The Spanish Federation of Young Entrepreneur Associations (CEAJE) is an independent, non-profit organisation of all Spanish entrepreneurs under 41 years of age, created in 1991. It was created by a group of one hundred businessmen who launched the Madrid Association of Young Entrepreneurs in 1984, which then grew into CEAJE. Today, CEAJE brings together more than 18 500 young entrepreneurs spread over 55 associations throughout Spain. Among CEAJE’s objectives, the most relevant for youth entrepreneurship are: (i) to motivate, guide, empower and channel business initiatives; (ii) to promote entrepreneurial culture; (iii) to meet the needs of information, training, consultancy, research and development of member associations and, through them, those of the individual business associates; and (iv) to facilitate the improvement of its members’ competitiveness.
Although the unemployment rate declined in recent years to 16.4% in 2017, youth unemployment remains high with 36.8%. Youth also suffer from relatively high school-dropout rates and high NEET rates (i.e. a high proportion of youth who are not in employment, education or training). Few youth entrepreneurs in Spain expect to create a substantial number of jobs from their newly founded businesses. Many entrepreneurship policy actions have been implemented in recent years, with a focus on youth. These actions have been designed and implemented under the guidance of employment strategies and objectives.
CEAJE collaborates with ENISA (a public company, attached to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism) to help young innovative entrepreneurs fund their projects though participative loans. It has also developed a platform – AJEImpulsa – designed to foster the entrepreneurial process, aimed at the development and realisation of entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the Emprende XL Social Network (INJUVE). AJEImpulsa provides online support customised for each initiative, available through a simple registration process. Through this, young applicants may access the different services with the assistance of a technical advisor. Additionally, users have permanent access to a team of expert tutors in various areas of business management, which will inform, guide and train them throughout the process to get their business consolidated. Since 2001, CEAJE awards annually the National Young Entrepreneur Award to entrepreneurs under 40 years of age. There is no monetary prize but it involves a considerable media impact.
In 2017, CEAJE brings together more than 18 500 young entrepreneurs spread over 55 associations throughout Spain. As the highest representative body of young entrepreneurs, it has as its main priority improving the environment in which their businesses are created and developed, helping to promote stability, competitiveness, innovation and internationalisation, thus helping ensure its survival.
This case study was adapted from material published in: OECD/EU (2016), Inclusive Business Creation: Good Practice Compendium, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264251496-en