To attract and inspire more young people to start businesses in the bioeconomy sector, Alberto Giacometti collects stories from young entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs, who come from different countries in the Baltic Sea region, share their experiences on how they went from an idea to an established company.
– We want to inspire young entrepreneurs and give them an aha-feeling, where they realize that it is possible to do things differently and to create a sustainable company.
Alberto Giacometti works as a researcher at the Nordic research institute Nordregio, which together with seven other actors in the Baltic Sea region runs the BeUBio project. The project aims to promote young people’s participation in the growing bioeconomy sector in the Baltic Sea region.
Part of the project is the stories that Alberto Giacometti and his colleagues at Nordregio have produced.
– “Storytelling” is a powerful communication tool. We describe an entrepreneur’s journey in an easy way so that everyone can understand and recognize themselves.
It is precisely this aspect – recognition – that he believes is central. A major challenge for involving more young people in the bioeconomy sector is otherwise the feeling that they are facing something big, difficult, and invincible.
Through the stories, it becomes more concrete and tangible.
– We have chosen to write these stories from a human perspective instead of a business perspective, which does not tell the reader anything about the journey itself. If I were to establish a company, I would not just need a result. I also need to know how to design a business plan and how I can overcome a wide range of challenges along the way. Whether they are technical, financial, legal or my own personal fears, says Alberto.
Hans-Olof Stålgren, who is the project manager of BeUBio at the Swedish Board of Agriculture, explains why it has been so important to focus on young people’s participation in the bioeconomy sector:
– We will move to an economy that is not based on fossil raw materials. This means that the new innovations, the exciting new companies, and the jobs will largely be in the bioeconomy sector. Therefore, we want to increase the awareness, interest and knowledge of young people who choose for the future.
An important goal of the project is to connect national and regional youth organizations in some form of platform for young people involved in sustainability issues linked to the bioeconomy sector in the Baltic Sea region. Exactly how that platform will be designed remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, says Hans-Olof Stålgren: there are lots of inspiring young entrepreneurs in the bioeconomy sector in the Baltic Sea region.
– Through our project, we have created contacts between many youth organizations and got to see fantastic examples of young entrepreneurs in bioeconomy sector. Not least their journeys to reach where they are today is something we have learned a lot from. Above all, it provides a realistic picture of highs and lows for young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.
The BeUBio project is funded by the Swedish Institute through the funding scheme Seed funding for cooperation projects in the Baltic Sea region.
Swedish Institute provides seed funding for joint projects in which organisations based in Sweden can start and expand collaborations to meet transnational challenges together with organisations from the Baltic Sea region countries including Russia and the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership. A new call opens 17 November 2021 and closes 15 February 2022.