On March 2 2023, EARLALL organised the YESFestival! – the final conference to mark the end of the Youth Entrepreneurial Spirit (YES) Specialists project. The project lasted for two years and focused on youth entrepreneurship in rural areas. It was coordinated by Vestland County Council (Norway) and co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The project partners are the Tuscany Region (Italy), the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy), Varaždin County (Croatia), Ringkøbing Skjern Municipality (Denmark), and the Principality of Asturias (Spain), as well as the European Association of Regions and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL).
The YESFestival! was held in a hybrid event at the European Representation of Tyrol-South-Tyrol and Trentino, and welcomed over 40 people to learn about the project’s results that are aimed at creating local youth entrepreneurial ecosystems. The event was kicked off with a video keynote speech from David Pejić, a Young entrepreneur, owner of the oldest organic farm in Croatia and winner of the ‘Best male organic farmer 2022‘ by the European Commission’s organic awards. The address was followed by a keynote speech from Larry Moffett of JEUNE – the Young Entrepreneurs Organizations of the European Union. Mr Moffett highlighted the importance of trust and paying it forward as key components of entrepreneurship ecosystems. Moreover, he highlighted how important mentorship is to young people.
The project partners then presented the three intellectual outputs of the project: a repository of best practices of youth entrepreneurship in Europe; a toolkit and piloting handbook and a guide for setting up a local entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe. Project coordinator, Barbara Harterink, underlined the importance in the future of the EntreComp framework to continue the work of the YESpecialists at the regional level. The event concluded with a roundtable on ‘creating and sustaining youth entrepreneurship in Europe’, welcoming:
The panellists discussed the key challenges and opportunities they faced creating youth entrepreneurship, including engaging the key actors in both formal and non-formal education; raising awareness of the pathways for entrepreneurship; ensuring mentorship and recognition of young peoples’ work and the changing demands of agricultural and rural settings for young people.
The conference was an opportunity to showcase the work of the young participants involved and offered an opportunity for project partners to showcase the work with their local ecosystems.