Living Lab organized by VC, Portugal:

Three different Living Labs were organized and took place on different days – June 6, 20 and 30. All events took place online and were attended by various representatives of stakeholders: youth organizations, VET schools and regional organizations related to rural development and agriculture. The events started with an opening part and an informal presentation and debate, among all, about the activities of the stakeholders, their experience with the topics addressed by DigiRUR and their participation in similar initiatives and projects. This first moment was followed by a presentation of the project and clarification of the conditions of cooperation (the activities and events in which the stakeholders will participate, their responsibilities, etc.), according to a Memorandum of Understanding (which the participants signed and sent later on email).

After that, a debate on youth entrepreneurship in rural areas and its opportunities and shortcomings was held on the questions previously prepared and included in the questionnaire created by the partnership. The multiple perspectives covered by the large number of participants was very useful as we were able to hear the views of persons already very familiar with young people and youth entrepreneurship (GeoClube), professionals working in rural development and activities of regional level (Central and Northern Regional Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries) and of vocational training schools, themselves also embedded in more rural areas or counted with a significant percentage of students coming from these rural environments (Escola Profissional da Campanhã and Escola Profissional de Carvalhais).

The MoU in Portugal was signed by 3 regional rural development agencies and 1 VET provider.

The main conclusions after the discussions in all partner countries were:

  • Young people should see role models – successful entrepreneurs who came from the same environment as them. In addition, the family environment is very important. Young people whose parents/relatives are entrepreneurs have an additional incentive to start a business. If they live among entrepreneurs, they will probably end up being entrepreneurs too.
  • Encouraging many trips abroad so that young people can get to know other experiences, good practices and ideas.
  • Teaching young entrepreneurs to focus on soft skills, – negotiation, critical thinking, resilience, this is everything behind knowing how to create your own business.
  • Digitization enables young people to learn online. But the problem is that the villages do not have optical connections to ensure that young people can get a digital education.
  • Creation of municipal councils for the promotion of (youth) entrepreneurship in the municipalities, in which representatives of relevant municipal directorates, municipal councilors, representatives of educational institutions (schools, universities), of local business organizations, student councils, as well as recognizable and socially engaged young entrepreneurs;
  • Competitions for young entrepreneurs by municipalities, as they most fully reflect local characteristics and opportunities for starting a business
  • Initiation of local mentoring programs with people from practice for students and high school students in order to stimulate entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial activity;

On this basis, the following project results will be developed. In the month of July, the International event will be held, where the participants in the Rural entrepreneur ecosystem will be determined and a Memorandum of Understanding and future cooperation will be signed.

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Project Number: 2021-1-BG01-KA220-YOU-000029589