Last weekend AEGEE-Valletta and Maltese MEP Miriam Dalli launched a new initiative aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship. The project which has the title “Youth Entrepreneurship in the European Union” has been developed jointly together by the antenna, the office of the politician and the Malta Chamber for Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Miriam Dalla PK
Maltese MEP Miriam Dalli

The project aims at identifying the major problems encountered by young entrepreneurs and offering solutions. “If we foster an entrepreneurial spirit, a creative and business spirit amongst our youth, we will be supporting future generations and strengthening our country’s economy”, said Miriam Dalli during a press conference. Also Education minister Evarist Bartolo attended the event: “Malta’s formal education system is partly to blame for the lag in entrepreneurship in society”, he said. “I think the education system kills entrepreneurship rather than nourishing it.”
The project consists of a number of seminars in Malta and Brussels. The workshops will develop concrete recommendations that Dalli would present to Maltese Authorities and to the European Commission. Last weekend the two-day event entitled, “Tomorrow’s business today”, marked the beginning of the project. The seminar was co-organised by AEGEE-Valletta and took place at the University of Malta. The second event will be held in Brussels on the 26th of February. The topic: supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, microenterprises and young entrepreneurs in the EU.

The Golden Times spoke with Joanna Incorvaja, PR and Marketing Responsible of AEGEE-Valletta, about the project.

Joanna Incorvaja
Joanna Incorvaja

GT: What is this cooperation project about?
Joanna Incorvaja: The whole project is aimed at tackling Youth Entrepreneurship on a local and European level, that is identifying existing problems and finding solutions for both scenarios. Eight student organisations, covering a wide spectrum of youth activity and interest, came on board and joined this initiative spearheaded by AEGEE-Valletta in collaboration with MEP Miriam Dalli and the  Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. Our aim is to empower more youths to be entrepreneurial and to create a system which actively encourages youth participation and activism and facilitates entrepreneurship.

GT: Who had the idea?
Joanna: Last Summer, Chris Frendo, the previous President and honorary member of AEGEE-Valletta, discussed the idea with the office of MEP Dalli and it was instantly approved. The current executive board put the idea into action and planned and executed the stages of this project, which aims to be completed by September 2015.

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Starting the project – with a prominent AEGEE-Valletta logo!

GT: You had a seminar together last weekend. Can you tell us more about it? 
Joanna: The first part of the project was a panel discussion at the University of Malta between a knowledgeable panel of eight speakers. In attendance were representatives of the main Government institutions which cover small business and entrepreneurship, a large audience made up of students and NGOs and members of the public. In this second part of the project, we will be bridging the gap between local Youth Entrepreneurship and the European Union.

GT: What does the cooperation with the MEP and the Chamber of Commerce consist of?
Joanna: MEP Dalli and her team were present and actively contributed in all the preliminary and planning stages. Both MEP Dalli and the Chamber of Commerce will also participate in various other parts of this projects. Indeed MEP Dalli will host in Brussels a delegation of 30 people made up of students, youths and professionals who will participate in a high level meeting with EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowskato and other guests to discuss youth entrepreneurship in the EU, where it is believed that true aim of this project can be reached. Following the Brussels conference, the Chamber of Commerce will be hosting groups of youth representatives for a series of round table meetings which will bring together youths, young entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs to prepare a study and a set of recommendations which will be presented to the Maltese government for consideration and possible implementation.

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The audience of the event was very attentive.

GT: Can you tell more about the upcoming event in Bruusels? 
Joanna: Representatives of AEGEE-Valletta and other partnering student organisations including JEF and Insite will attend a three-day conference in Brussels culminating in the mentioned high level meeting with Elżbieta Bieńkowska. We will be joined by members of the CD of AEGEE-Europe, the Permanent Representation of Malta for the EU, speakers from NGOs and the European Parliament reaching a total of about a 100 people. The main conference will be held in the European Parliament and is titled “Supporting SMEs, Microenterprises and Young Entrepreneurs in the EU”. Our main speakers include Eurochambre, Amazon and the Director of DG Enterprise.

GT: What can you tell us about the following project part, the round table meetings? 
Joanna: The third part of the project will be a series of round table discussions between young and present entrepreneurs hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. The idea is to take stock of the local current situation relating to youth entrepreneurship. We will then be compiling an official document to present to the Government so that our recommendations will be put into practice. Concurrently, in these meetings, we shall be organising a number of visits to some of Malta’s leading office and workplaces, where young people can have a first-hand experience of putting entrepreneurial ideas into action.

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Several prominent speakers atended the seminar.

GT: How can your members benefit from the project? And how members from other antennae?
Joanna: Members can benefit through their attendance by learning about opportunities for start ups and SMEs, by building contacts, seeking help and assistance and discovering funding opportunities or financial aid. Moreover, we aim to create a place where young people can express their opinion, be innovative, share their ideas and come up with solutions to the entrepreneurial problems they are facing. In September 2015, AEGEE-Valletta will be hosting 100 people from across Europe for a special summer event which would focus on youth entrepreneurship. More details to follow.

GT: Can AEGEE members also come to the event in Bruusels this month?
Joanna: We have a limited number of places available for AEGEE members who would like to join us for the Conference in Brussels. Please contact me on for further information.