By Antonio Dell’Atti, project manager of FabriQ
In Europe, the crisis is hitting hard especially the young population. Italy is one clear example. Some figures highlight that quite well. The percentage of unemployed young people aged between 15 and 34 years old has doubled in 10 years, going from 20.4% in 2006 to 40.7% in 2016 (ISTAT). The NEETs population has also increased of 500,000 units in these 10 years, from 2.871.000 to almost 3,5 million (ISTAT).
Usually a young person has the following options when he/she has to deal with the job world: working as employee for a company – which often implies an intense activity of sending CVs and arranging job interviews; continue to train for upgrading skills relevant for the job he/she is dreaming to have one day; or diving into entrepreneurship.
This third way is often seen as the most difficult one for different reasons, but mainly because it is conceived as too risky and because it implies having a relatively high capital to start with. Both reasons are partially true, but the “crisis world” where we are used to live since 2008 is certainly magnifying our perception of the difficulty of launching an own business.
We cannot blame young people for that, of course. They are growing up demotivated, stressed by bad news regarding unemployment, huge amount of companies closed each year because of the crisis, and other negative data on economy, in Italy.
Nevertheless, the way to entrepreneurship is not necessarily the roughest one. It “only” implies a high degree of commitment and motivation, and a set of skills which are unavoidable for an entrepreneur to be successful. Fortunately, figures related to youth entrepreneurship are encouraging. Over 120,000 new companies have been opened by people aged below 35 in Italy in 2015, according to the Italian Chambers of Commerce (Unioncamere), representing 10.3% of the total number of active companies in Italy.
Incubators and accelerators (from now on, we will call them incubators) are certainly places where a young person with an idea can find the better tools to develop it and to launch it into the market. Incubators are safe places where “innovators” can embark in the start-up adventure backed by several people and competences which cannot find anywhere else that easily. Usually, incubators provide useful services, like:
– shared services like: wi-fi, printer, scanner, kitchen, etc.
– training services mainly coordinated by a team of business advisors;
– mentorship provided by an external expert competent in the field of the start-up;
– networking with corporates and investors.
This full package helps the young people to better understand how to deal with their own idea and make it their own job. All of them are important: for example, training without networking would not be worth, because it would imply not building up relationships or clients whom to address ideas. Especially at the beginning of the startup journey, feedback and comparison are fundamental to have the possibility to fine-tune the idea and make it more feasible and “sellable” to the market.
FabriQ, the social innovation incubator of the City of Milan, led by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Impact Hub Milan, has developed a methodology in these years, allowing young wanna-be entrepreneurs to develop almost 40 business ideas. The incubation programme promoted by FabriQ includes a deep training on some hard, vertical skills that are crucial for a wanna-be entrepreneur, especially those who are starting from scratch. Here a list of basics which must be in the “to-learn-list”:
– business modelling: which is the model of my business? Who are my partners and my clients? What is my revenue model? What are my main costs?
– legal framework: which are the best legal options for setting up my business? Which are the rules for employment of people in my company?
– tax framework: which are the initial costs I should sustain in terms of tax? What is the average yearly cost in terms of tax for my start up?
– marketing and communication: how should I communicate my idea? Which are the main tools to promote my business? How does online advertising work?
And finally, of course, the mantra of each start up: how to persuade investors to invest in my company?
The YEP program represents a unique opportunity for young people to get to know better what being an entrepreneur means, offering a wide package of tools specifically targeted to young innovators. We are very glad to be part of it and give our contribution. Keep in touch!