‘Entrepreneurially Into the World of Business’ operated between 2009 and 2014. It aimed to address high unemployment rates among young people (under 35 years old) with an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The scheme was designed to help selected participants to identify and exploit a business opportunity and to start their own business, or to find employment, within a year.
Youth in Slovenia faced challenges in securing good-quality employment. Although state resources were invested in education, prolonged unemployment harms the long-term social and economic prospects of young people and can force them into various forms of precarious work. The reasons for experiencing difficulties in the labour market participation include the lack of work experience, the imbalance between educational supply and demand in the job market, the dominance of short-term or sporadic employment offers, and the shortage of new jobs.
Implemented nationally in 2013 and 2014, the project provided a salary allowance for four months, funded by Regional Development Agencies. Participants underwent an intensive training programme that focused on entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, accounting and financial management Participants were also able to receive coaching and mentoring to support the development of their business idea. At the end of the programme, participants could benefit from consultancy and advisory services for another year after start-up.
To be eligible for support, participants had to be: (i) registered job seekers; (ii) under 35 years old; (iii) college or university graduates; (iv) have a business idea; and (v) have a permanent place of residence in their region where they sought support. Selected participants were hired by the regional development agencies as public servants on a minimum-salary, full-time contract (EUR 789 per month in 2014) for the duration of the training programme. The programme was led by trained agency staff and external mentors, including successful local entrepreneurs.
The training programme was built around group work and individual coaching was introduced progressively. The agencies invited local entrepreneurs and specialists to deliver some of the training modules and to share their experiences.
During the period 2009-12, 97 unemployed young people in Zasavje region applied to participate in the pilot project. Out of 40 participants, an estimated 10 created a business and 10 found a job. Following the first and second nation-wide calls in 2013, 1 246 unemployed young people applied for the scheme. Out of 250 selected to participate, 134 (62.8%) found employment or started a businesses. In 2014, the scheme launched three more calls for applications, generating 360 participants with 60% of them finding employment or starting a business.
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