Despite political measures and efforts, we are still not able to confirm the termination of the euro crisis with Southern European counties facing years of low growth. According to ILO (2014), younger age groups suffered most from the crisis.
Employment in Greece, Ireland and Portugal as a whole declined by 1.6 million between 2007 and 2012, but 75 per cent of this reduction, i.e. 1.2 million jobs, was concentrated among younger people. In Italy, young adults faced a sharper decline in their employment-to-population ratio than youth. Turkey recorded a rise in unemployment in 2013 for the first time after a period of rapid decline from 2009. One potential way of integrating young people into the labour market is to increase youth entrepreneurship (2013, OECD). OECD (2015)’s most recent reports point out that people under 25 have relatively low self-employment rates: around 4.4% and 7.2% on average for women and men respectively in the OECD countries. Increasing self-employment rates in the youth population can form an important policy target to address high youth unemployment. As some researches demonstrate, businesses run by young entrepreneurs have lower survival rates than those of older entrepreneurs (van Praag, 2003); however, young people’s businesses that do survive have more growth potential than those of older entrepreneurs on average. Therefore, investing on young entrepreneurs would have a greater reward.
SPARK therefore, will ensure that selected potential yonug entrepreneurs from each partner country, will have an opportunıty of experiencing internship with successful entrepreneur’s business. We will also develop a simulation of a start-up company and make it available on the internet to everyone who wants to benefit from it.
We understand that young people typically lack human, financial and social capital necessary both to set up and successfully run a new business. With SPARK we will train our potential young entrepreneur group on various areas from access to finance to innovation through online-training which will be facilitated by regular mentorship sessions. As part of their training, they will be required to prepare and present their business plans with which they will be able to apply to our project’s competition. The successful candidates will be selected by a jury of independent advisors and will be awarded with an internship opportunity abroad based on their sectors where they can experience how an enterprise is run.