Silta – a bridge for youth entrepreneurship
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SILTA supports entrepreneurship among young people by providing a cooperative structure through which they can grow their business ideas and receive training, mentoring and peer support.
Today, young people have plenty of opportunities to trial their business ideas in various practical experimental business programmes. However, after the end of these programmes, young entrepreneurs did not have support and advice to continue growing their businesses. A bridge (“SILTA”) has been missing.
For this reason, the SILTA project developed an education model, this is based on cooperative entrepreneurship. As members of a cooperative called Versosto, young entrepreneurs can run a business alone or in groups, get mentoring and training, develop their businesses and encourage each other. The project promoter is the Friends Society of the Reisjärven Kristillinen College.
In the first year of operation, the turnover of the cooperative Versosto was approximately 240,000 EUR.
The co-operative is still up and running and currently has over 60 members between the ages 16-21.
The members of the cooperative offer a range of services including filming, photography, marketing support, etc.
According to a survey of 30 members: 53% ‘strongly agreed’ and 40% ‘somewhat agreed’ that the project had increased their interest in entrepreneurship. When asked whether the project had impacted positively upon the likelihood of them staying in, or later returning to, rural areas, 13% ‘strongly agreed’ and 30% ‘somewhat agreed’.