"i3" - Supporting young entrepreneurs in the Balkan-Mediterranean region

Budding young entrepreneurs from five countries in the Balkan-Mediterranean region are taking training courses and learning from leading businesspeople in a project to promote innovation and support the growth of new companies. A total of 250 graduating students and other young people are benefiting from the project ‘i3 – Education for ideas, inventions and innovations for entrepreneurship’.

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i3 project branded promotional material ©Bulgaria Economic Forum 2018 i3 project branded promotional material ©Bulgaria Economic Forum 2018

" The project, through the i3 model, presents an innovative training approach based on role-playing, practice at all levels and functions, shadowing of successful businesspeople, building common entrepreneurial culture, thinking and motivation. It stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in strategic and important sectors. "

Christina Zlatanova, project coordinator

The project is addressing skills gaps and high unemployment in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Albania and North Macedonia. The project has established an i3 entrepreneurship model which includes a strategy for implementation and a core curriculum for learning. Training and education institutions and businesses from these five countries cooperate to deliver the i3 activities.

Training modules

Pilot testing of five training modules is taking place in each participating country. Training begins with a general module in entrepreneurship before moving on to more specialised work in the following areas: the environment, energy, ICT, high technologies, and lifestyle. Each pilot is attended by 50 students who, as part of their training, visit businesses and shadow experienced entrepreneurs.

The first training module was held in Bulgaria. Participants came from all partner countries and began by covering general topics such as business for the benefit of society, the art of communication, and practical mathematics. They went on to take the specialised lifestyle module, where they learned about health, working environments, travel and tourism, entertainment, catering, sports, and culture.

Building a brand

The long-term goal is to turn the i3 model into a recognisable brand which can promote creative, targeted and innovative learning opportunities for young people who want to build their own businesses. The project has a transnational focus as it addresses strategic challenges common to the entire region, such as youth unemployment and the need to stimulate economic growth.

Details about the i3 model and training materials have been published in a booklet and are available to download from the project website: https://www.i-3.eu/. Project results are to be presented at an i3 fair and conference. The goal of this event is to promote ideas, inventions and innovations (the 3i’s) in the specific training areas and to encourage more organisations to become involved.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “i3 – Education for ideas, inventions and innovations for entrepreneurship” is EUR 904 835,50, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 769 110,18 through the “Interreg V-B Balkan-Mediterranean” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Education and training”.

Draft date