Case study: Enterprise

by Kine Nordstokka on Thu, 2011-02-03 16:25
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Name: Enterprise
Location: Germany
Date Founded: 1999
Mission: Help disadvantaged young people to become self-employed

Background and aims

Enterprise was set up as an answer to the challenge of youth unemployment in Germany. The founder Norbert Kunz had spent years helping young, marginalised people to successfully gain training and qualifications. However, instead of finding a job, the young people continued to be unemployed. This led him to adopt a different approach where he decided to assist young people to set up their own enterprise and become self employed.

The pilot for Enterprise was set up in 1999, the first project in Germany of its kind. After a successful pilot phase the organisation itself was set up in 2000. Its model is now widely recognised in Germany and a network of cooperating initiatives has developed similar projects in different states. The Enterprise model is now available in the all East German federal states.

The Innovation

The Enterprise model proves that economically disadvantaged young adults can establish successful businesses. Enterprise offers free of charge training and mentoring for unemployed young people who want to become self-employed. It offers support to young people with innovative and brilliant ideas, but who are lacking start- up capital, contacts or experience. Through coaching, micro-lending and believing in them Enterprise empowers these youngpeople to make their plans reality.

Key Ingredients

Enterprise’s model of support is based on the four stages of orientation, planning, start- up and growing.

During the orientation phase Enterprise is mapping the participant’s prior knowledge, professional background, qualifications, training and skills. Consultants also go through the participant’s business plan to investigate how far it is developed. At the end of the skills testing the participant has a clear picture of its own strengths and weaknesses. From this the participant and the coaches develops an individual Enterprise- Founder Pass, a personal planning and management tool towards setting up a new enterprise. This plan ensures that the participant gets the qualifications it is missing, gets the support it needs and entails personal targets and clear goals towards setting up a viable business.

At the planning stage participants develop their business idea together with its consultants. The business plan includes developing the timetable for the project, researching the market and doing the groundwork for the project. Enterprise further provides a workspace with a PC, phone and fax, workshops to develop the business plan, practice centred seminars, meetings with experienced entrepreneurs and financial support.

During the start- up phase the business idea is turned into reality. Enterprise is supporting the participant with advice and handling all the formalities associated with setting up a new enterprise, such as obtaining permits, registration at the tax office and applications for membership at professional associations. Enterprise also offers support in negotiations with partners and authorities, registration of trademarks and placement of initial orders. If needed during this phase Enterprise offers microloans to set up the new enterprise.

The last stage is the grow stage where Enterprise assist the participant in ensuring that the business is sustainable and growing. Enterprise helps the new enterprise to continue to evolve and adapt to a changing market. The participant is individually coached during the first three years and gets the chance to attend regular events and meets professionals in business, founders, experienced entrepreneurs and others where they can share personal experiences and know-how related to enterprise start- up and management.


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