EPIC Youth

EPIC YOUTH  - ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN POPULAR CULTURE 
Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership in the field of YOUTH

EPIC Youth (ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN POPULAR CULTURE) seeks to provide new tools for young people to conceive, form, launch, market, and manage a pop culture enterprise.   Youth unemployment and under-employment remains high across Europe and is persistent in the regions participating in the project. This is compounded by low levels of entrepreneurial activity: Northern Ireland has the lowest rate of total entrepreneurial activity among young people aged 18-24 years (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2015 UK Report).  However, some young people experience greater barriers to accessing entrepreneurship education than others, especially those outside formal education.   Pop culture entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing areas within the creative industries sector with new businesses being created constantly. It relies strongly on new ways of doing business - shoestring entrepreneurship and dominance of social media marketing.  It embraces creativity and innovation; factors that mean that young people are attracted to opportunities within the dynamic sector.  Importantly, pop culture entrepreneurship offers young people with scarce resources an independent route to income generation, integration and creative fulfillment.

EPIC Youth is designed to teach entrepreneurship to young people and those who work with them (youth workers, enterprise centres etc).  All our outputs contribute to this aim, and are built around reaching out and teaching young people in a way that is more culturally appropriate and reflects the diversity among young people in our society today. In this way, the project enables the participation of a much wider group of young people than is possible through traditional VET and academic structures.     Entrepreneurship skills provide young people with a route to business creation, self-employment and financial empowerment; while entrepreneurial thinking encourages innovation and resilience in all spheres, personal and professional. As our economy and society undergo transformation, these qualities are important for all young people. 

In recent years, there has been an underground rise of pop culture start-ups in entertainment (such as movies, music, television, and video games), literature, photography, news (as in people/places in news), fashion/clothes, technology, slang and art.  Pop culture is emerging as the meeting point of culture, entrepreneurship and technology, and provides a specific opportunity for innovative and stimulating approaches to education and training.   It offers young entrepreneurs the exciting opportunity to craft and operate businesses with personalities that are as diverse as the people who run them.   

As culture and business become increasingly interwoven, popular culture entrepreneurship is an economic as well as sociocultural activity, based on innovation, visionary exploitation of opportunities and risk-taking behaviour which can enhance livelihoods and create cultural value and wealth for both creative producers and consumers of cultural services and products.  

PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION
Entrepreneurship skills provide young people with a route to business creation, self-employment and financial empowerment; social entrepreneurship can empower them to generate positive impact in their community.  Entrepreneurial thinking encourages innovation and resilience in all spheres, personal and professional. As our economy and society undergo transformation, these qualities are important for all young people. 

EPIC for Youth is developed in the context of increasing youth employment as central to the EU's employment policy, within the context of the Europe 2020 growth and jobs strategy. Fostering 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. Entrepreneurship has been defined by the EU as a key competence since 2006 and grew in importance with the 2013 Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2020  It highlights that youth work and non-formal learning play an important role in developing the creative and innovative potential of young people including entrepreneurial skills.   

In UK, Ireland, Croatia, Poland and Malta, youth under-employment is a concern, as young people fail to find jobs commensurate with their education and talents.  Entrepreneurship is widely recognized as a means to combat youth unemployment and social exclusion and thanks to the Entrepreneurship Action Plan more and more young people now gain access to entrepreneurial experience before leaving school or university.  But what about the young people already outside the education system, and facing unemployment, underemployment or disadvantage in the labour market?   EPIC for Youth is based on the premise that we can –and must– do more to build entrepreneurial skills among this group of young people with raw talent.  Pop culture entrepreneurship provides the ideal context for  promoting entrepreneurship education for youth as it: 

• is an accessible entry point and innovation hotbed for low cost /shoestring culture entrepreneurship e.g. experiential products such as Game of  Throne tourism experiences, 
• capitalises increasing customer demand for international, cultural diverse specialities opens up business opportunities for young entrepreneurs 

PROMOTING EMPOWERMENT 
Young people often feel unable to influence the factors that shape the world around them.  Many young people feel they are locked out or under-utilised by the formal job market.  Entrepreneurship education is an important way to combat this: the teaching enabled by IO2 and IO3 will provide young people with tools such as problem solving, initiative, innovation, resilience that will help them feel confident in their abilities to shape their own future and contribute to society around them.  In a more concrete way, entrepreneurship education offers them a vital route to self-employment, financial autonomy and fulfilment in the context of personal choice.

The project contributes to empowerment through its resources, but through its work with the providers of entrepreneurship education – as they improve their understanding of young people and the pedagogic strategies they employ, we will see an increase in the effectiveness of their work, that is, a long term increase in their institutional capacity to empower young people to become entrepreneurs in a diverse, multicultural society.  

INNOVATION: What is innovative about this project? What is the added value?

EPIC for Youth is innovative because: 
•    While research on this form of entrepreneurism is not entirely new, the scale of the rapid growth of pop culture opportunities including pop culture tourism in participating countries is new.
•    This year in particular, there is a strong focus on cultural heritage.  However, “traditional” cultural heritage marketing tends to attract and older demographic. This project enables the enterprise and tourism sectors to target a different market, a younger demographic, and therefore provides qualitatively new for brand development and marketing strategies for SMEs.

The initial, tangible results of the project will be 4 intellectual outputs and 1 learning activity: 

1.    Introduce youth workers and stakeholders to the value of pop culture entrepreneurship (IO1)  VMN & BDEL and effective use of digital tools in non-formal learning (IO2) AHE

2    Develop the Pop Culture Entrepreneurship framework, published and disseminated as a set of OERs (IO3) _ MMS   - Open Education Resources for Pop Culture Youth Entrepreneurs are tools to enable youth organisations, VET and business support organisations to adopt a systematic approach to training key target groups, students, unemployed and those facing socio economic challenges  in the development of innovative and sustainable products and services based on pop culture entrepreneurship opportunities.

3    Online Pop Culture Collaborative Learning and Knowledge Exchange Platform, gives direct access to training and collective learning for young people and those who work with them to stimulate pop culture youth entrepreneurship IO4 - EUEI

Put the framework into action: 12 youth workers and 12 young people will participate in the Pop Culture  Youth Entrepreneurship programme (Croatia) 

The PARTNERSHIP

BDEL – Banbridge/ Down   - The Banbridge connection -  the Linen Mill Film & TV Studios is based in Banbridge - https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/game-of-thrones...  

Journey Free - http://www.journeyfree.co.uk/workshops/creative-workshops
 
AHE –(as in CCIC)  University of Humanities and Economics in Lodz. Łódź, is the third largest city in Poland, is a cultural phenomenon and a fascinating place inhabited by distinguished artists, scientists and industrialists. The city is a cinematic chameleon, and in the last twenty years its eclectic architecture and the vestiges of its once thriving textile industry also have attracted filmmakers from abroad who have transformed Łódź into Poland’s most cinematic city- http://culture.pl/en/article/hollylodz-a-film-lovers-guide-to-polands-mo...
 
VIsmednet, Malta -a fast-growing organization focused on youth development through training and internships, with a strong international outlook. They have developed a specialism in cultural activities, including their work in oral heritage www.collectingmemories.vismednet.org and played a key role in the Youth Enterprise in Arts project.  They are heavily involved in Valletta Capital of Culture 2018 and ensuring a legacy from same. 
 
Croatia - key area in filming Game of Thrones 
 
Momentum is an Irish VET organisation focused on developing progressive learning programmes and platforms for education with special focus on the creative economy.  We ombine an intimate knowledge of the Irish cultural and enterprise landscape with the VET specialisms of blended learning and professional development training in creative entrepreneurship, rural economy regeneration, community stimulus training incorporating new approaches to marketing, innovation, internationalisation, competitiveness and business improvement. In popular culture, Momentum has worked with tourism bodies in the promotion of Moone Boy, set in Boyle, Co. Roscommon including the development of a Moone Boy trail and merchandise.  http://visitroscommon.com/MooneBoy/TabId/725/ArtMID/3578/ArticleID/10/Mo...
  
EUEI - Based in Denmark, European E-learning Institute (EUEI) specialises in the creation of powerful online platforms, immersive educational environments and provision of resources and tools to create truly valuable learning experiences.