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Is EU funding opportunities administration an art?

We had the chance to meet volunteers and experts from Youth Business Network, an active group of young people based in Komotini a city in the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, northeastern Greece but with a global vision and activity.  YBN , is a network  of young people active around the world aimed to contribute to competitiveness and regional growth through an entrepreneurial mind-set in the next generation. The potential partners in this endeavour include educational institutions, embassies in host countries, governments, private sector and individuals. It will be achieved by creating awareness, organising debates, providing opportunities for practical business start-ups and facilitating peer partnerships. Founder Nikolaos Kostopoulos says the organisation will be a platform from which to provide moral and directional support to young people as they foster the necessary business skills to pursue their goals.

To promote youth employment and entrepreneurship, the EU and its member countries work together to:

  • Address the concerns of young people in employment strategies
  • Invest in the skills employers look for
  • Develop career guidance and counselling services
  • Promote opportunities to work and train abroad
  • Support quality internships/apprenticeships
  • Improve childcare and shared family responsibilities
  • Encourage entrepreneurship

In order to achieve those aims EU is supporting young people with various grant to invest to their ideas.

The EU does provide some significant opportunities, but it does have quite strict rules and criteria, and will not be relevant to all organisations in these sectors.  However, there are many beneficiaries which have received significant funding from one or more of these sources for their projects and initiatives.  

Youth entrepreneurship is high on the EU political agenda as a tool to combat youth unemployment and social exclusion as well as stimulating innovation among young people:

Youth work and non-formal learning play an important role in developing the creative and innovative potential of young people including entrepreneurial skills. Youth policy and programmes at EU and national level support this:

Youth Business Network has recently organized a training course under Erasmus Plus+ sponsored by the Greek National Agency called ” How to Administrate EU Grants more effectively ”  that took place in Greece. During that training 25 young people had the chance to practise the following skills :

  • What does a European commission appointed proposal evaluator typically look for?
  • What you need to remember when filling out the application? DOs and DONTs
  • Writing a winning proposal, live demo, taking a case study of a typical EU grant application and his idea, a detailed step-by-step demonstration of how to write a proposal with high chances of winning

YBN is intended to assist grant beneficiaries in the implementation of their grant projects in financed from EC. This training  tries to provide practical information on the implementation and procedures related to financial management, reporting and accounting in line with EU financial regulation

One of the main beliefs that has been the acrual factor for the implementation of this project was that EU funds are used for direct access by a small circle of practitioners, though these grants are a real opportunity for the financing of all projects with a European dimension. Mastering Eu funding techniques ensures a valuable skill for your career and are essential for the development of your organization leverage.

Below you can find some observations participants have synopsised during this training course and they are useful not only for EU grants applications but from private donors-sponsors -investors :

The purpose of a proposal

● Ask for money ● Inspire donors ● Inform ● Share your vision ● Build a relationship ● Communicate your success Explain why your project is important and different. Focus on the future, not something you’ve already done. MANAGEMENT RELATIONS IDEATION

TOP 5 PROBLEMS WITH PROPOSALS

1. THE PROPOSAL IS NOT A PROPOSAL 2. BORING! 3. THERE IS NO CLEAR PROBLEM STATEMENT. 4. LACK OF LOGICAL ORDER 5. DOESN’T SOLVE ANYTHING

Final Advice

1. Proofread 2. Organize your proposal to make it easier to read . 3. Don’t include color, staples, fancy, bindings or special materials Researching foundations

● Identify nonprofit organizations that are similar to yours ● Conduct research using Foundation Center (www.foundationcenter.org) of European Foundation Center (efr.be) ● First contact those foundation that have similar interest ● You don’t need to be a great writer to write a great proposal 2

Become a better storyte

Make sure you write proposal (for a future need) , not a report or something that has already been accompished or founded.

For more information you can visit Youth Business Network’s website www.ybn.club or stay up to date with their news through their official facebook page www.facebook.com/ybnacademy

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