Young students get a taste of entrepreneurship with “Boost Your Talent”

“Boost Your Talent” workshops encourage self-confidence and a spirit of enterprise among Brussels youth, laying the groundwork for their productive participation in the labour market.

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Boost Your Talent’s Virginie Losson and young participants in an “Entrepreneur for a Day” workshop. © Boost Your Talent’s Virginie Losson and young participants in an “Entrepreneur for a Day” workshop. ©

" With this project, we aim to raise awareness of entrepreneurial values among Brussels youth, and to show them that starting a business or becoming self-employed is still an option today. We hope to develop their taste for entrepreneurship by helping them to appreciate their own strengths and, why not, by encouraging their desire to opt for a career in business. "

Virginie Losson, “Boost Your Talent”, Project Manager at

Since its launch in late 2008, Boost Your Talent has trained over 800 teachers and youth monitors, and has provided a unique learning experience for more than 13 000 youngsters in Brussels’ canal area – the Brussels regional government’s “Priority Intervention Zone”, where urban decline and other socioeconomic challenges call for an innovative approach.

The region’s agency for enterprise, “”, coordinates the project with four local training institutes: ICHEC PME, Groupe One, Les Jeunes Entreprises, and UNIZO. They work with primary and secondary schools, technical (high school) institutes and extracurricular or after-school programmes to reach thousands of kids each year, offering age-appropriate in-class learning modules, one-day workshops, and meetings with young entrepreneurs from the neighbourhood who share their success stories with the students.

Local role models

“Have you ever gone bankrupt?” asks a high-school student during a session that is filmed and posted on Boost Your Talent’s Facebook page. “Never,” responds the businessman, “But I have participated in projects that didn’t work out, and you can learn a lot from that type of experience as well.” The kids are receiving a heady, empowering message: “You can do this too, if you work hard and keep at it. You can develop your talent, whatever it is, and leverage it for success.”

Another programme offered by Boost Your Talent, “J’entreprends@School” (“I am enterprising at School”), shows secondary and high school students the delicate balance between social, environmental, and economic concerns. Set up as an interactive game where students participate as virtual consumers, producers, traders and shop owners, role-play allows them to grasp the basics of running a sustainable, socially responsible business. Participants reflect on their life goals, and are encouraged to take initiatives and to trust in their own ability to get things done.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for “Boost Your Talent” was EUR 1 744 191, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 390 784 from the “Brussels Capital Region” Operational Programme, for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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