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Young Entrepreneurs – Lyon by Light

In Lyon Team Red had a discussion in Cooperation with the local University group of „Esprit critique“,
a group that promotes Media competition among young people, so they get the means to inform and
express themselves. In this discussion 20 AEGEE members from all over Europe participated actively.
Among other things they debated on topics such as “Flexibility in the job market”.  In Switzerland or
Finland its quite easy to find a new job, when leaving the old one, so it is not considered a big problem,
especially as a result of the successful implementation of the Youth Guarantee system, while in Spain
and Italy, it is almost impossible. Everyone agreed that more awareness need to be raised on the issue
in order to ease the situation but also the importance of flexibility for the companies was underlined
as being crucial for achieving mutually satisfying results.

Everybody agreed that unpaid internships and the ones that are paid below any existential minimum
are not acceptable. There should be clear guidelines for internships that provide a balance between
gaining of experience and cheap labour force, without consuming real jobs. Internships aim to bridge
the gap between graduation and employment, providing us with valuable practical skills; one of them
is to reconsider working for free and even overburdening ourselves for a positive reference but no
clear-cut benefits?

AEGEE Lyon hosted Benni, Héloïse and Natalia generously during their event of „Lyon by lights“
a big city festival, with light shows and installations everywhere and over 3 million visitors
– which made everything more complicated but definitely worthwhile.

Additionally Team Red had an interview with two young entrepreneur students from Belgium
and Switzerland. “Entrepreneurs are absolutely essential for Europe as they involve other people
in their projects and create jobs when opening their own business.” Nonetheless Alexandra (23)
also mentioned the negative image of entrepreneurs in some countries and the prejudices she faces
as someone who wants her own company: “A lot of people feel like entrepreneurs are rich people
whose only goal is to make more money out of what they already have. They don’t see the amount
of work and the danger that lies behind it.”

On the other hand social entrepreneurship (opening a business with the goal to change society for
the better) is much more respected even though the “creators” are often people who have made
money out of their own business beforehand. Lea (22) thinks that society does not understand why
one opens his/her own business. “School only prepares you for a regular job. Be good in school
and you’ll find work. Therefore they both agree that entrepreneurship should be more encouraged
and promoted. For example through a ”how-to-open-your- own-company-stand” during job fairs
at universities.