Empowering YOUth through Entrepreneurship!

24 September 2021

“NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project wraps up with final conference.

Around 100 stakeholders joined a virtual conference to discover lessons learned and future outlook around solutions to engage young Europeans Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs).

Wrapping up the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project, funded by the EEA Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment, the conference was the occasion to gather project partners to take stock of the results achieved. Opening the conference on behalf of the EEA Norway Grants, Gian Luca Bombarda, Director of the Financial Mechanism Office stressed the importance of this project to achieve the strategic objectives of EEA Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment. Youth Employment Fund will go on until 2024 and will reflect the outcomes of this project such as moving the opportunity closer to the youth and the importance of preventing measures to avoid more youth falling into the category of NEETs.

Salvatore Nigro, CEO JA Europe, said that “for JA Europe, providing concrete opportunities to young people lacking resources, networks or opportunities is a strategic priority in the years to come. Together with our business partners, we will increase our capacity as an organisation to serve those young Europeans who can benefit most from the entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy skills through our programmes.”

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Isabel Benjumea, Member of the European Parliament declared: “It is our duty to create opportunities to young Europeans who have suffered the consequences not only of the current pandemic, but also the previous financial crises."

The NEETs in Entrepreneurship project funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment met its overall objective to reach at least 1,600 young people in 4 European countries through various capacity-building activities despite the challenging context of the global Covid pandemic. The implementing Junior Achievement organisations highlighted the success factors of at national level in reaching the NEETs youth over the past three years. For instance, in Spain with a huge decline in jobs in the tourism sector, there are many more young people applying for Vocational Education and Training than there are places. This results in a huge risk of increased NEETs as young people have neither employment, nor education or training.

To address this challenge, Emanuele Odazio, People & Culture Director Southern and Eastern Europe at ManpowerGroup, stressed the importance of offering concrete further opportunities to young people at the local level. Many conference participants called for increased resources for similar initiatives targeting youth lacking resources or opportunities.

Several youth representatives also gave testimonials of the impact the NEETs in Entrepreneurship project has had on their entrepreneurial and professional path, such as:

  • An Italian start-up “Marbo” making fashion accessories combining an atelier experience with the comfort of online shopping;
  • A Bulgarian entrepreneur who got the confidence to launch a business thanks to the project’s mentoring and capacity building;
  • A social start-up from Spain “Hera Technology” working in the area of mental health, with concrete support on how to develop a prototype and deal with legal questions;
  • A Romanian agricultural start-up that managed to expand its business thanks to the project’s support.

For further information:

The NEETs in Entrepreneurship project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.

Media contact:

Minna Melleri, Director Advocacy & Growth, JA Europe (

About the EEA and Norway Grants

The EEA and Norway Grants represent the financial contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. The Grants’ two overall objectives are (i) reducing social and economic disparities in Europe and (ii) strengthening bilateral relations between the donor countries and 15 EU countries. The donors have made available €2.8 billion for the 2014-2021 funding period.

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