The “Yes, I Start-up” initiative was launched in 2018 as part of the Youth Guarantee programme. It is managed by ANPAL (National Agency for Active Labour Market Policy) and implemented by EMN (National Body for Microcredit). The initiative aims to provide youth who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) with the skills needed to start and manage a business. Those who complete the programme can then potentially access the “SELFIEmployment Fund”, which is the Youth Guarantee financial instrument managed by Invitalia (Agency for enterprise development).
Entrepreneurship offers a potential route into work for some youth. This has been a policy priority since the financial crisis in 2008-09, when youth unemployment increased dramatically relative to most EU Member States. Activating youth can help reduce the long-term and inter-generational scarring effects.
The initiative offers an entrepreneurship training course that was developed by EMN and Invitalia. It is divided into 15 modules that aim to help participants define their business idea and develop a business plan that meets the evaluation criteria of the SELFIEemployment Fund.
The training takes 80 hours to complete, including 60 hours of in-person training and 20 hours of e-learning. Courses are delivered to small groups of up to 12 people. Successful participants should then be able to access the “SELFIEmployment Fund,” which provides zero interest rate loans of EUR 5 000 to EUR 50 000. No collateral or guarantee is needed.
The delivery of the training has been adjusted during the COVID-19 pandemic. All classroom sessions have been moved online and no noticeable drop in the quality of the training has been indicated by participants. Moreover, the initiative noted many benefits to online training, including improved access to training (e.g. for those in rural areas) and higher quality monitoring of activities and participants.
Since starting in 2018, more than 1 300 NEETs have started the course and about 1 250 have completed it. The Yes I start up model has already been replicated in Calabria as “Yes I Start Up Calabria,” which started in October 2018. It has provided training to more than 600 NEETs and more than 280 companies by been funded.
More broadly, data from the SELFIEmployment Fund show that 1 369 enterprises have received
EUR 44.7 million. This has led to the creation of 2 451 new jobs.
This case study was developed from materials presented in an OECD webinar in April 2020: https://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/OECD_Webinar_Youth_Entrepreneurship_Policy...