In Conversation with Corallia: All About the STARTAB Programme
In 2019 we launched a pilot programme in Greece with our local partner Corallia. The programme aims to support young people to start their own business, and has worked with over 700 young people since it began delivery.
In April 2022, after three successful years, the programme rebranded to become the ‘STARTAB (Start A Business) Programme’, and continued expanding outside of Athens to support young people from across Greece. After this exciting development, we caught up with Corallia to talk about the programme and its fantastic expansion over the past year.
- The STARTAB programme now reaches across Greece. Why was this expansion needed?
We have seen huge interest from young people that live outside of Athens It was essential for us to support all young people, especially those that live in areas with limited resources and provide them support for them to grow, educate, get a mentor, and launch a business.
Today 55% of the applications are coming from young people living outside of Athens and 25% of the alumni, since the commencement of STARTAB, have planned to launch their businesses outside of Athens.
- What has your strategic thinking been around this expansion?
We are aiming to become the best entrepreneurship programme for young people in Greece.
The Covid-19 pandemic created the need for digital transformation of all the stages of the programme and this helped us accelerate the expansion and reach other areas faster.
As we started delivering the courses online, we were excited to see young people from all over Greece joining STARTAB. All of them were expressing their gratitude for the online delivery that gave them the opportunity to participate.
By expanding the geographical audience of the programme, we also expanded the sponsors and supporters. We have now the opportunity to further grow the programme with the financial and volunteer support of organisations and individuals that live outside of Athens.
- Can you tell us more about your outreach in universities, why you have chosen these?
Many studies have revealed that many Greek young people are interested in entrepreneurship, but they hesitate to launch a business. This seems to be rooted in the lack of entrepreneurial knowledge. Entrepreneurship is not included in the curriculum of most schools, universities, and colleges. As a result, students have no basic entrepreneurial skills, and they miss the opportunities it can offer. In many situations the universities are totally disconnected to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
By visiting universities and presenting the STARTAB Programme, we cover a substantial gap, we offer a great service to young people and in many cases STARTAB becomes the starting point for their entrepreneurial journey.
- How has your approach to outreach changed over the past two years?
Two years ago, we mostly attracted young people through physical events and activities. However, that changed due to Covid-19 when we had to focus on digital delivery.
As a result, we augmented our social media presence in most prominent platforms. In the past two years, the social media channels of the programme have grown significantly following the market trends. In parallel, we tested several digital advertising methods and found those that work best for the programme. We also regularly produced infographics for sponsors, mentors, and young participants and press releases to promote the programme widely and, establish new referral networks.
We worked to digitally transform all the stages of the programme. We partnered with universities and colleges all over Greece to deliver online information sessions.
For this year, we have a plan to deliver outreach activities monthly, not only to universities, but also to other organisations online and physically (e.g., community & media organizations).
- How have you been working with Prince’s Trust International to make the programme and its growth happen?
All members of the team are working together cooperatively to deliver the maximum value of the programme. We have regular communication with Prince’s Trust International to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.
We have bi-weekly meetings where we discuss operational updates as well as monthly meetings where we focus on the short- and long-term strategy. We have produced a comprehensive project management plan accompanied with an action tracker for effective, phased delivery of the programme, identifying the required support from Prince’s Trust International in sharing and adapting the programme framework and methodologies – and identifying where our experience can add value to suit local contexts.
Moreover, with the support of Prince’s Trust International, we have completed a theory of change workshop and have created a specific plan for the programme’s strategy, goals, and activities.
- What are your main strategic goals for this year?
STARTAB’s objective is to increase entrepreneurial readiness and entrepreneurial culture. Our programme aims to create enhanced community awareness about the values of entrepreneurship and young people’s understanding, skills and mindset about different career and job opportunities. Our goal is to help young people become more open and ready to enter entrepreneurship.
Overall, the end goal of the programme is for new and sustainable businesses to be created. We aim to help young people transform their lives by developing entrepreneurial skills and developing the best and largest youth entrepreneurship programme in Greece.
After 3 successful years and occasioned by the new name (STARTAB – Start A Business), we will focus on raising more brand awareness for the programme by working with communication sponsors and organising various outreach activities.