EYES: Youth Employability and Social value

The context of the project S.E.Y.W.

Social entrepreneurship is a form of employment for many, allowing people to be self-sufficient while making a difference and impacting society and environment and allowing to involve people with fewer opportunities. The youth work needs constant innovation to face the challenges that European youth meet, offering support and inspiration to become changemakers. Our goal is to support and facilitate their encounters to learn from each other and create new opportunities for both sectors.

Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is an approach by start-up companies and entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.

For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics like profit, revenues and increases in stock prices. Social entrepreneurs, however, are either non-profits, or they blend for-profit goals with generating a positive “return to society”, that is usually measured by key performance indicators.

Therefore, they must use different metrics. Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to further broad social, cultural, and environmental goals often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development.

Thus far, there has been no firm consensus on the definition of social entrepreneurship, as so many different fields, disciplines and organization types are associated with social entrepreneurship, ranging from for-profit businesses to hybrid models combining charitable work with business activities, to non-profit charities, voluntary sector organizations and non-governmental organizations.

Youth Work

A full definition of youth work can be given only if the wide variety of activities, with and for young people are considered, as well as the essential features of youth work, its aims and the people involved. 

The Council of Europe gives a definition of youth work as it follows: ‘Youth work is a broad term covering a wide variety of activities of a social, cultural, educational, environmental and/or political nature by, with and for young people, in groups or individually. 

Youth work is delivered by paid and volunteer youth workers and is based on non-formal and informal learning processes focused on young people and on voluntary participation. 

Youth work is quintessentially a social practice, working with young people and the societies in which they live, facilitating young people’s active participation and inclusion in their communities and in decision making. According the European Commision youth work ‘encompasses a broad range of activities (e.g. social, cultural, educational, sports-related and political) carried out with, by and for young people through non-formal and informal learning.

Common Points

There are several points that are in common among the two sectors, and it’s clear how social entrepreneurship can inspire youth work actions and vice versa. There are many skills that should be shared between youth workers and social entrepreneurs, and in general many competences that can be passed.

A non-exhaustive list comprehends the ability to create international communication, to identify opportunities, to recognize global issues, to identify target groups, analyse social business environment, changeability, strategic thinking, resilience, and much more.

Also, it gets in touch in sectors such as Management of human resources, creation of a sustainable plan/strategy, financial management and fundraising strategies, networking and HR management, as well as communication and democratic governance. To get to know more about our reflections, you can download here our toolkit!