About the project

Experienced executives encourage entrepreneurial spirit of young professionals

Young professionals who are starting their own business create new jobs not only for themselves, but potentially also for other people in the same age bracket. Striving to make a contribution to the reduction of youth unemployment in Europe, work scientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and economy educationalists at University Duisburg-Essen support this strategy. Experienced executives will nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of young professionals in Greece, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The joint project “Enterprise+ – Innovative Potential Meets Experience” is sponsored with 450,000 Euro by the EU programme “Erasmus+”, and it is conducted by Dr Martin Kröll, Institute of Work Science at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

Detecting and boosting potentials

The project targets young people between 15 and 25 years of age. The scientists cooperate with schools and job centres from all five participating countries. “We encourage the young professionals’ entrepreneurial competences by providing feedback discussions at an early stage. For the purpose of potential analysis, we deploy a tool from the Losleger project, which enables us to detect the young professionals’ strengths and render it visible,” says Prof Dr Thomas Retzmann from the Chair of Economics and Economic Education at University Duisburg-Essen. In addition, the young managers will receive a certificate that documents their results. A potential company founder can then submit that certificate to, for example, banks, venture-capital funds or public funding institutions to apply for start-up capital.

Old and young professionals are learning from each other

Experienced executives are at hand to provide help and advice to the young participants of “Enterprise+”. The executives are older than 55 years of age; some of them are still working, others are retired. They share their experience and their professional knowledge with the young professionals, thus helping them to recognise and develop their own entrepreneurial strengths. “We hope that this exchange between old and young professionals will result in profitable learning effects on both sides. Our objective is to have the partners in the participating countries initiate projects that will perpetuate that exchange,” says Martin Kröll. Based on the experiences gained during the project, self-learning modules will be developed in the individual countries.

International partners

The work scientists from Bochum are supported by partners from Germany, Greece, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary, and Bulgaria under the umbrella of the “Enterprise+” project. In Germany, the organisation “Alt hilft Jung NRW e.V.” and the Chair of Economics and Economic Education at University Duisburg-Essen contribute their expertise in potential analysis to the project. The Greek partners include the technology park of Crete, which is part of FORTH, the biggest research centre in Greece, and the consulting company „eniochos.CONSULTING“; in Spain, the European company centre for innovation and entrepreneurship supports the project. In both Hungary and Bulgaria, the respective Chamber of Industry and Commerce is likely to get on board, and in Lithuania it is the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK Baltische Staaten). In their evaluation of “Enterprise+”, the reviewers have first and foremost praised the inclusion of the participating countries as well as local development and realisation of measures.

Project description of Universität Duisburg-Essen