The social economy (SE) is a growing reality in the economy and territory of the EU. It comprises 2.8 million enterprises and organisations in different forms – including cooperatives, mutual, social enterprises, associations and foundations – engaged in economic activity, representing 8% of GDP in the EU and 13.6 million workers, or 6% of employees in Europe.
From very small enterprises (VSEs) and SMEs to large groups, social economy entities operate in every sphere of activity. Given its importance and the breadth of its activities, the SE is a primary driver of innovative and enduring economic growth in Europe that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. However, the main problem is that 50% of the newly born social enterprises survived less than three years; thus, many jobs continue to disappear across Europe. Additionally, youth unemployment has been on the rise in Europe due to the pandemic crisis and there is a lack of knowledge, research, and necessary tools to help this transition in the youth sector.
Social Enterprises’ sustainability/scalability is an ongoing challenge with several conflicts regarding the ideal formula toward this objective. Since this business model is expected to become an integral part of the economy of Europe in the subsequent years, the EMPOWER project aims at fostering sustainability and scalability of new and existing social enterprises and supporting young entrepreneurs through the development of new learning partnerships between the world of work and the world of youth provision.
The project’s objectives are to:
1. Build the capacity of front-line youth workers;
2. Support social enterprises owners, SMEs owners and young entrepreneurs;
3. Improve the digital entrepreneurship competences of young entrepreneurs and young people;
4. Develop a broad set of knowledge, skills, attitudes tailored to the needs of young people and young entrepreneurs to take the initiative and create healthy social enterprises;
5. Enhance synergies and complementarities among key stakeholders and the labour market.
The project outcomes will be valuable tools and resources as they aspire to offer tools for youth workers/trainers to develop alternative ways of learning for young people and young entrepreneurs.
Four project results will be developed: