Every young person has a right to have a say in society and to be entrepreneurial

Participation, as young people’s say in society, expressing their wishes and making their voices heard, and entrepreneurship as young people’s initiatives, ideas and activities and the execution of those just as the young people want and need.  Participation and entrepreneurship in the youth field go hand in hand in creating broad-based opportunities for self-development and applying the maximal potential for the benefit of themselves, young people or the community.

Participation and entrepreneurship are equally necessary components in activities aimed at a young target group. Otherwise, it would be impossible to ensure the success of the activity, initiative, or service, because it is unknown whether it meets the expectations, needs, challenges, or opportunities of the target group.  It is also important to involve the target group through activities or development, in a way that they would initiate or lead different processes, bear different roles and tasks suitable for their abilities. Therefore, the most important link in activities that are aimed at young people is their own participation, involvement and self-employment, responsibility, and gaining experience.

The contribution of young people themselves and their own ideas, be it a project, café, own initiative, or volunteering, supports courage, expressing opinions, independence, development of work habits, initiative, entrepreneurial interest, and many other qualities in youth. 

What is participation?

Youth participation means that young people have a say in decisions that concern them, whether at home, school, hometown or municipality, but also in Estonia, Europe, and potentially even all over the world.  The basis of participation is inclusion.

  • Inclusion means activities that create a suitable environment for participation and inclusion is a situation where you can realise yourself according to your abilities and wishes. 
  • In active participation, young people make their own decisions and offer solutions, and in passive participation they participate in the activities offered by society.
  • A form of participation is a combination of an agreed upon structure and principles, e.g. youth council, student council, and an opportunity of participation is an irregular activity with structure or format, e.g. a participatory café or youth parliament.

What is entrepreneurship?

Youth entrepreneurship is expressed in the ability of young people to act in an active and motivated manner. It includes the will to dream, create, bring to life, initiate, set goals, realise, solve, and carry out. The basis of entrepreneurship is will.

  • A set of qualities and attitudes that an entrepreneurial person has, brings together creativity, initiative, responsibility, caring, implementation, and planning. Problem solving, cooperation skills, and communication are equally important.
  • Initiating and executing ideas is common for an entrepreneurial person, and self-management as coping with one’s feelings, self motivation, and development, is important. 
  • Enterprise is not entrepreneurship but an important component for an enterprise (business, student company) or an entrepreneur, is an entrepreneurial attitude that contributes to and supports the execution and management of ideas. 

How to support youth participation and entrepreneurship during youth work week?

Youth work week is a platform for young people and youth workers. In its framework, various events, activities and initiatives are planned, implemented and carried out. Youth work is carried out with young people, which is why young people have to be involved in every stage, i.e. initiate, create, plan, participate, and carry out.  This is how a young person will acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for independent life, i.e. develop communication and teamwork skills, entrepreneurship, participation, independence, planning and much more besides. 


  • Edu ja Tegu Entrepreneurship education programme, website https://ettevotlusope.edu.ee/.
  • Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, website: https://www.koda.ee/et/uudised/ettevotlikkuse-projektijuht-milleks-meile-ettevotlikkus
  • Estonian National Youth Council, website: www.enl.ee/noorte-osalus/
  • EAS (Enterprise Estonia), website: https://www.eas.ee/alustav/ettevotjaks-saamise-otsus/sobivus-ettevotjaks/
  • Inclusion Handbook for Officials and NGOs: https://issuu.com/emsl/docs/kaasamise_k_siraamat
  • Youth Information Handbook: www.teeviit.ee/noorteinfo

Published in the youth information portal Teeviit in 2021.

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