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Active Youth Entrepreneurship Network (AYEN)

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Active Youth Entrepreneurship Network (AYEN)[1]

The objective of the project is to build a transnational entrepreneurial network that facilitates NEETs in the age group of 25-29 to discover needs/opportunities within their own community that can be developed into new businesses and jobs in Bulgaria. The creation of a network of relevant stakeholders will allow them to work together and share their experiences and views on how young people can create their own jobs. Through a comprehensive set of innovative tools, the project strengthens existing regional entrepreneurial communities to foster sustainable creation of jobs.

Activities within the initiative:
- Recruit, include and integrate NEETs into existent entrepreneurial environments.
- Assist them in the development of individual and team business ideas, based on local needs, opportunities and resources.
- Provide to NEETs access to skills and markets through international study visits, local and transnational internships.
- Engage experienced entrepreneurs and retired experts in mentoring.
- Use and test digital tools in daily operations as an input to product/service development and internal supply/demand.
- Establishment of a digital exploratory gamification motivation system and a Local Economy System to stimulate economic activity locally.
•    Initiation
o    The main reasons to introduce the initiative is that many young people are not willing to move to get a job, or simply do not have the necessary skills to get a job in another town, city or country. Therefore, there is a need to create new jobs where young people live and reside.
o    Main objectives:
-    Facilitate jobs’ finding for young people;
-    Create new jobs in NGOs and social enterprises;
-    Help and support young people to start their own business.
•    Target group(s)
o    Young people not in employment, education or training 25-29;
o    Entrepreneurial support communities;
o    Experienced mentors;
•    Specific characteristics: targets social inequality and regional distribution of jobs;
•    Supporting structures: NGOs, social enterprises, central and local government authorities;
•    Financing:
o    Co-funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment Return on investment.


Strengths and lessons learnt
The project might have positive effects on the local economy in the participating regions by creating new jobs’ opportunities and involve the young working force in full. This characteristic is transferable on its own. With regard to sustainability, partners should consider what is necessary in order to keep improving young people’s skills as well as the requirements to maintain the need and relevant of a particular job or business.
The identified needs demonstrate that it still does matter where you are coming from and where you are living in terms of job opportunities and career development, despite the digitalised and mobile world, we live in. Further efforts and resources are necessary to bring the benefits of digitalisation to other parts of the country.


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