Report from YE Entrepreneurial Knowledgebase

CEUD hosted Entrepreneurial Knowledgebase youth exchange, a second mobility activity in the Erasmus+ project, from 19-27 October 2016 in Mali Idjos, Serbia. It brought together youth from 8 countries.

First working day started light with ice-breaking and getting-to-know each other games. We discussed about the agenda and the expectations from the week. This was very important because for many youth that came here, this was the first mobility experience. They didn’t know what exactly to expect and how they will get along and communicate with the peers from other countries. The afternoon session was dedicated to getting to know the surroundings. We were in the village Mali Idjos (hung. Kishegyes) with the majority of population Hungarian, yet we were in Serbia. The place was specially selected for this because it was an example of peaceful life of people with different nationality. We worked divided in nationally mixed groups and had to solve tasks which exercised our creativity, initiative, communication and social skills. Then each group presented their findings. Already after this activity, youth felt more at ease and first friendships started to grow.  Then we had first reflection group time. This became our routine till the end of the exchange. Evening was dedicated to team building game and further development of the group dynamics.

On the second working day we share about our countries realities in terms of youth (un)employment and entrepreneurship. Each national group gave a presentation which was rounded by the discussion and final conclusions on similarity or differences of challenges that young people face in each of our countries when they want to start own business. In the afternoon we engaged into imagining our future. Our goal was to imagine what we would like to do and what competences we’d need to have in order to achieve it. Then we learnt about the Youthpass and 8 Key competences. This concept became our basis for the reflection groups and keeping our diaries of learning accomplishments. In the evening, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin delegation had the task to share a bit of their culture, history and traditions. We tasted specialties from each country.

Third day was dedicated to different entrepreneurial ideas. We had the chance to attend Bread Workshop, led by Wovenchef. Vojislav, our entrepreneur, shared with us how he started his realizing his passion toward bread to a small entrepreneurial endeavor.  We got our hands busy, mixed flour, salt, yeast and water, followed the instructions and created magic. Each of us made a bread. The sense of achievement and the fact that it was result of our work made us exhilarating. We also had the task to come up with recipes of national dishes for a food blog. The goal behind these activities was to show young people that entrepreneurship is not just a buzz word and something intangible. It’s not just a IT-start up but any idea, such as bread making, food blog to present national dishes or a sports skills, could be a basis for starting own business. We explored the EU opportunities that can help young people gain skills and competences to develop own business, such as Erasmus for young Entrepreneurs. The intercultural part of the day consisted of visiting the Bread Museum and tour through how once people lived and earned a living.  After the reflection time, we enjoyed the cultural presentations and food of Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria.

On the fourth day we went further with exploring the topic of entrepreneurship. We were supposed to map skills that someone should possess to be a successful entrepreneur. It built on the activity imaging our future from the second day. Then we discussed about entrepreneurship as a concept. We came up with our own definitions. It requested from us to use the knowledge we already have, to question, confront our opinions with others in the team, to summarize and express concisely. We connected it with the 8 Key competences. In the afternoon we had the crafts workshop. We worked in different themes, depending on what interested us. One team worked on creating objects from faux leather, the other did decoupage of flower pots, the third turned old jars into fashionable candle holders, the fourth made objects of old paper and cardboard, the fifth painted. This was true creativity exercising activity. The usual reflection followed and then we tried Italian pasta and listened about Puglia region and tasted Turkish sweets and culture and history brought to us by the Turkish delegation.

On the fifth day we left the village and went to visit Youth Office Novi Sad. At the time of our stay Novi Sad, the capital of the region, was declared the European Youth Capital 2019 and European Culture Capital 2021. We had the reception at the Youth Office where in a friendly atmosphere we heard about youth policy, opportunities for youth in Novi Sad, the university city and compared to how youth policy is organised in our countries. In the afternoon we were given the tasks to explore Novi Sad through different prism: entrepreneurial, music, culture and youth. It resulted in the videos: Music cityCulture city, Entrepreneurial city and Culture city. The activity improved our intercultural, communication and digital skills. We spent some free time enjoying the view to the river Danube from the Petrovaradin Fortress.

On the sixth working day we were visited by the representatives of the Municipality Mali Idjos and the Local economic development office. They talked about the life of youth in the village,economy of the village, what kind of support they offer to young people who would like to stay there, subsidies to starting new business etc. We also gave them proposals for improvement of life there and ideas how to attract more entrepreneurs. In the afternoon session we exchange on the topic of business plan making and we chose business model canvas as a means to develop our group project ideas. We started working on it. In the evening we organised Karaoke night.

The last day before our departure we continued developing our business ideas and presented them to the other groups. This was the opportunity to exchange ideas, suggest and help other teams as well as to receive suggestions from the others. Apart from economic logic, this activity fostered solidarity. Even tough the competition on the market is strong, helping others thrive enriches us personally and professionally. Teams are always stronger than an individual. We had the last evaluation and worked on finishing our Youthpass certificates. After that each had a mutual dialogue with the group leader and the project coordinator. The farewell party was organised in the Pre-Halloween spirit. So participants disguised so well that they could consider make-up art for an entrepreneurial idea.

This was an enriching experience that helped us gain new skills, knowledge, work in  international teams, explore cultural diversity and exercise creativity, initiative and entrepreneurial spirit.