The development of entrepreneurial skills has become a priority in the policy agendas of many countries throughout Europe and beyond. Entrepreneurial skills are vital within the labor market and day-to-day tasks, even for those who are not classified as ‘entrepreneurs’ in the sense of creating a new business.
In July 2018, CEED Macedonia launched UPSHIFT, a one-year project financed by UNICEF. UPSHIFT is a program aimed at solving social problems by helping young people develop entrepreneurial skills, learn more about social entrepreneurship, and expand their networks.
The project is focused on developing business ideas into social enterprises. Through three-day social impact workshops, young people from 13-19 years old can develop their business ideas and win a grand prize of 2,000 EUR to implement them. The winners also receive 3 months of mentorship support in the implementation of their business idea.
The project successfully implemented 3 workshops with 123 participants. These participants developed 30 ideas designed to create a positive social impact on the community. In total roughly 200 teams applied for this program, 30 teams, 10 teams per workshop, were selected to participate the workshops to further develop their ideas. Ultimately, 15 teams, 5 per workshop, were selected as winners of the pitch presentation, and they were each awarded 2,000 EUR to implement their ideas and make an impact on society. A few of the winning projects aimed to address ecological issues, to improve nutrition and health, increase accessibility for people with disabilities, and to advance education and student learning outcomes.