Project Name: Rural Entrepreneurship Heroes
Dates: 1-9 November 2017
Partner Countries: Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain and Turkey
Youngsters meet in Turkey to discuss reviving of rural areas
Many of the European Union’s rural areas face a common challenge, as their capacity to create high-quality, sustainable jobs has fallen behind that of urban areas. Generally, incomes are lower in rural regions than in towns or cities and there are fewer job opportunities. Marginalized youth living in rural areas have a problem getting good jobs and continued education to get ahead in life and contribute to society. One of the obvious solutions for them is to move to the city and try to get a job there. Even if they do manage to get one, it is usually not the best paying one. However, these marginalized youth possess one asset, which isn’t being explored by anyone to its fullest potential – their familiarity with the rural area that they live in. Starting a business in rural areas would be a great vehicle for capitalizing on this asset that they already have. In general, rural areas account only to 15.3% of GDP on average in the EU, which is not too much when we think about the numbers of people living outside the cities.
Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “Rural Entrepreneurship Heroes” in Ölüdeniz, Turkey
All this made NGOs from Italy, Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, Poland and Czech Republic unite and create a project for youth to expand their knowledge about business opportunities in rural areas. As a result, Erasmus+ youth exchange “Rural Entrepreneurship Heroes” was held in Ölüdeniz, Turkey on November 1-9, 2017. The project aimed to raise awareness of participants existing asset, provide them with the skills on how to identify the business opportunities that exist in rural areas & develop the idea. After the exchange, they stand ready to contribute to the local communities. One of the biggest expected impacts from this is that they could also create jobs for other people in rural areas and especially youth with fewer opportunities. Apart from that, they could also help inspire other marginalized youth to think about their own rural businesses.
Workshops and activities
36 participants arrived to beautiful Ölüdeniz and took part in a variety of workshops and activities. They have also visited Fethiye and Kayaköy (ancient Karmylassos), an eerie ghost town of 4000-odd abandoned stone houses and other structures that once made up the Greek town of Levissi. Today this timeless village, set in a lush valley with some vineyards nearby, forms a memorial to Turkish-Greek peace and cooperation. In the evening, when the ruined village’s churches are spotlit, Kayaköy is truly surreal. Visiting Fethiye and Kayaköy helped them to understand Turkish background and history. It was very precious experience in terms of knowing Turkish culture. They have also had an opportunity to engage with interesting guests from “KOSGEB” (Small and Medium Industry Development Organization), this organization financially support rural entrepreneurs and new ‘rural startups’. Finally, the participants took part in how-to sessions, business simulation in rural environment and business idea contest.
Together participants have created many solutions how to prevent unemployment in rural areas and what should be done to improve infrastructure there. All the results will be published later online and in the e-booklet of the project. During the exchange they have learnt a lot about rural entrepreneurship and possibilities of starting their own business. Most importantly, in groups they have developed their ideas for rural business. It is our aspiration that it will inspire them to use the ideas, create start-ups, develop rural areas in their regions and motivate other to do the same.