More than 140 people came closer to their dream of starting their own business, 70 of them prepared a business plan with professional coaches’ help. At least 280 people increased their chances of finding a job, 70 of them had job interviews, and 35 participated in paid 2-month apprenticeship programs. These are some of the results of the PAL PUSH II Project: Empowering Disadvantaged Groups through Employment and Entrepreneurship. The 2-year long project was simultaneously implemented in seven European countries: Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Romania and the Czech Republic, under the coordination of the association RomPraha.
Tackling Societal Challenges
In an effort to address the pressing issue of unemployment, particularly among social inclusion groups, the PAL PUSH II project aimed to provide a lifeline for those facing economic challenges exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The main focus groups of the project were people in long-term unemployment, women after maternity leave, migrants and Romani. A new group that joined the project activities during the implementation was refugees from Ukraine.
The consortium first conducted comprehensive research among 210 individuals, using questionnaires to identify missing skills crucial for targeted social inclusion groups in each partner country. Based on the results, the team created two curricula – for entrepreneurship and employment learning, each consisting of 10 modules.
The materials are free to download and use, from the project website in 8 languages: https://palpush2.eu/project-materials/
Inclusive Entrepreneurship Education and Coaching
A pivotal aspect of “Pall Push II” was enhancing inclusive entrepreneurship education and coaching services. The initiative supported individuals from social inclusion groups in creating their businesses as a potent means to combat unemployment. Participants engaged in practical setups of micro-businesses, exploring procedures, risks, and opportunities. The project delivered 60 hours of local training to 20 individuals in each country, resulting in 140 aspiring entrepreneurs total; and 40 hours of individual coaching services per entrepreneur, resulting in 70 individuals from the partnership receiving professional coaching to kickstart their businesses.
Upskilling for Inclusive Employment
Recognizing the vulnerability of disadvantaged groups to unemployment, the project focused on upskilling, offering 40-hour training sessions covering basic computer skills, digital literacy, and social media presence. The goal was to empower 280 participants across partner countries, helping them build confidence and qualifications necessary for meaningful employment.
Business Speed Dating and Apprenticeship Activities
To bridge the gap between trained individuals and the labour market, PAL PUSH II organized business speed dating events where employers and employees could explore collaboration opportunities. The project anticipated 10 employees per country (70 in total) would find jobs through these events. Additionally, 35 individuals from partner countries participated in a paid two-month apprenticeship program. The success stories are also available on the project website.
Project Impact and Collaboration
After two years of dedicated effort, PAL PUSH II was made available for trainers, entrepreneurs, and job seekers. The project’s results and materials are shared with the wider public to prepare disadvantaged groups for employment and entrepreneurship, overcome labor market barriers, and foster social cohesion and economic growth.
For more information and access to project resources, visit https://palpush2.eu/.
RomPraha (Czech Republic), UNISCO (Italy), AHEAD (Romania), My Madeira Island (Portugal), OMG (Croatia) FTHIOTIDOS Chamber of Commerce (Greece), OECON Group (Bulgaria).