AEBR's 1st YOUTH INNOVATION FORUM in Drama, end June 2018:


The Drama Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hosted a Youth Innovation Forum of the Task Force External Borders (TFEB) of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) on 25-28 June 2018.

This Youth Forum is the first one dedicated to cross-border cooperation and innovative entrepreneurship, and several lectures have given a stimulating challenge to the participants who were offered the unique opportunity to learn how to create business models. Mr Alkis Papademetriou, Director of International Programmes at the Chamber of Drama, in collaboration with Mr Stefanos Georgiadis, its President, and Charalampos Alexandridis, Director of the Chamber, with the support of Mr Jens Gabbe, Chairman of the AEBR Advisory Committee, and Mr Johannes Moisio, Chairman of AEBR’s TFEB, from South Karelia (FI), proposed a programme which put forth relevant skills to help the participants gain clever insights on innovative way to implement entrepreneurial projects.

A brief round of formal greetings marked the relevance of organising events such as the AEBR youth forum: building a network of young citizens who are engaged in the contribution to the society they live in is fundamental, and even more so is to learn to cooperate beyond borders. This is the most sustainable, inclusive and efficient way to create development. To echo Charis Koúntouros, representing the European Parliament, youth is the future and the hope, so it is time to involve the youth in society.

The presence of strategic partners of the Drama Chamber at the Forum showed the importance of partaking within a community of players, and especially with a community that does not regard borders as a limit, but rather as a meeting point and a common resource. Ms Rositsa Dzhambazova from the neighbouring Bulgarian Business incubator Gotse Delchev, Entrepreneurship Promotion Centre and Ms  Melike Tatli, Head EU and Foreign Economic Relations at Edirne CCI in Turkey confirmed the mutual gain they achieved by having realised cooperation ties with the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Similarly, Aliki Sotiriadou, major of the municipality of Paranesti, reinforced the value of cooperation: to connect people to bring new ideas together and share them helps reaching big goals.

Afterwards, Mr Argyris Spyridis and Ms Adriane Thrash of Innovation Farm introduced the seminars: all the participants started tackling the concept of innovation in business. The lecture began: Argyris and Adriane, together with the assistance of Vivi Giourka and Katerina Gagou, showed the tricks, the opportunities and the challenges of starting a new business. In the following days, the participants learned how to lay out an innovative entrepreneurial project and they had to present their own plan. It is during the workshop that the participants worked together to come up with a business idea that each team proposed, developed, researched and finally presented. It was at this stage that young people from all over Europe engaged and cooperated to create a common result. It was a boot camp for open minded people, and here the minds were encouraged to run wider.

AEBR's Secretary General Martín Guillermo-Ramírez took part in the closing session, stressing the importance of involving young Europeans in cross-border cooperation, adding thus value to the European integration from the bottom and towards the future.

The 1st AEBR YOUTH INNOVATION FORUM was organised by the Drama Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), in cooperation with the European Parliament and Interreg Europe. The regular AEBR Youth Forum will be organised in Kharkiv the 10th time in 20.-24. August 2018.

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