You want a great job? Why not becoming an entrepreneur? But what does it mean and how can it be achieved? That’s what AEGEE-Valletta thought when they created the project Youth Entrepreneurship in the European Union. This week the initiative ended, when the Maltese antenna presented the final document of the project to the European Commission, with proposals for the problems that they found during their events in Malta and Brussels. Main coordinator of project was ​Joanna Incorvaja, PR and Marketing Director of AEGEE-Valletta. Joanna told the Golden Times more about the project.

Joanna Incorvaja
Joanna Incorvaja

GT: What was the idea of the project?
Joanna: The main aim of this project was to reduce youth unemployment in the EU, ultimately one of the focus areas in AEGEE-Europe’s Strategic Plan, by focusing on youth entrepreneurship to boost the economy locally and at Union level.

GT: So what happened this week?
Joanna: Close to a year after we first presented our idea to the Maltese MEP, the project on Youth Entrepreneurship in the European Union has come to an end. Yesterday we presented our final document to Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs for it to be implemented in the European Commission. This document was a product of our work in collaboration with MEP Miriam Dalli and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and it was made up of solutions for the problems identified during our events.

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The first event took place at the University of Malta

GT: Howa was the project structured?
Joanna: The project was split into three main events. The first event was a debate at university with​ prominent speakers like MEP Miriam Dalli, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo and Mr. David Curmi, President of the Chamber of Commerce, among representatives from other industries and institutions. Together with eight other student organisations, students had the time to ask questions and be presented with new opportunities for youths on the market.”

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The second part was a conference in Brussels

GT: For the second part of the project you went from Malta to Brussels…
Joanna: The second event consisted of a group of 24 students, journalists and a cameraman who attended a conference in the European Parliament with three MEPs: Dr. Dalli, British MEP Ms. Griffin and Portuguese MEP Carlos Zorrinho. We also had Zubin Chagpar from Amazon Web Services, Douglas Squirrel from Osper, entrepreneurs from leading Maltese businesses in Europe, Typhaine Beauperin from Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs and Dr. Joanna Drake from DG Enterprise (European Commission). Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, was also present through a video message which can be found on our Facebook page.​

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The third event was hosted by the Malta Chamber of Commerce

GT: How was the third and final event?
Joanna: The final event was a discussion at the Malta Chamber of Commerce in Valletta. The audience was made up of young entrepreneurs, members from NGOs, established entrepreneurs and members of the press, who presented the problems that they faced when trying to sup up a business. We still have to present the document to the Maltese Ecnomy Ministry for implementation by the government.

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Maltese MEP Dalli presented the final document to European Commission member Elżbieta Bieńkowska

GT: Are you satisfied with the outcomes?
Joanna: Overall, we are very satisfied with the outcomes of this project where we managed to make an impact not just on current young entrepreneurs, but also hopefully on future generations of young european entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for our next big project!

GT: How was coordinating the project?
Joanna: The project wasn’t easy to coordinate seeing that we were working with politicians and therefore the media was involved in all our events. But, thanks to the support and help of my colleagues in the AEGEE-Valletta board and Chris Frendo from the Advisory Board, we managed to ​produce successful results. The highlight of this project was definitely when all our hard work paid off and the Commission accepted our solutions document. Personally, the project over all was a very positive experience for me, and even though it was challenging at times, with the help of others I managed to overcome the obstacles and grow as an AEGEE member. It has been very satisfying to see AEGEE-Valletta on the forefront of media exposure and cooperation. I look forward to many more projects with AEGEE-Valletta.