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ASHA Social Entrepreneurship Trainings
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Dates: February and April 2015 Venue: ASHA Centre, Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean. ASHA Social Entrepreneurship Trainings targeted youth workers, youth leaders and young entrepreneurs willing to develop their skills through non-formal learning. The main theme was social entrepreneurship and creative skills of young people. The project was a direct response to one of the most pressing challenges of young people all over Europe ? to unemployment. Some even call it a civilisational challenge which leaves hundreds of thousands of young people out of work, which will undoubtedly negatively affect our societies. At the same time however an increased number of peoples' initiatives emerge, with all of them under the common umbrella-explanation of entrepreneurship. These new emerging businesses create a very large proportion of innovative products and services that transform the way we work and live, such as personal computers, software, social media (or internet in general), or more local businesses such as production of organic food or storage facilities. What is more, they generate new jobs, thus directly responding to the needs of the unemployed. In many instances it is unemployed themselves taking the initiative and through their own creativity and innovation creating various ventures (ranging from social to business enterprises) by and for themselves as well as for others. But what exactly is this phenomenon of social entrepreneurship? How should we understand it? How can young people understand it? This project explored these questions, through various methods including Timmons entrepreneurship framework, introduction of ?your opportunity journal?, as well as case studies, simulation activities, brainstorming activities and the use of theatre methods. All of these working methods were based on active involvement (and active participation of course!) of all of the participants. All of it was done in order to achieve the following objectives: - to identify the entrepreneurial potential of each individual and organisation participating in the project; - to provide participants with examples of successful local social and business ventures developed by young entrepreneurs and to learn from the experience of social enterprises based in the Forest of Dean (Taurus Crafts, George Café, amongst others); - to give participants knowledge about the entrepreneurship development process, from the identification of an idea or a need, through its development to management; - to develop participants' basic social entrepreneurial skills in young people; - to increase their confidence and build on their positive attitudes towards the risk-taking which (social) entrepreneurship requires; - to provide participants with information about possible funding sources for their start-up ideas, including European schemes such as Erasmus + - to promote European funding opportunities (including E+) as tools for future ventures but also as tools supporting education towards entrepreneurship. The result we aimed at was to provide with entrepreneurial competencies, including basic knowledge, skills and attitudes required to foster young people?s creativity and social entrepreneurship. And then for them to multiply everything they have learned further, in their local communities. But most importantly ? to use the competencies (and the passion we hope to ignite) to start developing their own (social) enterprises! This is the long term goal (and hopefully the benefit) of these trainings. The courses programmes, based on key principles of NFL, involved a mixture of in-house sessions held at ASHA Centre combined with visits to local initiatives and social enterprises to allow for a practical learning process and maximising learning outcomes in these eight-day residential trainings.
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