Launched on 1 January 2015, MY-WAY is a two-year project, which was co-funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The ambitious project aims to enhance and improve the collaboration and efforts of web entrepreneurship initiatives (startup hubs, accelerator networks, contests, etc.), internet and business experts (accelerators, mentors, etc.), educational actors (business teachers and trainers) and the young adults as the final beneficiaries (through student networks, student entrepreneurship initiatives, etc.).
Krisztina Toth, the Technical Coordinator of the project, explains:
“The goal of MY-WAY is to strengthen the web entrepreneurship ecosystem and the services offered to young founders by different organizations by actively engaging student networks and student entrepreneurship centres”.
The MY-WAY project, in which we (EU-Startups.com) are one of the proud partners, will increase the visibility and impact of web entrepreneurship initiatives and services by actively engaging student networks and support centres, and connecting them with the best schemes within the startup ecosystem. Young adults across Europe will benefit from a wide variety of information, discovery of synergies and linkages between the educational actors, industry professionals and their services. The MY-WAY initiative will research the biggest challenges of students and graduates in regards to entrepreneurship and represent the interests of the targeted young adults throughout all phases of the project.
As a first step, the MY-WAY consortium is currently conducting an online survey for students and graduates, as well as face-to-face interviews with student support centres at universities. The goal here is to identify the needs and challenges of students and the support centres in regards to web entrepreneurship. During the two-year project, the following main results will be achieved:
- MY-WAY will map the web entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe;
- Two stakeholder discussions will be organised in Brussels in October 2015 and January 2016;
- Four action plans will be developed in four countries/cities (Budapest, Zaragoza, London and Istanbul) for the sustainable enhancement and harmonisation of the support offered by the student enterprise centres and networks for targeted young adults;
- Three Student Enterprise Conferences will be organised in 2016;
- Signed agreements between student support centres and web entrepreneurship support providers in different European countries will strengthen sustainability;
MY-WAY will also support the Young European Disruptors’ Network (EDs) – a European community of entrepreneurs who will meet at summits, regional events, leadership development programmes and community-organised gatherings around Europe (Update – July 2023: The website seems to be out of use, and we therefore deactivated the original link). EDs are encouraged to learn from each other, and with each other, in a search for innovative solutions to present-day problems. The main scope of the network is to catalyse the next generation of disruptors through personal experiences that enable EDs to build knowledge and reach a better understanding of European challenges and trends. MY-WAY will set up a virtual secretariat for the Young European Disruptors’ Network in order to share information on activities of the Startup Europe initiatives and projects, engage stakeholders and enhance the cooperation.
Under the same call in Horizon 2020, a total number of ten projects have received funding. Like MY-WAY and the Young European Disruptors’ Network, they will work together in order to support the implementation of the Startup Europe Initiative, which aims to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and the growth of startups, thus injecting dynamism into the economy and society.
The MY-WAY consortium is composed of ten partners, from seven different countries, representing the main actors of the web entrepreneurship ecosystem. The project is coordinated by Europa Media Non-profit Ltd. (HU). The project partners are: London Association of Enterprise Agencies Ltd. – Capital Enterprise (UK), H-Farm Italia (IT), AEGEE European Students’ Forum (BE), NACUE – National Association of College and
University Entrepreneurs (UK), Bar-Ilan University (IL), Sabanci University (TR), EUCLID Network (UK), YES – European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs (BE) and Menlo Media UG – EU-Startups.com (DE).
Let me end this first introduction of the MY-WAY project with a direct question to you, dear reader: What are, in your mind, the most important steps to improve the web entrepreneurship ecosystem for students in Europe? In other words, what should be done to enable more students and young adults in Europe to become web entrepreneurs?
For further information on the MY-WAY project, visit the recently launched project website.
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