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Unlocking the potential of young people for business and social innovation in the Danube Region (NewGenerationSkills) December 2018

First Training Sessions in the Sofia Innovation Lab

The first of the planned training sessions was held with students and people from different professions at the Sofia Innovation Lab.

On December 4, 2018, students from the 8th grade of the First Secondary School “Pencho P. Slaveykov” were guests of the laboratory. The students participated in training session in social entrepreneurship. Nadia Zdravkova - Loveguide and Yuri Valkovski - Reach for Change - Bulgaria came to share their experience. "We want to learn more about the various professions in order to make a choice," said the young people when we invited them along to think about the next events in the lab.

The meeting was organized in the framework of the project: "Unlocking the potential of young people for business and social innovation in the Danube Region” (NewGenerationSkills), which aims to develop entrepreneurial culture, initiative and entrepreneurship among young people aged 16-29. The project is implemented within the EU Danube 2014-2020 Programme, in close cooperation between 12 partners from 7 European countries - Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.

Students and lecturers discussed the concept of social entrepreneurship or how to develop an innovative business idea to help resolving social problems. What do we mean by ‘social entrepreneur’? People who start their own business to solve a social problem.

Various examples of start-up social initiatives from all over Bulgaria were presented, related to: support for mothers of children with disabilities; access to sport for children with special needs; mentoring programs and first job for children from institutions; adapted music education programs for visually impaired children and youth, etc.

In the coming months, the Sofia Innovation Lab is planning within the project a series of informal educational initiatives for young people. They will be dedicated on a variety of topics to build key competences and support youth entrepreneurship. It is important to create opportunities for school and university students to generate and implement their ideas. Through dialogue between successful and future entrepreneurs, young people get knowledge and draw experience that is important for their development.

At least six events are planned with young people in order to acquire competencies and practical skills in socially significant topics.