Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurial Skills

Project: Research project

Project Details


In NWE, 14% of young people aged 15-34 years are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Since NEETs are rather irresponsive to classic top-down approaches and hardly connect to existing support schemes they bear the risk of long term labour market exclusion. The situation is particularly alarming in deprived NWE metropolitan areas where multiple risks of becoming or remaining NEETs are far above national average.

While entrepreneurial education has become an EU priority to fight labour market exclusion, a consistent approach to systematically integrate NEETs is missing. In fact, the low number of local projects linking NEETs to entrepreneurial education reveals the fragmentation of knowledge across NWE. To make a real difference, a transfer of knowledge is needed to generate a new, transnational model. The co-designed EYES approach combines entrepreneurial education with personal coaching and a digital platform to help NEETs access regular support schemes they otherwise would refuse. Of the 100 000 NEETS in five NWE metropolitan areas, EYES will reach 1 000 during the project lifetime. 400 of them will use regular support schemes while 25 will even become early-stage entrepreneurs.

The EYES product package includes digital tools and coaching materials. 4 bilingual training sites prepare 25 coaches to run the pilots in the Ruhr area, Greater London, Flemish triangle, European Metropolis of Lille, and Tilburg, supported by a common helpdesk.

Long-term effects
Ownership of the EYES approach will be handed over to the EYES innovation network that develops the approach further and transfers it to other cities in NWE, and the EU later on. The training sites will become permanent to provide training sessions for new coaches. The EYES digital platform will be integrated into other digital platforms such as Smart Cities.

Layman's description

Making an App to reach young people who would like to take steps towards getting a job.
Effective start/end date31/10/1931/12/20


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  • Key lessons for supporting youth in their steps to work

    Bekker, S., Wesseling, W., Wilthagen, T. & Balau, N., Jun 2020, 11 p.

    Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

    Open Access
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