Each year, the ++EUSICThe European Social Innovation Competition is an initiative of the DG Growth of the European Commission, and is organised by Nesta, Ashoka, ENoLL, Scholz & Friends and Kennisland. (EUSIC) ++Awards ceremonyOn 8 november 2018 the Awards Ceremony of the 2018 European Social Innovation Competition takes place at the Albert Hall in Brussels. Register here. € 50.000 prizes to the three most innovative ideas addressing a certain societal issue. This year’s theme is ++RE:THINK LOCALFind more information about the Competition and this year’s theme on our project page.: andWe plan to broaden rural Romanian’s perspective, showing teenagers that there is a big world out there with lots of opportunities and that they can choose the ones that fit them best focuses on how we can turn local challenges into opportunities for young people. During this blog series, we introduce to you the finalists of the European Social Innovation Competition. They tell us about the importance of their project and their experience of participating in the competition so far. Today, read about the Romanian finalist Career Bus.
An interview with Dragoș Belduganu and Armina Sirbu, the founders of Career Bus.
What is the inspiration for your project, and how do you think it will help to empower young people in a changing economy?
In recent years there has been a lot of buzz around the fact that the unemployment rate is higher than it should be among fresh graduates and young people in general. Working with teenagers we often get questions related to career orientation and the future of work, we also often have parents coming up to us asking which university they should tell their teen to pursue, what is best for them? We know that this question pops up in the mind of almost any teenager and we also know that most of them don’t get any answers. We know that in Romania in small cities and in villages the concept of career orientation is stuck in the past when we used to follow the careers of our close family members. But most of those jobs will get automated or cease to exist. We plan to broaden rural Romanian’s perspective, showing teenagers that there is a big world out there with lots of opportunities and that they can choose the ones that fit them best.
What have you enjoyed most about your experience with the European Social Innovation Competition and how will you apply that learning to your project moving forward?
During the EUSIC Academy, talking with the participants, we concluded that other countries face the same challenges as Romania: rural depopulation due to the lack of local opportunities, small towns with a big age gap because young people migrate to bigger towns, young people that have no idea what career to follow and what the future holds for them. The Academy also gave us some points on how to scale our idea, as well very helpful talks on impact measurement. Going with a Career Bus from town to town and inspiring young people seems romantic and cool so there is a high chance we would do it just for the fun of it, but we should not forget to measure the impact of our actions and to constantly improve so we can offer a relevant and impactful experience to our participants!Going with a Career Bus from town to town and inspiring young people seems romantic and cool so there is a high chance we would do it just for the fun of it, but we should not forget to measure the impact of our actions and to constantly improve!
A big “aha” moment from our EUSIC journey was learning from our peers about the fact that other fields such as farming, recycling, up-cycling, tourism and freelancing, with the help of technology, can have a big impact, but in the same time stay local and capitalize on the local community.
How do you see social innovation in Europe progress over the next 10 years and what role do you see for yourself in that?
In the next 10 years, we think that technology will play an even bigger role in every aspect of our lives. We think that we will see social innovation ideas increasingly emerge from underprivileged groups themselves. We hope that social innovations become more niche, in order to focus on specific communities rather than trying to save the entire world with one idea. We believe that EUSIC and other programs, will be able to identify the ideas that have the potential to scale and give them the needed help, and in the same time empower the ones that do not have the potential to scale but have the potential for great impact in the geography they are part of. We think our part in the European social innovation sector is to empower young people to tackle their challenges with confidence, get involved in the growth of their community, use their fresh perspective and their youthful energWe hope that social innovations become more niche, in order to focus on specific communities rather than trying to save the entire world with one idea.y to mobilize people around their ideas and be open to the world around them.
This blog was originally posted on the website of the European Social Innovation Competition.