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Learning, knowledge and innovation through regional European workshops

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In January 2019, new Youth Business International (YBI) member, Inner City Enterprise (ICE), hosted the penultimate workshop as part of our European programme focusing on Enhancing Youth Economic Opportunities through Entrepreneurship. Eleven YBI member organisations gathered in Dublin to discuss progress, update on their activities and highlight future plans for their support programmes.

As a network, YBI works with our member organisations to build impactful organisations through investing in learning, sharing knowledge and innovation. Youth Business Europe is a regional initiative in collaboration with Citi Foundation to support young people to start, grow and sustain their business. This partnership is one of Citi Foundation’s flagship EMEA programmes, and is part of its Pathways to Progress initiative, which works to prepare and equip urban youth with the tools to thrive in today’s economy. Workshops help to bring together the individual members and encourage cross-organisational collaboration and learning within the programme.

The Youth Business Europe initiative is made up of eleven YBI member organisations who work closely together and share knowledge, best practice and methodologies with the aim of tackling youth unemployment  and driving sustainable economic growth across Europe. Between 2017 and 2019, Youth Business Europe will equip 8,700 young people across eight countries in Europe with entrepreneurship skills and support 2,500 young people to start or grow a business.

Regular workshops form a central part of the Youth Business Europe programme. As well as members meeting with YBI to discuss progress, update on activities and discuss future plans, they are an opportunity for the European members to share best practices, learn from each other and collaborate on new ideas. These workshops have developed and enabled a strong community spirit across the member organisations.

As a newer member of the YBI network and of the Youth Business Europe programme, Irish organisation ICE is able to benefit from broadening their network to other like-minded organisations. ICE was originally established in 1991 and has built up a demonstrable track record in assisting unemployed people as they establish their own businesses or create their own self-employment. ICE offers a range of follow up services including workshops on sales, marketing, taxation and bookkeeping, as well as networking events and awards to celebrate clients’ achievements.

We spoke with the team to learn about their first Youth Business Europe workshop experience:

As Youth Business Europe’s newest member, what value do you get from the regional workshops?

The workshops are an opportunity to connect with like minded organisations from around Europe and to share best practice through peer learning. We can team build with European partners and learn intercultural skills and work practices in other European countries as well as raise ICE's profile on a European level. We are also able to discover new streams of funding opportunities and look at potential opportunities to collaborate.

What is the best thing about collaborating with other YBI members in this way?

We learn from each other and we can appropriate their strategies and apply them to our local context. We can be inspired by examples of best practice, particularly as other organisations are larger and have been YBI members longer, allowing us to brainstorm ideas together.

What did you take away or learn from the experience?

It reinforced our belief that we are on the right track with our Youth Entrepreneurship Programme. We are delighted to be YBI's member in Ireland and we discovered that there are great organisations in the network that we can learn from. We realised after the workshop that managing a strong working relationship with the local Citi office is key to supporting us in achieving positive outcomes in our partnership with YBI. And finally the workshop highlighted that mentoring is key to supporting young entrepreneurs to succeed.

We would absolutely recommend similar workshop events for other organisations looking to collaborate.

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