25 July 2019

Youth Exchange: [HR-277] Youth Ecopreneurship Sprint, 23.06.2019-30.06.2019, Zagreb, Croatia

How many young people are needed to generate business ideas that can solve current environmental problems of our society? The Youth Ecopreneurship Sprint youth exchange, hosted by our partners Ekonomska klinika, is proof that it takes less than one week and a group of driven young people gathered in an international environment to work towards a sustainable future. Miruna, Iulian, Bianca, George, and Ioana are the members of the Romanian team that has taken part in this project between 23 June 2018 and 30 June 2019 in Zagreb, Croatia. What did they learn?

The Romanian team 

Raising awareness of the importance of solving ecological issues sustainably and fostering the entrepreneurial mindset in young people’s minds were the two main goals of this project. Among other objectives were:

  • To learn about circular economy and sustainable development;
  • To exchange experiences and create networks between youth organizations on a European level;
  • To improve foreign language and intercultural competences;
  • To promote Erasmus+ Programme and its opportunities for young people;

The experience of the Romanian team proves that there are a few key elements in coming up with effective solutions towards sustainable development:

Leadership and initiative

Leadership and initiative are seen as necessary for achieving sustainable development. Knowledge, awareness, vision, and taking action are the main key elements standing at the root of creating opportunities.

This experience helped me to acknowledge my level of self-mobilization and openness in such a diverse intercultural context and to increase my wish to succeed in this area of leadership sustainability. We also realized that the profession of "youth changer" is one of the most difficult but has long-term substance. – Miruna
This youth exchange gave me the sprint to start my own eco-business and now I'm developing a new concept of eco-friendly products. – Iulian

More than theory

The theory is important, but we all know the indispensability of practice, especially in the urgency of nowadays environmental issues.

I'm now aware of all the risks and I know how to perform a proper market analysis before starting a business. I like how the program was structured and how it combined ecological problems with business […] All the knowledge gained during these 6 days guided us in creating a profitable company which, with its daily activity, has the potential to solve environmental issues and to help us contribute to a better future. – Iulian
Members of the GEYC ready for taking action

Rethinking how the business is done

Rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, reuse, replace are the six principles of sustainability. And rethinking business models is a crucial part of it.

This youth exchange made me once again rethink the idea of what business can mean and it made me more confident in the belief that you can be profitable while solving a social problem. Given that the problem already exists, that it is real, and that it is concerning everyone all around the world, you just have to come with a good idea and a plan. During these days we generated plenty examples of this. – Bianca

Raising awareness

Making people in your community aware of the importance of working towards a sustainable future is one of the main drivers towards success.

The purpose of this project was to observe, as a group, how to achieve the mass conviction of educating the population in the face of the chances of developing or contributing to the formation of a more "fresh" future for Z + generations, but not less profitable.  – Miruna 
Putting it all together, the activities and ideas that we have generated during Y.E.S. Zagreb Youth Exchange made me more aware of the ecological issues that our planet and humanity are faced with. – Bianca
The Romanian team discovering Zagreb

Knowledge sharing

Common welfare can be achieved only through cooperation, on both small and large scale. And cooperation means sharing knowledge and expertise.

As part of the experience, there was a lot of knowledge share. We were all there because we were concerned about the ecological issues that our generation is now facing. We all had our own ideas we discussed openly in a constructive manner. I really appreciated that the organizers introduced us to entrepreneurs who were already running "eco-businesses". These entrepreneurs were very positive, warm people and they were very excited to share their ideas and their knowledge. These are the kind of people whom I admire because I believe they have the energy to change the world for the better. –George


Sharing good practices within the local and global community is networking well done!

This Youth Exchange gave me, also, the opportunity of networking. I met plenty of people with the same interests as me and even people working in the same areas. It was a good chance to exchange ideas and to create new connections. I felt once again how useful and creative it is to be part of a multicultural environment. – Bianca  
I can say that at the end of this project I am very proud and enthusiastic that I had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of one of the most famous capitals and to improve spiritually. – Miruna 
When I arrived in Croatia, one day before the project, I went to visit the seaside, which was nice, but the real fun started once the project kicked off and I met all these lovely people from different countries in one of the coolest cities in Europe, Zagreb. It is really great when you go into such a project with people you've never met before and after just 6 days you feel like you would never leave that place and those people [...] I've learned a lot from this project, I've bonded with people from Bulgaria, Turkey or Greece and this helped me realize once more that there can be no barrier between people when you go into a conversation with an open mind and an open heart. To anyone who is hesitant about participating in an Erasmus+ project, I'd like to say that leaving your comfort zone is the best thing you can do to improve your life. Thank you, GEYC, for this wonderful opportunity! – George
The Romanian table at the intercultural night

It is known that experience speaks for itself and the GEYC community is convinced that it is so. Follow our page for more opportunities to be part of the change.