Young people from across Europe come together in the YounGO social entrepreneurship laboratories. Held in Romania, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spain, the seven European countries participating in the project devised by Red CreActiva and Jovesolides España, the aim of these workshops is to promote social entrepreneurship and social engagement among young people.
The young participants might sign up with an idea for a social project, or without one, but what they all have in abundance is a desire to learn and be a part of the change for the better to improve their immediate surroundings. In the words of Jorge Galán, project manager, the YounGo laboratories are “the perfect place for personal discovery and growth, to find the talent we each have within us”, adding that they are like the best classes you will ever have, “except that note-taking is not allowed”.
In the laboratories, the participants are taught the Creative Solutions to Social Problems (CSSP) method, a simple approach that begins with collective communication and is accessible to all. Its ultimate goal is to generate ideas for change. It also works on developing empathy, in order to create inclusive projects and break through the stereotypes that can block creative-thinking.
Think of it as a much-needed “overcome your fears” workshop to kick-start entrepreneurship among young people. The latest report from the Observatory of University Entrepreneurship indicates that for 48.6% of the young people interviewed, the “fear of failure was a significant obstacle to embarking on entrepreneurial activities”.
YounGo promotes and supports the implementation of initiatives led by young people that lead to employment and self-employment, something which is vitally important today, as figures from the latest studies show. Youth unemployment in Europe is around 15% among the under 35s, and rises to 22% among the under 25s. The figures for Spain, as well as Greece, are even higher, reaching 52% in the case of the former, according to a study conducted by the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of the Basque Country.
Final YounGO laboratories in Europe
With the arrival of autumn the final YounGO laboratories were held in Italy, at Eurocultura; in Romania, at ACTA Center; in Bulgaria, at the National Management School; and last but not least in Spain. These laboratories help drive home the importance of social entrepreneurship as a motor for change among the young participants.
The YounGO project is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus Plus programme, and has the following project partners: the Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, Greece; Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Slovakia; and the Social Innovation Fund, Lithuania.