In late November Jorunn Åsfrid Røyrvik from Innovation Norway was visiting Erfurt in Thueringia. We had a meeting in Component 4 (Start-Ups) where we talked about different possible projects. We had several meetings with possible appliers for Component 4-projects. At the same time Røyrvik presented “the Alchymist”, a project with the overall goal to increase the number of start-ups for young people (age 18-35 years old). This is a project Innovation Norway has developed and tested with success. We now want to develop this instrument further in joint activities, and we are willing to bring our “best practice” to other ENABLE-regions.
During the meetings and with the following telephone arrangements we became acquainted with projects of the local development company at Gotha/Thuringia, the KEG. It is a public company, owned by the City of Gotha. The KEG runs the local center of entrepreneurship (GET). Together with an assigned consultant enterprise the KEG is experienced in common programmes of training, coaching and supervising of mostly young start ups.
The common project aims the exchange of experiences on methodology and project-based activities. It allows to develop a process of exchange and learning which can grow over a long time to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the concerned communities.
Start Ups are the germs of a stably structured, medium-size shaped economy. Both Western Norway and Thuringia need more young people to start their own businesses. We need in general to increase the number of start-ups and innovations. It is necessary to help the young people to start their own businesses, to make it more common and to create a culture in entrepreneurship.
But the young Start-up-companies carry the higher risc: in Thuringia e.g. approximately 30 % of all enterprises existed no longer than 3 years (figures from 2003). According to results of research and investigations the lack of financing, information deficits, lack of qualification and lack of planning often causes the failure. Innovation Norway Sogn og Fjordane has developed an instrument called “the Alchymist” which focusses on the special needs and problems young people (age 18-35 years old) are facing if they want to start their own businesses. They have tested this instrument through 5 projects. In Norway and Thuringia the coordinated work will bring suitable instruments into practice to minimise riscs and develop potential strengths. With these instruments we are pointing out the qualification necessities and possibilities at an early time. We now want to develop this instrument further, and are sure that the cooperation between Norwegian and German partners will lead to a successfull output. Innovation Norway want to share the “best practice”, and to develop this instrument further through learning about similar “best practice” in Thuringia.
We want to share our best practice through arranging a new project at the autumn of 2005 in Sogn og Fjordane, as well as developing this instrument at the same time (testing it) through a partnership with partners from Thuringia. We believe this will lead to a successfull output. The Thuringia partner will learn about our practice, and together we will bring it further through an exchange of experience. The essence will be how to bring “the international aspect” into the Alchymist. Young entrepreneurs today have to face a global market almost whatever their product/offer are. So each partner has to bring this big topic into his regional development and over all we can help to initiate international contacts too.
A second output of the project is regarding our cooperation with Sogn og Fjordane Unversity College. They are involved in “the Alchymist” through the use of the special concept for education called REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship Through Action Learning from Georgia, USA). Our contacpersons are Ivar Offerdal and Anders Fitje. Sogn og Fjordane University College will sign up as a partner in the project.
Contribution to reach the aim
We have an instrument which we want to develop further. The “new” instrument will lead to a increased number of successfull start-ups for young entrepreneurs. A second output is that these entrepreneurs will share their experience with other possible entrepreneurs. Because of this the project will increase the culture for entrepreneurship and innovation (stimulation) in a region. The common work on this project has to use classical and digital media work widely. The use of these means will help to spread information, to give ideas and examples of entrepreneurship, it will motivate and promote small scaled networking in this field. This is of importance regarding to a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. It is of importance that young people early are capable of starting and realising their own businesses.
So far “the Alchymist” have had a successfull output (a good number of actually start-ups), but “the international aspect” have not been fully integrated. In the partnership with the KEG at Thuringia we will develop the instrument further so that the participants (young entrepreneurs at the age 18-35 years old) also will get help regarding to “the global market”. It is of importance to learn how to consider the international possibilities. Like this the regions (here Sogn og Fjordane and Thuringia) will develop to competitive regions with internationlised entrepreneurship basis.
One of the maine topic in this application is the exchange of knowledge, best practice and experience.