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European Learning for Youth in Social Entrepreneurship
Start date: 01 May 2015, End date: 31 Oct 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

EU countries today face varying social and economic challenges, from unemployment and an aging population with associated social problems, to economic inequality and scarcity of resources. This presents unseen challenges and opportunities. However there is an interesting trend occurring: the rise of social entrepreneurship as a solution to many of the social problems, and the youth population’s interest in this field. This presents itself as a tremendous opportunity to not only fight social problems but also to contribute to youth self-employment. Across Europe there are quite a few organisations that have historically been working either in the social entrepreneurship field or in providing youth with the needed skills for the future. However, these same organisations have identified this new trend and started involving youth and social entrepreneurship in the same projects. Organisations that traditionally support social entrepreneurs are starting to provide this same support to younger generations. In the same way, organisations which have always worked with youth are now including the provision of social entrepreneurship experiences within their services. As a result there were several trials; projects were created to test how to best take advantage of the youth’s interest in social entrepreneurship, and provide them with practical social entrepreneurship experiences that contribute to develop the skills they will need for their future careers. Even though some key learning points were taken, there are still many questions to be answered with regards to how to best provide these experiences. Organisations are currently lacking a commonly accepted framework to adhere to as guidance to provide these experiences. The European Learning for Youth in Social Entrepreneurship (ELYSE) Project was created to confront this issue. It aims to collect these experiences in working both with youth and social entrepreneurship, and develop a framework and a set of recommendations on how to best provide practical social entrepreneurship experiences to young people across the European Union countries. Six EU organisations will collaborate to manage and oversee the delivery and implementation of this project. The holistic sample of organisations used provides a diverse insight through cross cultural differences and varying economic realities. They are: Project Ahead from Italy, UnLtd UK from the United Kingdom, Youth Business Poland from Poland, Social Entrepreneurs Agency from Portugal, Social Entrepreneurship Akademie from Germany and CEDRA HR from Croatia. These organisations will work together during 18 months to suggest recommendations on how to provide practical social entrepreneurship experiences to young people. In order to do that they will travel in groups of three to three different countries (Portugal, United Kingdom and Poland) and collect the best practices in working with youth and social entrepreneurship in each of those countries. They will meet with experts in youth work, social entrepreneurship as well as with youth groups. After this research phase, partners will come together to analyse the information collected and, by using a particular research methodology, will come up with a new framework and a set of recommendations on how to best provide practical social entrepreneurship experiences to young people in Europe. These findings will then be disseminated in a final event and through a set of activities that will have as target different sectors of society: governments, public institutions, universities, youth groups, youth and social entrepreneurship experts, etc. The ultimate impact ELYSE aims to have is to allow more young people to have practical social entrepreneurial experiences, which will not only develop their entrepreneurial skills but also contribute to their future careers. We want to do that by providing organisations with a commonly accepted methodology which will be point of reference in this field. We’ll not only capacitate organisations but also inspire them to invest in this field and to provide more and more of these experiences.
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