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Special events and activities
A day for entrepreneurs (Dag van de ondernemer) is organised by the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneuship and UNIZO. It is an annual recurring campaign whose main objective is the promotion of entrepreneurship and extra attention is paid to entrepreneurs.
Month of young entrepreneurs (Maand van de jonge ondernemer) is a campaign organised by Young VOKA (Jong VOKA), a network of young entrepreneurs. During this month, extra attention is paid to young entrepreneurs and professionals.
Start Academy for young entrepreneurs focuses on students from universities and colleges. It is an academy and contest organised by the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the ING bank and Flemish Young Entrepreneurs. During the year of the contest, several workshops and seminars are organised.
Initiatives to support activities to promote youth entrepreneurship in the field of social entrepreneurship
A number of youth clubs in Flanders can receive grants for the realisation of a supralocal project (Bovenlokaal project Ondernemerschap). With these grants, the Flemish Government encourages youth clubs to focus on artistic expression and (social) entrepreneurship among young people.
From 2013 until 2019, Youth centres could get grants from the Flemish Community for supralocal projects supporting entrepreneurship with young people. They got an amount of maximum 40 000 euro for wages, and maximum 5000 euro for the operational costs. From 2020 onwards professionalized youth centres can get an operating grant for 4 years when they respond to the priorities of the Flemish youth and children’s policy plan, amongst others when they stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit. In the Decree on supra-local youth work, youth centres and youth work for special target groups of 3/04/2019: There are different perspectives to work on entrepreneurship: - Entrepreneurship as a source for competence building: young people who experiment with entrepreneurship consciously and unconsciously develop entrepreneurial spirit and entrepreneurial competences. - Entrepreneurship as a source of sustainable change: young people can contribute to sustainable changes within the society through social entrepreneurship. Their activities respond to social problems and take account of people and the environment. - Entrepreneurship as a way to work: as a side effect, entrepreneurship can be a gateway to the labour market within youth centres. Young people can create their own job or find their way to (paid) work through entrepreneurial projects.
Furthermore, there is the Social Innovation Factory (Sociale InnovatieFabriek). Challenges such as poverty, climate change and loneliness are important, complex and hard to solve. There are no easy solutions because such challenges result from certain persistent patterns and ways of thinking. But a lot of different social innovative experiments are undertaken in Flanders (e.g. by citizens, companies and associations) to handle such multi-layered problems in a creative way. Through critically reflecting on existing solutions and through searching together for improvements or new concepts, innovators can create social change. It is the mission of the Social Innovation Factory to stimulate such change.
The Social Innovation Factory promotes, guides and supports projects of social entrepreneurship and social innovation that are concerned with societal challenges. The main goal is developing a culture around social innovation in Flanders. They want to inform citizens about social innovation and social entrepreneurship, stimulate them to think about new concepts, activate them to take part in activities and help them in the realisation of their social innovative plans.
Although the Social Innovation Factory is not exclusively focused on young people, it attracts a lot of young people. With the Innovative Partner Projects subsidy call, various cultural organizations can enter into partnerships with organizations from other sectors. Partner projects for the cultural sector often open closed doors to other sectors and offer the means and time to explore new topics and questions. Cultural organisations step out of their comfort zone and, together with the partners, from known or unknown sectors, push their boundaries.The project grant runs for a maximum of three years and amounts to a maximum of €80,000 per project.
Flemish Agency for Innovation and Enterprise Network (Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen, VLAIO Network)
VLAIO is an initiative of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that tries to bring different partners together to support entrepreneurs. Examples are interest groups and federations, knowledge and research centres, cluster organisations, local authorities, private service providers such as banks, accountants, etc. The aim is to let them work together and inspire each other. In that way, an environment is created in which Flemish entrepreneurs are optimally supported and guided. The objectives of the VLAIO network are:
- Supporting Flemish entrepreneurs by stimulating partner organisations to work together
- Making (starting) entrepreneurs familiar with the services and products of the different partners
Network Entrepreneurship (Netwerk ondernemen)
Network Entrepreneurship (Netwerk Ondernemen) is a network of experienced entrepreneurs who help less experienced entrepreneurs to develop an enterprise. Netwerk Ondernemen is supported by the Flemish Government. The guidance provided includes individual and collective support from experienced entrepreneurs, access to an international network and exchange of experience with other starting entrepreneurs.
VOKA is the Flemish Network of Enterprises and applies itself to the advocacy of Flemish enterprises. VOKA has therefore launched several projects. BRYO (Bright and Young) is an initiative of VOKA and the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and supports young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 36 through a network of young entrepreneurs and individual coaching.