SOEN 2.0 aims at building strong local networks among youngsters, schools and businesses and supporting exchange of experiences and good practices on international. The program targets the youth in unprivileged regions of EU where they will be able to develop their entrepreneurship skills though school PBs, educational trainings, internship opportunities and mentoring program.
The project is a continuation of the PlaNET SOEN 1.0, an Erasmus + program coordinated by AGENTURA PRE ROZVOJ GEMERA and partnered by organisations in Slovenia and Romania which took place in 2016 and 2017. Based on the knowledge and intellectual outputs produced by it, the coordinating organization proposed the continuation of the project on a bigger scale.
The starting point of both projects was the lack of resources and opportunities for young people in most unprivileged regions of EU, such as Gemera in South Slovakia. High unemployment rate caused by the difficult situation on the local labour market leads to high rate of emigration of young people and of lack of possibilities for personal or professional development. The objective of the program was to address these problems by promoting entrepreneurship education and social entrepreneurship among young people in the rural areas where such programmes normally do not reach. By mapping out regions with similar problems across EU countries the program was set to create international network of local practitioners who use innovative educational technics.
The goal of SOEN 2.0 are:
1. To encourage active social entrepreneurship in school educational system through project development and participatory budget principles
2. To include young people in the region into the labor market by boosting their entrepreneurial skills (digital, managerial and language skills)
3. To build a strategic collaboration with regional authorities and entrepreneurs by developing social enterprise business idea and by implementing the idea with the support of the strategic collaboration.
4. Internationalization of youth work by exchanging good practice examples and by creating the network of young people and organizations with the same objective
5. Build transnational cross-sectorial network of social enterprises to promote innovation, exchange of experience and know-how between different types of organization.
SCHOOL PARTICIPATORY BUDGET WITH 3 LOCAL TRAININGS (Sept 2018 - June 2019, regional level)
-implementation of School participatory budget methodology in local schools from the partnership in each country
-3 local trainings for the students (personal profile - qualities and interests, local community needs, project development)
13 steps for implementation of School participatory budget:
- Decision to start School participatory budget in school.
- Establishing an initiative group in school.
- Non-formal workshops in all classes and with school staff.
- Information about School participatory budget available in school and
motivation of students to take part in School participatory budget.
- Preparation of regulations, etc. regarding School participatory budget.
- Students’ ideas collection and verification with regulations of School
- Project management workshops for teams.
- Presentation of student projects in front of the whole school, propagation.
- Winning ideas announcement and grants.
11.Support for winners.
- Projects implementation.
- Project financial accounting and project reporting.
LOCAL MENTORING AND INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME (Sept 2018 - June 2019, regional level)
-3 mentorship couples in each country (together 12)
-3 months mentorship, 5 days internship
-know-how, knowledge and skills for students; practical working experience in real business
INTERNATIONAL TRAININGS (Sept 2019 - June 2020)
-3 expert trainings in different country
-finance, marketing, Innovation & Sustainability
-participants: youth workers, teachers, students
The first objective of the project was to introduce school PB program in schools of each partner's country. The first step was recruiting the students groups consisting of 15 students each which than took part in series of 3 workshops / trainings where students learned how to get to know their qualities, how to analyse the needs of the local community in their school and thus develop their prosocial and pro-community project. Big part of specifying the projects, besides setting the main goals and the target groups was the financial budgeting and the promotion of their project. Based on the results of the voting three projects will be implemented by each of the school’s communities.
Examples of the winning projects:
- The goal of the Voyage Soiree project is to bring other cultures to students and by savvy presentations from the travellers and by demonstrations of diverse cultures increase students´ motivation to travel and to discover other, new cultures.
- The People of Other Country project is focused on education, bringing information about the causes and consequences of migration, the real face of migration, especially through genuine personal contact and discussion with the migrants.
- The Fashion Passion project aims to raise awareness of so-called “fast fashion” and its impact. The project will be implemented through workshops to support students’ creativity and by creation of their own, recycled clothing and fashion accessories.
- The Shower Project is aimed to improve and upgrade common spaces in the school used for personal hygiene, which are now requiring modernization.
- The New School Yard is a project that aims to create a new relaxation zone from a vacant and little-used outdoor common area that students will use during lesson breaks or after school.
- The Activities Project is a project to stimulate year-round student activities to liven up the school community and simultaneously raise funds to equip the school new outdoor relaxation area.
- Starting a school newspaper (online and printed version), combined with journalism workshops.
- Steps for first aid, stickers on staircase with first aid instructions and first aid workshops.
- Cosplay, an event in which participants wear costumes to represent a specific character from movies, with dancing and contests.
- Lectures on mini-companies, by academic teachers and practitioners.
Ways of engaging young people
All students who had submitted their projects to the School Participatory budget could take part in mentorship and develop their project, so it could be presented and later voted for by students from their own school. Three students, with the best motivation for pursuing a mentorship, had become a part of the 5–day internship and really experience the work environment of local companies or NGOs.
The goal of the mentorship and internship program was to enable the professional businesspeople and activists to help and teach students how to ensure the smooth running of their project. Students took active role in the implementation process and thus connect the world of school with the world of labour market.
For example, the student’s winning project in the school in Forave reached out to get external funding from partner companies. This way, besides the budget from SPB, Forave students received some additional construction materials, that made their final project results even more visible and detailed. As the winning projects included renovating the shower rooms in the school gym and creating the outside relaxing zone recycled materials that was given by partner companies were able to even more than it was planned originally.
Examples of local business partnerships created in Poland:
- The Energy Science Centre (Energetyczne Centrum Nauki) – a science center in Kielce – The science center consists of: Energy exhibition, “Power Generator” lab, 3D cinema, Energy Garden. The science center can be explored by individuals and groups. Various workshops both for children and adults are offered.
- SimpleOutsourcing.pl – an outsourcing company based in Kielce. The company is an owner of a student recruitment brand – eduABROAD Programme. Under this brand, the company provides professional student recruitment services for universities from several European countries and these services are tailored to their individual requirements.
- Kielce Technology Park (Kielecki Park Technologiczny) – offers a modern and professionally prepared infrastructure and fully developed investment areas covered by the operation of the Special Economic Zone. It consists of a Cluster of Technological Incubators and a Technology Center.
Role of young people
- Managers to deliver the process
Positive aspects of the project/process
A participatory budget in schools helps to involve students, parents and teachers in deciding, which school project and improvements will be funded from part of the school budget. The School Participatory Budget is therefore a kind of simulation for the development of socially oriented business ideas for students. The aim is to support active social entrepreneurship in the school education system and to further inspire students and young people to develop small projects (in the future businesses) and to actively participate in their school / society. Some of schools asked external stakeholders to support the project and they are finalizing the participatory budget also with their donations. This aspect will connect local community even more and involve to the process more interested groups which can strengthen the community more and support participative aspect of the project.
During 19-23 of October 2019 a non-formal education training on the topic “Financial structure” was held in Viana do Castelo, Portugal where students, teachers and youth workers from partner countries. The agenda of these intense 5 days was focused on such issues as: idea development, project life-cycle, project management, financial structure and budget of a project, time and resources management. All those topics were delivered using non-formal methods, including simulations, group work, presentations and games.
This non-formal education training was focused also on developing communication and presentations skills of the participants.
The students, with support from a teacher and a youth worker, will organize a one day non-formal education workshops for other students and teachers in their local school, to multiply the learning outcomes of the international training.
Each student from the winning project had a personal mentor paired from the local company. During the period of the internship students had been assigned company’s tasks related to their interests. Mentors acted as advisers, consultants and supervisors for the students. Students could get practical skills from real business and develop entrepreneurship behaviour.
Main obstacles to the project/process
The project’s biggest obstacle was the rise of the pandemic that started this year. As the project works with schools and students part of it had to be suspended temporarily. Due to the international nature of the project its budget, its schedule and its outcomes had to be changed.
Accountability of resources
The program was financed by the Erasmus + Funds
Reaching for the external funding and sponsorship
Part of the funds was allocated by the Parents Committee