Community Members with Dreams Will Get Professional Recipes for Entrepreneurship
Photo: A. Aleksandravičius.
“I have been working in different parts of Lithuania for many years now, so I can compare them and confidently say that residents in Kaunas are independent, strong and capable of acting individually. My task is to give people with dreams the tools and help them set the road for successful self-employment,” says Danguolė Skibiniauskienė, management and entrepreneurship consultant. Soon, together with six other lecturers, she will invite the selected residents of Žaliakalnis municipality to join entrepreneurship training, which will aim to provide knowledge and practical skills to economically inactive or unemployed people aged 40 and over.
As it turned out during the planning of the Kaunas city Žaliakalnis local development strategy, from about 24.5 thousand residents of Žaliakalnis municipality more than half are over 40 years old and about 18-20 percent of them are in their working life stage but inactive. This means that every fifth inhabitant of Žaliakalnis does not work.
After analysing the situation, it was clear that there are many complex reasons behind it, but the general trends reflect the attitude of the whole country: according to the data of the AGER 2018 (Amway Global Entrepreneurship report), Lithuanians want to start their own business (76% of respondents expressed their wish). However, only 33% of them consider their skills to be suitable for starting a business. The inhabitants of Žaliakalnis are no exception: sociologists point out that the main reasons why the working-age population is not active are structural unemployment and lack of specific knowledge or skills.
This has been confirmed by a local population survey, showing that hesitation or unwillingness to create a business or look for a job of interest is caused by psychosocial causes (it is more difficult for long-term stay at home mothers or long-term unemployed to come back to the labour market), low self-esteem, or even strained relationships with neighbours. It is also caused by socio-economic reasons (from ‘shadow economy’ income to lack of specific entrepreneurial knowledge and skills).
Fluxus agent Aistė Ptašinskaitė from the community program “We, the People” works with the inhabitants of Žaliakalnis and notes that statistically, there are more elderly people in Žaliakalnis than in Kaunas all together: “There are many educated, proactive, creative people who have a lot of ideas. Unfortunately, those ideas often are not implemented. In addition, besides the traditional groups, which are mostly the target of entrepreneurship promotion (e.g., mothers, seniors of pre-retirement age), it is possible to distinguish a specific audience in Žaliakalnis: artists who previously worked and made a living from art but now are not able to follow the market changes (e.g., they work as a day labourers in order to survive, but if they had more entrepreneurial knowledge, they could use their talents and skills)”.
41 day, 10 programs, 7 lecturers
Considering the analyses and data collected, the training, research and consulting company “POKYČIŲ VALDYMAS” together with VšĮ “Kaunas IN” and the Marvelė Community Center have started to develop the project “Žaliakalnis Entrepreneurship Training”. In total, 45 participants will be selected, and they will work with consultants in ten programs this summer. Professionals from the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, marketing, leadership, finance, accounting, and sales will share their knowledge. Participants will get a total of 41 days of training programs, tailored to the needs of the group.
Participants of the initiative will receive introductory entrepreneurship training and will be able to choose the following training according to their desires and competencies. There is a vast list from which they could choose: from business plan preparation, tax, and accounting, personnel management, leadership, marketing, sales to stress and conflict management.
According to D. Skibiniauskienė, the first task of the lecturer is to engage and encourage listeners to become active participants of the training: “I have a lot of experience working with such people. I have been working with various local action groups (LAGs) for more than five years trying to introduce entrepreneurial ideas to active people. Since there will be more than one session, I will try to motivate and inspire people during the first meeting, telling what a person can achieve, the ways how to do it, how the project looks, and how it should be done. And then we are moving on to the things that need to be done.
On the other hand, such training usually attracts people with dreams. After all, the fact that they responded to the invitation, took part in the selection and came to the lectures of the project shows that they are interested and motivated. So, my task is to help participants to develop a plan to achieve the desired result.”
In total, the project will be divided into 5 groups, the first of which will start on June 10.
You will find a detailed description of the programs and the registration form HERE.