Empowering youth through environmental entrepreneurship

May 16, 2024News

In today’s world, the intersection of environmental challenges and social innovation presents a unique opportunity for addressing pressing issues while fostering entrepreneurial skills among the youth. The Initiation project in its piloting phase implemented at I.P.S.S.E.O.A Pietro Piazza in Palermo, Italy, exemplifies this approach by engaging high school students in a journey of environmental awareness, social entrepreneurship, and innovation.

The Project aimed at empowering young people to become agents of positive change in their communities by underlying the connection between environmental issues and the chances of social entrepreneurship to solve them and adopting a multidisciplinary approach, combining theory and practice in its several tools developed. At Istituto Piazza, the project was tailored to two classes of high school students, providing them with the tools and knowledge to address environmental issues through innovative solutions.

The Initiation project comprised eight modules training designed to guide students through the process of understanding environmental challenges, ideating solutions, and developing virtual social enterprises. These modules covered various topics, including:

  • Environmental Awareness: students were introduced to key environmental issues affecting their community and the world.
  • Social Entrepreneurship Basics: fundamentals of social entrepreneurship were explored, emphasizing the importance of creating sustainable solutions with a positive social impact.
  • Ideation and Innovation: students engaged in creative thinking exercises to generate innovative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Business Model Development: practical sessions and theory sessions were held to help students understand viable business models for social enterprises.
  • Marketing and Communication: strategies for effectively communicating the mission and values of social entrepreneurship were discussed.
  • Financial Planning: students learned about budgeting, fundraising, and financial sustainability.
  • Prototyping and Testing: prototypes of their virtual social enterprises were developed and tested for feasibility and effectiveness.
  • Pitching and Communication: the basic tools of communication were discussed.

As the project progressed, students engaged in brainstorming sessions and in games, to develop innovative solutions to environmental problems. Practical workshops equipped students with skills in business model development, marketing strategies, financial planning, and presentation techniques.

At the project’s conclusion, students invented in all its components their virtual social enterprises, showcasing their entrepreneurial ideas and the practical steps they had taken to address environmental challenges. The Initiation project not only provided students with valuable skills and knowledge but also fostered a sense of empowerment and agency, inspiring them to actively contribute to positive change in their community.

Overall, the piloting demonstrated the potential of  the resources and of integrating environmental education with social entrepreneurship to empower youth and address pressing environmental issues. Through hands-on learning experiences and collaborative projects, students gained valuable insights and skills that will serve them well in their future paths.

If you work as a teacher or study and are interested in the training modules described here, check out the Initiation platform: log in to “eLearning” and then “Visit the Platform.” To learn more about the project contact Lisa Avarello: lisa.avarello@danilodolci.org.

INITIATION – Fostering green social innovation and social entrepreneurship in school education project is financed by the Erasmus+ program (Key Action 2 – Cooperation Partnership in school education) and aims to  foster the social innovation and social entrepreneurship mind-set of high schools and their motivation to become more community oriented, and be actively involved in designing solutions for environmental problems that their local societies are facing.


For further information follow us on Facebook, visit our web page https://initiation-project.eu/ or contact Lisa Avarello: lisa.avarello@danilodolci.org.