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Blended learning experiences boost girls’ entrepreneurial and digital skills

Milena Stoycheva, CEO of JA Bulgaria

Over the last 9 months, close to 600 girls aged between 12 and 18 have taken part in 20 workshops dedicated to digital and entrepreneurial skills. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and a consortium of Junior Achievement offices, composed of JA Bulgaria, JA Greece, JA Lithuania, JA Romania, JA Serbia and JA Europe, together with our partner Apps for Good, teamed up to deliver trainings to equip young girls with the entrepreneurial and digital skills essential for their future working lives and support the EU’s Digital Education Action Plan.

While digital and entrepreneurial skills are widely sought after by businesses across Europe, the European Commission’s Digital Entrepreneurship Monitor indicates that the majority of European countries are relatively low in terms of digital entrepreneurial culture, particularly those in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe regions. More worryingly, the gap widens further as the gender of workers is considered: there are four times more men than women in Europe with ICT-related studies and the share of men working in the digital sector is three times greater than the share of women.

The EIT, together with the JA consortium, aimed to support young girls to acquire entrepreneurial and digital skills and competences, through a “blended learning experience”: our bet was to mix our entrepreneurship education approach and tools with technology education. From our experience at JA, we know that entrepreneurship education is a highly effective way for students to learn as it provides them with the opportunity to learning by doing, on a concrete issue. For this project, the challenge was to come up with solutions for a market need in the form of a digital application.

The evaluation conducted at the end of the project shows the great success of the approach! According to the feedback gathered amongst the young girls, we know that most of the students had a positive and successful experience. In line with the objectives set for the project, students have developed their interest in becoming entrepreneurs (92%) and/or work in the technology sector (87%), which they now better understand. The data also shows that the workshops boosted their self-confidence as they now felt empowered to achieve new goals. Respondents also confirm that they developed skills such as teamwork and communications (94%), which are two highly sought-after skills by today’s employers.

We are very thankful for the opportunity to pilot such a project and look forward to further developing our blended learning experiences to help young Europeans be ready for the future.

Discover here what our inspired participants think about their experience: youtube.com/EITDigital

Category : JA Europe Network, Entrepreneurship Education Posted : 18 February 2020 13:29 UTC
About the Author
Milena Stoycheva, CEO of JA Bulgaria

Milena Stoycheva is the CEO of JA Bulgaria and Visiting Professor with the EIT Digital Master School in I&E (Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Entrepreneur and educator, she is passionate about the importance of education and the opportunity for young people to develop their talents and discover their future as entrepreneurs.  Milena is an executive with more than 20 years of experience in international organizations and companies, who has also served as the Chair of the Global Member Council of JA Worldwide and Senior Adviser of Higher Education of JA Europe. 
She was the first Dean of Students of the American University in Bulgaria following its establishment in 1991. Additionally, to having a few own ventures, she has served on the entrepreneurship and science core group of Intel Education Team in Europe; worked for a while as a journalist with AP television; as well as mentored and coached teams in different training programs on business development and technology entrepreneurship. She has degrees from Bulgarian and US universities.

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