About the project

"The bare fields, the empty roads, the ruined houses and the shuttered schools say it all. Welcome to Bulgaria's rural northwest, officially the poorest region in the European Union." (EUBusiness.com, EU's poorest region teeters on the brink, 2011) The situation is not different in other European regions. In January 2015 the European Commission published a paper "Addressing youth unemployment in the EU" with the following main findings:

  • More than 5 million young people aged 15-24 are unemployed in the EU today.
  • This represents an unemployment rate of 21.9% (23.7% in the euro area). This means that more than one in five young Europeans on the labour market cannot find a job. In Greece and Spain, it is even one in two.
  • More than 33% of unemployed people under 25 had been unemployed for more than a year in 2013.
  • 7.5 million young Europeans between 15 and 24 are not employed, not in education and not in training (NEETs).
  • The young are at much greater risk in terms of precariousness and have been disproportionately hit by the crisis.

In light of the potential of entrepreneurs to create employment and sustainable growth, promoting youth entrepreneurship and making Europe more entrepreneur‑friendly has recently become a priority on the EU policy agenda. However, research has shown that among young people the wish to become an entrepreneur, and their assessment of its feasibility, is lower in EU Member States than in comparable and emerging economies. Encouraging entrepreneurship is recognized at European level as particularly important to face challenges related to alarmingly high youth unemployment rates in most of the EU Member States. Entrepreneurship and self-employment are important pathways for young people to emerge from unemployment. In economically struggling regions, the social entrepreneurship model, which is close to people and to local communities, and primarily aimed at contributing to the general good of society, is the answer. Fostering the right mind-set and entrepreneurship skills, as per the Europe 2020 strategy, can advance a European entrepreneurial culture in the young people, especially in the least developed EU regions, such as the participating ones from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

DOVE targets youth unemployment by developing the current website as a platform for young people to collaborate in the design and implementation of social entrepreneurship activities. Thus it aligns with the 2015 recommendation of the European Economic and Social Committee: "Entrepreneurship education needs to be considered, however, in the context of the overall social – and not just business – environment".