“Joining Hands!” was a 2 year long project implemented by YEU in Brussels, Belgium, with the support of the Youth in Action Programme of the European Commission which aimed at creating a strong partnership to support and reinforce the concept of youth social entrepreneurship as a means of generating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
YEU strongly believes that social entrepreneurship is an efficient method for pursuing innovative solutions to social problems. It contributes to community development, supports environmental sustainability and produces social capital. More specifically, social entrepreneurship corresponds to the priorities of Europe 2020 (the EU’s agenda for growth and jobs for the 2010 – 2020 decade) and contributes to Europe’s smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in several ways: 1) Smart growth – developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation; 2) Sustainable growth – promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy; and 3) Inclusive growth – fostering a high-employment economy delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion.
The project involved several local and international activities. The partner organisations of the project (YEU, AMC, AEGEE, FNG, MOJU, Municipality of Nea Ionia and YEU Cyprus) first conducted research and gathered information about unemployment, social inclusion and social entrepreneurship in their countries. Based on these results, the first training course, “JOINING HANDS – Getting Started!” took place in Porto, Portugal, in October 2014. This course then set the foundations for the following training courses. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the multiple dimensions of sustainable development, to understand the principles of social entrepreneurship, its legal framework in each country and to explore the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In addition to this, young people met several social entrepreneurs, felt inspired by them and simulated their own social enterprises!
The training course was followed by a Partnership Building Activity. The latter had the specific aim to plan activities to raise the awareness of young people about social entrepreneurship at the local level. This was a very interesting process during which participants identified the needs and the potential of the young people of their communities. During the Partnership Building Activity, young people joined their hands and their forces in order to inform, inspire and empower young people in their communities about social entrepreneurship.
With these series of training courses we wish to support young people to fight unemployment and work for their own benefit, that of society in general and the environment!