Young entrepreneurship and NEETs

Across Europe, the proportion of self-employed young people is highly correlated with the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET). This indicates that countries with high overall levels of NEETs, such as Italy, Greece, Romania and Spain, are also more likely to have high levels of youth self-employment.

Initiatives fostering youth entrepreneurship can have a lot of benefits on youth, but young entrepreneurs need different kind of support. The promotion of more entrepreneurial mindset, attitudes and culture, should be one of the most important strategies for Member States. Moreover, equipping young people with the right set of skills and promoting entrepreneurial education both in formal and informal channels is strictly connected to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and culture. Providing entrepreneurship education not only fosters youth entrepreneurship but is also a means to acquire technical and soft skills, attitudes and knowledge necessary to set up and run a business, such as creating a business plan, critical thinking, problem solving, self‑awareness, creativity, etc.

Another strategy for fostering entrepreneurial attitudes is the promotion and the improvement of the image of entrepreneurship. Promoting entrepreneurs as role models can be helpful because successful entrepreneurs are the best ambassadors for entrepreneurship. Their personal experience and image of independence, success and achievement can motivate young people to consider exploring the option of entrepreneurship and self‑employment.

Another challenge for youth is the lack of information, advice, coaching and mentoring. Young people looking to start a business are in need of support, advice and guidance, as well as mentoring and coaching to help them overcome knowledge gaps. The public employment service can play an important role in promoting entrepreneurship and in providing information, advice and coaching as well as NGOs and companies can support young people in this process.

For reducing the percentage of NEET in the community as well as preventing young people to follow in the category of NEET are needed strategies aimed to develop a participatory approach for enhancing creativity and innovation in education and training, in leisure activities and in working life; the creation of a positive entrepreneurial culture and climate of attitudes both nationally and regionally; and the promotion of business start‑ups, help build up businesses and support transfer of business to the next generation.

Young people facing the risk of social exclusion due to fewer opportunities and unemployment (NEETs) are the main group that SustaiNEET project is targetting and we believe that youth entrepreneurship can give them the opportunity to have a positive impact in their society and feel included.