Creating Employment Opportunities of Young Graduates in the Cross-Border Area (EMPLOYOUTH)


Macedonia/ Greece



04.02.2018 – 30.09.2019


The present economic and business situation in the cross border area bears the marks of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008. Smes play an important role in the economy of both countries, but their development is hampered by their low access to finance. Due to these difficulties in obtaining financial assistance, economic and social recovery is undermined. Under the pressures of the deep economic and social crisis, both countries are in a process of fostering entrepreneurship as a key lever for growth and job creation by creating a simpler business entrepreneurial ecosystem. It becomes obvious that Greece and Macedonia, would largely benefit from an intervention to the societal system of values, and the enhancement of a culture of creativity, innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship, based on new ideas. Higher unemployment both on total active population and on youth is the main common concern as it also leads young and skilled staff to migrate out of the eligible area, hence are issues that require closer attention and action.


The project’s overall objective is to primarily build on the human capital of the area and to contribute to networking and establishing synergies between the Academic Institutions and the business community thus creating more opportunities for young people and women to enter the labor market and to readjust their qualifications and skills or either to start their own business (self-employment). The main expected outputs include the operation of preincubation for 30 young graduates with new, innovative ideas in Greece and Macedonia (following their selection from a Scientific Committee out of the 120 young graduates previously accommodated in Entrepreneurship Nests in Serres, Kilkis, Edessa and Bitola) providing a good training environment for potential entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial teams by putting them in an active position. Partners consider that cross border collaboration will improve the quality of results as compared to those achieved by individual, on-off efforts and highlight the need for creating the necessary conditions for such cross border cooperation among stakeholders, giving added value to the project. In this way participating project partners and young graduates- being the main target group – will create a culture of cross border cooperation among them and try to jointly overcome the obstacles they face when operating independently in a highly competitive environment. The new and innovative feature of the project is that young graduates / potential entrepreneurs can already test their business idea during their accommodation in pre incubators and gain business experience without having an own company.


  1. Selection of interested graduates ( 120 beneficiaries from both countries) to participate in the ACCELERATION PROGRAM  for developing of business idea.

  2. -Selected beneficiaries (60 in Greece and 60 in North Macedonia) will receive MENTORING SERVICES and COACHING focusing on developing their project ideas (Specialized consulting services to young graduates in order to mature their idea, to better stand on their legs or transform their business model)
  3. In parallel, selected beneficiaries will go through an express TRAINING PROGRAM of 40 hours (Educational courses aiming at developing individual skills related to personal profile presentation, negotiation skills, strengthening team spirit, develop leadership skills, promote the idea / service / product, pitching techniques, business model canvas etc.)
  4. NETWORKING EVENTS (Business executives with different scientific backgrounds and with long experience in the business world will present their company, its successes stories and the difficulties encountered in their entrepreneurial path).
  5. -Creating Startups entrepreneurship PLATFORM for promoting the innovative business ideas, which will be accessible to all.
  6. Acceleration program in both countries will end with a DEMO DAY  ( Networking event that will ensure the promotion of the idea in the labor market, finding investors; ensure the conditions for setting up a business, contacts with relevant business focus with that of their innovative idea).
  7. PREINCUBATION PHASE -The innovative business ideas p[resented at the DEMO DAY will be further evaluated and the scientific committee will draw up a list of the innovative ideas and will ultimately favor the 15 ideas (either individually or in groups of 3-4 persons) from each country that will be accommodated in the pre-incubation for a period of 3 months. Beneficiaries from Greece and North Macedonia will be accommodated in the pre-incubation facilities in Thessaloniki and Bitola respectively.
  8. At the end of the pre-incubation phase, a cross-border competition of innovative ideas will be organized (all PPs) in which the 30 beneficiaries from both countries will be involved and 5 of them (individual or in group) that will gather the highest score will travel to Athens and visit a venture capital fund.



The desired result of “EMPLOYOUTH” project are: build on existing potential of the region and human resources, focusing on educated youth to create jobs, entering to labour market and enhancement of self employment of 20 young graduates in the cross  border area, upgrade of young graduates skills and abilities, limit the brain drain phenomena the countries are facing lately.


EUR 850,200.00


EU (Interreg IPA Cross-Border Cooperation with Greece)


Chamber Of Comerce and Industry of Serres

Research Committee – University of Western Macedonia – Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research and Development society of Kilkis chamber of Commerce and Industry 

St. Kliment Ohridski University – Bitola, faculty of Information and Communication technologies – Bitola

Chamber of Pella

Foundation for sustainable Economic development Preda Plus