New ideas for growth from supporting youth entrepreneurship

For economies to prosper it is vital that all sectors of society are leveraged to bring prosperity, and sometimes the most productive boost to economies come from youth who bring fresh new ideas to the economy.

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Entrepreneurship is an important economic multiplier in any economy. A single idea can create countless jobs and revenue in a country. However, having an idea is not enough, that idea needs care and support for it to come to fruition.

Fostering entrepreneurship

The Grant Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship programme specifically targeted youth between the ages of 20 to 39 who aspired to do business in a variety of economic sectors ranging from manufacturing, e-commerce, services as well as others, utilising their knowledge, training, talents and other special skill sets.

"The scheme gave these young entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to create their own small and successful business in the sectors of manufacturing, e-commerce, services and tourism. Youth from all walks of life were eligible to apply, in particular those who were unemployed, employees or not entrepreneurs for the last six months before the application”, said Mr Christos Photiades, Senior Officer at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.

"Since the programme kicked-off it has created a number of new small-businesses, reduced unemployment in young people, created numerous new job places as well as fostered the development of entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness," he added.

From 2007 to 2013 there were three calls for applications. In the first two calls alone a total of 468 applications were received, and 266 candidates were successful. As a result 500 new job places were created in a range of areas ranging from medical consulting, legal, engineering, financial services, manufacturing, tourism, beauty and hairdressing saloons, etc.

The successful applicants were eligible to receive a grant which would cover up to 50 % of eligible costs. The total eligible investment cost for activities in the manufacturing sector was EUR 140 000 and for the other sectors EUR 100 000. Eligible costs covered business activities related to commerce, services, tourism as well as equipment, landscaping services, training and promotion.

Promoting new technologies

"Special emphasis was given in the development of new technologies, in the use of innovative methods of production and promotion of products and services, in the development of entrepreneurship in the environmental sector and generally in the promotion of modern entrepreneurial activities aiming at the creation of dynamic and competitive enterprises," Mr Photiades said.

Total and EU funding

The project “Grant Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship” has a total eligible budget of EUR 11 100 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 9 400 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project is funded through the priority “Sustainable Development and Competitiveness” of the Operational Programme “Support for SMEs”.

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