Empowering Europe’s Youth through Cross-Sector Partnerships

Over the past four years, more than 1,000 young people across Europe have participated in Entrepreneurship Schools hosted together by leading think-tank ThinkYoung and The Coca-Cola Foundation.  Having helped enable more than 50 start-ups created by program participants, the organizations recently hosted a debate in Brussels on the importance of cross-sector collaboration in supporting Europe’s youth.

The discussion aimed to explore key challenges and opportunities in youth entrepreneurship and employment, a shared priority for Coca-Cola system and many organizations spanning the private sector, government and civil society.  Demonstrating the importance of collaboration across all sectors, speakers including Member of European Parliament Eva Kaili, representatives from the European Commission, leading consultancy Good Business and entrepreneurs who participated in the program.

Reflecting on a growing entrepreneurial drive in Europe, ThinkYoung Founder Andrea Gerosa commented, “we see many young people who now want to be considered as entrepreneurs, and who are proud of it. This is extremely positive”.  While reflecting on the importance of experimentation, MEP Eva Kaili highlighted that for many “failure is part of the process to succeed.  If you spot a problem to which there is no solution, then see if you can create one.”  Simone Baldarrassi, policy officer at the European Commission highlighted the collective responsibility, saying, “we all have a shared responsibility to help people develop their entrepreneurial skills to be successful.”

While the average figure for youth unemployment lies at around 17%, this reaches more than 35% of young people in Southern European countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain.  Based on its extensive work in this field, ThinkYoung published a report that captures lessons in education, entrepreneurship and empowerment.  The report explores the important link and smoothing a transition between education and employment and identifies key points to support European Youth Empowerment including promoting cross-sector collaboration, encouraging careers in STEM sectors and ensuring the creation of well-paid jobs continues to be a top priority.

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