The project “CREATING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES OF YOUNG GRADUATES IN THE CB AREA” with acronym “EMPLOYOUTH” has successfully reached its end on March 31, 2021 with the participation of the Chamber of Serres (Lead beneficiary), the University of Western Macedonia, the Chamber of Kilkis, the Chamber of Pella, the St. Kliment Ohridski University – Bitola, Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies – Bitola and the Foundation for Sustainable Economic Development Preda plus.

The project EMPLOYOUTH, with a budget of € 850,200.00, started on April 2, 2018, is co-funded by the European Union and by national funds of the participating countries, in the framework of INTERREG IPA Cross Border Cooperation Programme “Greece – Republic of North Macedonia 2014-2020” and it is the first of the approved projects in the Programme that has been completed.

During project implementation, 120 young men and women from Serres, Kilkis, Edessa and Bitola participated either in groups or individually, with their business idea in the “Entrepreneurship Nests” (phase a’ of the project) where informative / training workshops as well as regular meetings with specialized speakers / consultants – mentors have been carried out. The Entrepreneurship Nest has acted as a springboard for young potential entrepreneurs, as it created favorable conditions for the development of ideas and partnerships. The three-month programme ended with the so-called “Demo Day”, where the participants had the opportunity to present the progress of their business idea and were further evaluated in order 30 young men and women with the best evaluation to continue in the pre-incubation program (phase b’ of the project) in Thessaloniki and Bitola respectively.

The competition of best innovative idea has followed aiming at highlighting the 5 best ideas by an evaluation panel from representatives from academic, business and investment community with the five participants whose idea excelled in the competition, to participate in a networking event with Uni.Fund (Venture Capital Fund), where they had the opportunity to learn about how the Uni.Fund and the profile of the companies it supports, to present their ideas and receive valuable feedback from the specialized experts in order to develop further their ideas targeting at product / service entrance onto the market in the near future.

In the framework of the project, the reconstruction of the building at the Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies – Bitola was co-funded, an area of about 800 m² as an IT hub, a place where students will meet with the IT industry and work on joint real projects providing students with practical training. The space will also operate as a start – up center where students can set up their own business and receive support to enter the market.

The project EMPLOYOUTH has special value because it has succeeded on one hand to create a dynamic entrepreneurship culture and on the other hand – by investing in human capital as one of the most valuable resources in the cross – border area – it has succeeded to encourage youth entrepreneurship in both countries through a holistic a set of actions with ultimate result the support of new innovative ideas and the creation of better employment-market prospects based on competitiveness, productivity and innovation.