Past 27 September took place the second edition of the YES Conference (Youth Entrepreneurial Spirit), an event organised by Tuscany Region and EARLALLRegional policy officers; EU representatives (European Commission, European Committee of the Regions); members of NGOs and international associations; the business sector; and, most important, young people discussed about how to boost young entrepreneurship in rural areas. 

The conference was introduced by Mariachiara Esposito, Policy Advisor at Tuscany Region Liaison Office to the EU, and Robin Saluoks, CEO of eAgronomRobin highlighted that the most important things in entrepreneurship are i) knowing how to create a company, ii) openly approaching clients, to collect feedback, and iii) cooperating with university to improve your know-how. Afterwards, Bruno Cortese, Desk Officer at DG EMPL, introduced the SELFIemployment fund a country-specific initiative that finances investment plans between €5,000 and €50,000 by means of microcredits, extended microcredits and small loans.

Two panels followed, providing a space for exchange and discussion. The first one dealt with XXIst century challenges as a window of opportunity for young entrepreneurial spirit in rural areas.

The second panel tackled the various ways of understanding entrepreneurship and provided regional examples of entrepreneurial innovation. Esteban Pelayo, Director at EURADA, introduced innovative projects for rural development in Croatia, Finland and the UK (Scotland). The PISMO business incubator for the gaming industry is under development in Novska (13,500 inhabitants). By arranging and equipping business infrastructure and creating a favourable entrepreneurial climate, the objective is to encourage start-ups, strengthen the existing entrepreneurs and support institutions for entrepreneurs. On another note, the Kaajani University of Applied Sciences is developing a project to study the job-based skills required in current times and to prepare course modules accordingly: Digital & Work-based Learning (DWBL) to Boost Employment Opportunities, funded by the ESF. And last but not least, the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency has been created to support an inclusive regional economic growth.

The YES initiative will continue growing within EARLALL’s Working Group on Youth Policies during next year. Participants welcomed the idea of a third edition of the YES Conference for 2020, and a joint project is under development phase within EARLALL regions to train their staff and introduce new ideas of promoting youth entrepreneurship.

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