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Second Regional Forum on Youth Entrepreneurship was held in Albania

The 2nd Regional Forum on Youth Entrepreneurship was held in Albania from the 19nth until 21st of November, 2018 in Albanian Star Hotel in Durres, Albania.

The main aim of the Forum was to present the two Regional reports: “Development and Promotion of Lifelong Entrepreneurial Learning” and the “Enabling Environment for Youth Entrepreneurship” in the Western Balkans region, elaborate policy recommendations for improving these areas with the input and contribution of the 75 representatives who were part of the event. The reports were created as a product of constructive dialogue among all relevant actors in the field within the National Youth Employment Forums, which were held in all countries of the Western Balkans involved in the project, respectively Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

As well this forum aimed to strengthen the cooperation of relevant public institutions and civil society organizations in the region by creating a platform of dialogue and common commitment to improve policy dialogue and entrepreneurship policy making, in order to provide our young people in the region with a more inclusive, supportive and enabling environment.

During the opening of the event the guest were also introduced with the one stop shop service that the project shall launch in December, the WEB4JOBS digital platform for employment and mobility in the region. The platform is a uniqueproduct which for the first time introduces the job seeking, training, employment, education and mobility services in one place and for the whole Western Balkans region.

The opening of the event was addressed by a panel of 5 speakers. Mrs Ana Mullanji the Executive Director of Beyond Barriers besides welcoming the attendees, said that youth entrepreneurship is an essential step to create opportunities for young people in our region and highlighted that the governments, private sector, non-profit organizations, media and other organizations need to strongly cooperate to empower the young people.

Mrs. Silva Banushi- Director of Employment Policies and VET at Ministry of Economy and Finances in Albania during her speech emphasized the role of youth employment strategies and programs in the country, where she also explained for the guest the actual steps that government has taken in recent years to improve the field. Mrs. Banushi stated that: “Statistical data in Albania shows a growth of professional education request in the recent years. The priority of the Albanian government is the employment of young people and the national strategies are aligned with the European policy vision, focusing on employment and professional education. Private sector is a very important partner in this aspect. In 2017-2018 the demand for professional education and training has increased by 26% more than general education demand. The demand has been greater for tourism as well as information technology and electronics.

Further Mr. Fatos Mustafa, Deputy General Secretary of Regional Youth Cooperation Office addressed the guests by emphasizing the importance of youth work, youth policy and education in the region and the mission of RYCO to support the mobility and education of the young generation in our region. Mr. Mustafa said that “the states of WB should not compete with one another, but rather cooperate and support each other. Many young people are leaving the region and we need to find a way to attract these young people and to encourage cooperation between them.”

On the regional cooperation aspect a statement was also given by Mr. Gjergj Murra the Executive Director of Western Balkan Fund. Mr. Murra addressed the guests with explain briefly what WBF is, what is its mission in the region and further stated that the region needs more mobility than connectivity.

After the panel speakers, Mr. Milorad Bjeletic, Executive Director of Belgrade Open School took the stage to introduce Web4Yes project and to present the Key Policy Issue in WB region Related to youth Employability and Employment. Mr Bjeletic ephasised that “Web4Yes team has successfully created a platform for dialogue among CSOs and public authorities in charge for youth employment policies, both at the national and regional level. As a result of the policy dialogue we have managed to develop 2 policy briefs so far through extensive consultation process involving key stakeholders from each project country. National reports provided the input for dialogue at the national level through national fora, and the results of that national dialogue were later on consulted at the level of the regional fora. Our researchers afterwards integrated all inputs into two regional policy briefs: 1. Youth Employability- Key Policy Challenges in the Western Balkan and 2. Active Labor Market Measures for Youth Employment – Key Policy Challenges in the Western Balkans".

Last speaker of the day was Mr. Valmir Xhemajli from LENS, who introduced the Fora with the regional digital platform WEB4JOBS, developed as a new service and product of the project. Web4jobs is a regional online platform that is dedicated to unemployed youth from Western Balkan. This platform aims to provide national e-services as a first beginning and also to promote youth employment and mobility in the region. Project partners have conduced researches about the availability of information and found nearly 300 different websites with resources for unemployed youth. What we learned is that we have abundance of resources, and no single online platform aiming to aggregate all this available information in one place. Thus, WEB4JOBS does exactly this, it aggregates all this information and also to categorizes them in order to give a chance to youth regionally to access this information in one place, promote education and mobility.

Later in the day the participants of the forum were introduced with each of the two reports “Development and Promotion of Lifelong Entrepreneurial Learning” introduced by Ada Hamidovic from KULT, and the “Enabling Environment for Youth Entrepreneurship” introduced by Marko Stojanovic from BOS.

After the introduction of each report the participants were divided in smaller groups and worked on creating the recommendation based on the report topic and findings.  Final recommendation were introduced the second day of the forum and will further be incorporated into the Regional Reports.

Second day of the forum was dedicated to INITIATIVES FOR ENTERPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT IN THE EU, where Mr. Jarle Tommerbakke, an expert representing SOENT shared with the fora guests the experience of European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB) which is and Expert Community, that connects the different entrepreneurship education stakeholders in Europe, and the Innovation Cluster for Entrepreneurship Education, a 3 years project funded by the EU which aims to analyse the impact of entrepreneurship education and understand what is needed to reach the European goal, which is that every young person should have a practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving compulsory education.

Last part of the event was dedicated to “INNOVATIVE YOUNG ENTERPRENEURS AND ENTERPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTING INITIATIVES; GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLES FROM WESTERN BALKANS”. The session was moderated by Igor Milosevic from ZID, and the guests were: Pezana Rexha – Design by Pana from Albania; Marko Maras of Seljak.me from Montenegro, Ana Rasovic - Union of Young Entrepreneurs of Montenegro; Nemanja Glavinić - Junior achievement Serbia. From a social enterprise with wooden products, to digital farming, to a union of entrepreneurs and further to the contribution of JA in Serbia and the example of Albania shared by Bora Selenica, the panel was closed with the introduction of UPBEAT HUB created by ADP ZID as part of YOUSEE regional project, also introduced by Igor Milosevic. The inspiring initiatives were the final part of the event and closed this second regional forum of WEB4YES.

The European Union support for the project does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the EU cannot be held responsible or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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