Europe awards a dozen entrepreneurial projects of students from Cultural Management and Social Economy at the UV

  • Fundació General UV
  • July 26th, 2021
D'esquerra a dreta: Larissa de Moura, Ana María Soler i Carles Vera.
D'esquerra a dreta: Larissa de Moura, Ana María Soler i Carles Vera.

A dozen students from the Universitat de València have been awarded with the EYE European grants, in the framework of the collaborative programme JUVEN-EYE for the promotion of youth employment managed by the Fundació General UV. These are 10 of their own ideas for entrepreneurship in the cultural sectors (especially affected by the covid-19 pandemic) and social economy sectors, which will begin to be developed in the EU country of the students' choice.

JUVEN-EYE consists of promoting the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) Programme, a European transnational exchange project that offers new entrepreneurs and people wishing to set up a business the opportunity to learn from experienced entrepreneurs in other participating countries.

All the authors of the winning projects will also benefit from an itinerary of professional orientation and training in professional skills, provided by UVjob. They will also receive an online advice and training session to help them set up a worker cooperative.

Seven students and graduates from the Universitat de València, Carlos Pérez (Sociology and Political Science), Ana María Soler (Social Education and Tourism), Óscar García (Political Science and Sociology), Mariele de Almeida (PhD student in Gender Studies and Equality Policies), Larissa de Moura and Túlio Ribeiro (Master in Social Economy), and Carles Vera (Political Science and Public Administration, and Master in Cultural Management) have won these grants; two students of the Inter-University Master's Degree in Cultural Management (UV-UPV), Helena Blankenstein and Sara López; and a student of the Master's Degree in Economics and Finance of the Catholic University of Milan, Italy, who will spend a stay in a Spanish company, Giovanni Autuori.

Three of them will enjoy the experience this year through INSOMNIA (manager of the EYE programme), while the rest have preferred to postpone their European stay until 2022. Among the first is Larissa de Moura, a Brazilian who will be travelling this summer: "I am in the process of arranging with a host company in Greece, a very powerful destination for developing our presence in Europe based on agreements with local social entities, companies and universities, all with the support of a host entity that is a benchmark in the innovation and social entrepreneurship sector", she says.

Larissa, an ADE graduate with a Master's degree in Social Economy from the UV, is part of the INMI team, a social startup in the travel-tech sector that works "for a world without borders". She is co-founder and CEO of the all-in-one platform #somosinmi, created, as she explains, to facilitate social, inclusive and sustainable international experiences by offering a catalogue of educational programmes and a complete service ecosystem associated with the experience so that young people from different backgrounds can study and put into practice in different European destinations. Mariele de Almeida (Brazil) and Giovanni Autuori (Italy) are also members of this team. All three will have the opportunity to benefit from EYE grants.

A leap to the Valencian Community

The Valencian Ana María Soler, from La Pobla del Duc, presents her project with a tourist-cultural profile. With a degree in Social Education from the UV and training as a tourist guide, assistant and manager, Ana María proposes to direct the tourist's gaze towards the Valencian Community with a varied offer of themed guided routes to enjoy gastronomic experiences and a relationship with nature and handicrafts. Sustainability and inclusion are the keys to Volem València, a company that offers inclusive guided tours adapted to the needs of each person. "They are routes led by official guides and have accessibility in common so that everyone can travel and enjoy the place visited regardless of their abilities," says Ana María.

Although she will not take up the grant until 2022, Ana María is already considering several destination countries, such as Greece, Finland, Malta and Portugal. "These are places I don't know and I would really like to learn about their culture and tourism", she admits. On the other hand, she acknowledges that JUVEN-EYE "is a great project for exchanging experiences and learning from each other about cultural management and the social economy in different countries". She adds: "Moreover, in the context we are living in, marked by covid-19, social programmes like this one are even more important, since they are a source of support and cultural exchange".

Another Valencian student, Carles Vera, UV graduate and Master in Cultural Management (UV-UPV), is the founder of one more of the winning JUVEN-EYE projects, Motion Academy, a school of parkour and movement (or Art of Displacement), consisting of "overcoming obstacles and expressing oneself through the environment using one's own body". "We face one challenge after another to grow physically and mentally in a non-competitive environment, so we have designed an inclusive outdoor Parkour and ADD teaching programme. The idea is to learn directly in the parkour training places in Valencia, turning the city into a safe place for fun and training," he explains. To do this, the school uses its own teaching method to ensure the physical, mental and social development of the students in an inclusive way.

"Motion Academy is already running, the question is how it is going to develop from now on. It is an educational project that works on the basis of pedagogical innovation and that I am interested in reinforcing by visiting other projects in Europe," says Carles.

For this reason, he started JUVEN-EYE. "We would like to weave a network for the dissemination of knowledge and innovation, so that other people can be inspired by us to carry out their ideas," he says. So, he is thinking of various candidate countries to enjoy the grant: "Denmark is one of them because there is a company there with a very interesting associative branch of space design, they are perhaps the most innovative; I am also studying the possibility of going to Finland because they created the first national federation of Art of Displacement, it is an entity that is already very developed; but I do not rule out other countries or cities, such as London or Edinburgh, for example, where there are very powerful and professional projects similar to Motion Academy".

The rise of Carles' idea is evidence that, despite celebrating its first anniversary in the midst of a pandemic, it has continued to reinvent and rebuild itself. "We had to take a digital turn, boosting our YouTube channel, which already has nearly 3,000 subscribers, so that the initial team of three people is now made up of a dozen. Within this framework, JUVEN-EYE appears as an opportunity to complete our project", which Carles defines as "social and sustainable" whose main concern is people and the environment.

JUVEN-EYE, a collaborative programme

JUVEN-EYE is a collaborative project involving seven social entities that are members of the Spanish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation (ReFAL). Thus, the Fundació General de la Universitat de València joins the management and promotion of the JUVEN-EYE programme together with the Fundación Asamblea de Ciudadanos y Ciudadanas del Mediterráneo (FACM), Iniciativas de Futuro para una Europa Social (IFESCOOP), Mostra Viva del Mediterrani, Europimpulse Network, Jóvenes hacia la Solidaridad y el Desarrollo (JOVESÓLIDES) and FEVECTA.

JUVEN-EYE launch has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) which, through the 2020 Call for 'ReFAL Intercultural Projects', promotes various joint initiatives of members of the Network.

All information and activities about the project can be followed on social media with the hashtag #JuvenEye.