Learning about Social Entrepreneurship through Erasmus+
Over the past decade it became clear that there is nothing as powerful as a new idea in the hands of an excellent entrepreneur, especially if the idea is helping others. Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. Unlike ‘conventional’ entrepreneurs who typically measure performance in profit and return, social entrepreneurs also take into account a positive return to society.
In order to create future social entrepreneurs, Erasmus+ youth exchange (YE) “More than Money: Social Entrepreneurship Heroes” took place in Kaunas, Lithuania, on December 5-15th. 36 young participants from Lithuania, Spain, Italy, UK, Romania and Turkey were involved in a variety of non-formal education activities and discussions related to the topic. The youth exchange has focused on social entrepreneurship and the possibilities behind it. During it, the participants learned the essentials of social entrepreneurship, skills needed to be successful in the field and everything about the process of opening up a social enterprise. Fresh ideas of social businesses have been developed, some of which will be tried to put into practice by the participating youth. In addition, the participants spread the message about social entrepreneurship to the public in order to make the concept more popular locally and beyond. As a result, in the long run it is expected to ensure a positive impact on both youth unemployment and the resultant problems at least in the participant countries.
Activities & results
[blockquote align=”right”]The best experience of my life! I loved the workshops, the tasks, the games, the quizzes, and all the other activities! Most importantly, I learned a lot on social entrepreneurship, and will definitely continue to work in the field further on![/blockquote]It is evident that Erasmus+ projects like this really help youth grow professionally, keep them active, involve them in multi-cultural discussions, develop a number of skills and competences and create new partnerships across Europe. To achieve this, one must implement group exercises, games, quizzes, simulation activities, interactive / art-related workshops, outdoor / public activities, and other non-formal education methods. All of this was done in “More than Money: Social Entrepreneurship Heroes” project as well. Apart from that, a number of guest speakers have shared their knowledge on the topic. As a result, the youth exchange was a great success in terms of both experience gained and information learned, as well as satisfaction of the participants. This can be perfectly seen from the testimonials that the participating youth have left, as well as knowledge assessments done by every participant on the first and the last day of the exchange have shown an increase of 3.04 grade points on average in the knowledge of social entrepreneurship.
Of course, even though the action has finished, work still continues. Now, various videos and other material on social entrepreneurship produced during “More than Money: Social Entrepreneurship Heroes” will be continuously posted on the website of the project, social media, press and the participating youth organisations’ websites. The material shared has already gathered a lot of attention with a social reach of more than 20,000 young people, and will continue to make the youth across Europe more business-minded! Eventually, an e-booklet outlined during the project will be published, which will include information on how to both learn and teach social entrepreneurship.
Social entrepreneurship is the key to positive social change; however, in order to facilitate the creation of future social entrepreneurs, the youth must be made aware of the topic. Successful Erasmus+ projects such as “More than Money: Social Entrepreneurship Heroes” helps in this mission a lot, therefore we would very much like to see similar youth exchanges/training courses in the future.
P.S. if you’re interested to know more about social entrepreneurship, watch this Youtube video created during the youth exchange. In addition, you can find more about the possible social enterprise ideas HERE.