Exploring youth social entrepreneurship across Europe
The social economy across Europe is continuously getting stronger with an increasing number of organisations, entrepreneurs and enterprises developing solutions to our social and environmental challenges. Being able to see some of these initiatives first-hand has proven very beneficial to be able to contribute to national strategies, to share learnings and to be inspired. SE Forum has, as part of the Erasmus+ funded projekt LOCAL-Y-MPACT ‘Enhancing youth capacity in municipalities and encouraging mutual cooperation using social entrepreneurship as a tool’, participated in two study trips this autumn: one in Talsi, Latvia and one in Braga, Portugal.
In September, we took part in an experience exchange on needs and challenges for cooperation between municipalities and youth organisations and social enterprises. 20 representatives from municipalities and regions in Sweden, Portugal, Cyprus, Lithuania and Latvia came together in Talsi, Latvia to share experiences and ideas of youth involvement, social entrepreneurship and municipality cooperation.
We were thrilled to be joined on this trip by our Swedish partner Region Dalarna as well as Falun municipality, to take part in the discussions and experience exchange to showcase how the Dalarna region in the middle of Sweden works with social entrepreneurship.
The trip to Talsi gave us an opportunity to visit municipality and local community-based organisations and social enterprises with a focus on youth development and education as well as children and young people with disabilities.
In November, SE Forum and a group of young social entrepreneurs from our partner region Dalarna joined the international delegation of young entrepreneurs and people working with youth in Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia and Portugal on a trip to Braga in northern Portugal. Together we explored different ways to enhance youth capacity in cooperation with municipalities through teamwork and group reflections and we brainstormed insights for further developments of our project results focusing on partnerships between municipalities and youth organisations and social enterprises.
To better understand the local context of municipality cooperation in and around Braga we met with local non-profits and social enterprises focusing on youth work and involvement, community engagement, and support for children and young people with cerebral palsy.
Outcomes and learnings
Both these trips have given us great experiences, inspiration and stories with new ideas for future work in regards to social entrepreneurship, youth involvement as well as municipality cooperation. It’s been a great experience also learning from our partners Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, Geri Norai (Lithuania), Synthesis (Cyprus) and Conexão Jovem (Portugal), sharing learnings and insights on strengthening social innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.
We’ve also very much appreciated the passion, interest and positive attitude from our partner Region Dalarna as well as the fantastic young entrepreneurs and people involved in youth entrepreneurship in the region. It’s been great to share the international experience with them and explore ways to improve social entrepreneurship amongst young people in Dalarna and we’re very much looking forward to continuing this project with them during 2023.