-confidence on their path to work or studies?
  • How long should the young people be able to take part in the project? A shorter period may be desirable if the purpose is work or studies. On the other hand if it is to culminate in them starting a business, it may be particularly important for them to be able to stay in the project for a longer period.
  • Is the entrepreneurship for the participants or the project staff? Is there a method that the project staff can rally around in their work and apply as a common starting point/work methodology?
  • What traditions are there in the district where the project is being run and how do society, enterprise and access to different networks function?
  • Do the staff working on the project have any personal experience of entrepreneurship and enterprise or is their background social work?
  • Work actively to create, retain and develop networks (and a customer base) for the young people involved in the project.