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RELESE final conference presents entrepreneurship initiatives and success stories

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The RELESE conference that took place on September 14, 2012 finished the project – RE-integration into Labour market through Entrepreneurship Skills Enhancement. The event was targeted to all interested in creating one’s business, entrepreneurship course organizers, lecturers and participants, and the unemployed of various professional qualifications. During the conference, RELESE project was introduced at length, the course piloting experience in Lithuania and other participating countries – Latvia, Poland and Finland was presented, further dissemination and project commercialization plan and course participant success stories were discussed. Attention was paid to the reports made by the representatives of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania Labour Exchange, Enterprise Lithuania and other organizations about the policy of entrepreneurship promotion in Lithuania and Europe, other initiatives promoting entrepreneurship, as well as insights for beginners in business and their educators.

RELESE (RE-integration into Labour market through Entrepreneurship Skills Enhancement) project (No. LLP-LdV-TOI-2010-LT-0068) was developed under the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation program. Aim of the project – to help people who have dropped out of the labour market and would like to return by starting their own business, but do not have necessary skills and know-how. The purpose of the RELESE course was to teach the participants the basics of business, to encourage them to search for new possibilities and reveal their personal creativity, also provide professional support during the implementation of business projects, and help to create their own work place.

Vilnius Business College coordinated the project. According to the director of this education institution, Jolanta Skirgailė, RELESE course was based on a successful and award-winning educative entrepreneurship course created during the ENTER project in Portugal. RELESEREThe entrepreneurship course was adapted and piloted in other project partner countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Finland.

“We have become interested in the possibility to pursue this project since education of entrepreneurship is the axis linking college Bachelor programs pursued in three study areas. It has been especially important to us to provide RELESE course participants with education material based on innovative technology to invoke during the process of training the modern training and consulting programs and tools.The recommendations of the project partners also highlighted the importance of personal support while creating and implementing business projects, and this is one of the most important aspects of entrepreneurship course improvement”, - says the director of Vilnius Business College.

Partners of the project: Northtown Technology Park (Lithuania), Utena Labour Market Training Centre (Lithuania), TECMAIA Science and Technology Park (Portugal), LAUREA University of Applied Sciences (Finland), TURIBA School of Business Administration (Latvia), University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow (Poland).

The courses were started by 266 persons in 4 countries, though only half of them completed the courses.

During the project, Lithuanians were quite active. 67 Lithuanians registered to the RELESE courses. The greatest interest was shown by Polish – 105 persons willing to participate. However, after assessing the number of persons who had completed the courses, nearly half of the course participants from Lithuania (32 persons) went to the end, whereas in Poland – only one third of all participants (33 persons). Our neighbours Latvians were in step with us: 75 beginners from which 35 were more or less active till the end of the courses. Finns were more passive: 19 beginners from which 8 completed the courses. Four of 108 persons who have completed the course in the aforementioned 4 countries can now boast of their own businesses: three of them are in Lithuania, one in Finland. Whereas the Ukrainian course participant in Poland surprised lecturers with an especially comprehensive business plan. The girl is planning to start her business in Germany after two years.

Project participants started their business in various spheres: in Lithuania – agency services and event organization, services of travel guide, internet marketing and sales, in Finland – hairdresser’s shop services.

Mantas Marcinkevičius, who had been dependant on other employers for more than ten years, dreamt of the possibility to work for himself. However, according to him, he lacked know-how and funds for this decisive step. RELESE course was that incentive inspiring the guy to start his own business. “To start one’s business you need to have the vein of entrepreneurship, self-discipline and work hard to achieve set goals. And one more thing - funds. Certainly, nobody shall get this during the courses; however, RELESE has given me much valuable knowledge. I would recommend such courses to all, regardless of age, gender and education. After all, everyone may have genial ideas, and the courses may help to realize them”, - states M. Marcinkevičius.

To the other participant of RELESE courses, Ilona Grainienė, the position of travel manager or guide in the travel agency was just a seasonal work, thus she had constantly go and register to Labour Exchange. This dependence was troublesome and frightened. Finally, the woman heard about RELESE courses, which encouraged her to register her own activity. Today, the woman is happy – these courses have been the necessary push from outside ensuring her independence, activity development – from guiding to agency, and secure her pension in the long term perspective. “In this new age of informatics, knowledge and experience, mobility and receptivity are the necessary qualities for every educated person. Even if I did not resolve to start my individual activity after the RELESE course, the received and read information would help me to orient better under the conditions of market economy and rapid changes. Thus, I would recommend these courses to all active and curious people who have not still found themselves in the working sphere”, - says I. Grainienė.