TVT Innovation, a development non-profit in The Var, France is dedicated to fostering innovation and economic development in Toulon and the Var, France (Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region).
In 2018, TVT Innovation asked all ecosystem actors in Europe a crucial question, “How can we build the proper stimulus package to initiate, facilitate, and foster entrepreneurship and innovation mindsets among young people and job seekers from urban and rural areas?”. TVT was seeking a solution that could stimulate entrepreneurial and innovation mindsets among young job seekers in the region that were struggling to find employment.
Through the European Commission’s platform “Social Challenges EU”, Bridge for Billions answered TVT’s posting for solutions to their challenge.
Spurring on entrepreneurship in youth from the Toulon region
With unemployment rates around 11% in Toulon and the Var, the regional development agency was eager to find a solution to foster innovation and business creation among at-risk populations: young people and long-term job seekers. The individuals that the city of Toulon wanted to reach lived in isolated areas and didn’t have access to job opportunities or the resources needed to create a business.
On the one hand, TVT had a history of implementing successful programs, but their reach was limited to the people living close to Toulon.On the other hand, TVT saw that the target groups for the challenge were only lacking the skills, or sometimes the self-determination, to make their own job opportunities. his is where Bridge for Billions came in.
Tackling youth unemployment with entrepreneurship training
Bridge for Billions offered TVT Innovation a multi-step solution to their challenge, using the power of technology and leveraging on our experience developing online entrepreneurship methodologies:
• A free online self-assessment tool, Skillon, that helped test-takers identify their strengths as potential entrepreneurs and offered them mini-challenges to develop their skills.
• A 1-day Flash Hackathon with participation from over 80 young people from the Toulon region, facilitated by TVT Innovation and Bridge for Billions.
• 3 months of online incubation with Bridge for Billions as a prize to the 15 winning teams of the Flash Hackathon event in Toulon. Bridge was selected from amongst 9 solution providers that bid on the project, based on our experience using digital platforms to develop entrepreneurship training opportunities in remote regions and underprivileged communities like in the rural areas of Toulon.
After a successful hackathon with 80 young people participating, 60 young people working on 15 projects were selected to validate their idea via a private incubation platform we created for this project. The entrepreneurs were supported by 18 mentors who worked with the teams to successfully incubate and structure their business ideas for implementation.
To date, 440 hopeful entrepreneurs have taken our Skillon online self-assessment test and discovered the natural skills that they can now tap into and how to channel these toward creating a business. Through this project, we fostered a strong relationship with our partners from TVT Innovation and the Toulon ecosystem and also received great feedback from all the young people that were involved.