A traditional path for a young person was to finish education and find a job for life. A contemporary path is to start with international colleagues a social startup, that will make a positive impact.

Unlike most business entrepreneurs, who address current market deficiencies, social entrepreneurs tackle hypothetical, unseen or often less-researched issues. Social entrepreneur pursues novel applications that have the potential to solve community-based problems. These individuals are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives.

Start Up Hypothesis is an Erasmus+ project to empower social entrepreneurship eco-system development and stimulate entrepreneurial learning of youngsters. Erasmus+ youth exchange “Start Up Hypothesis” had two phases

Start Up Hypothesis #1: 7-16 May 2019

Start Up Hypothesis #2: 2-13 November 2019

Both exchanges took place in the Isle of Wight, England. The project involved 74 participants from 7 different countries, that came together to create their own startup’s, right there on the island. During 8 days, the participants had to deal with challenges, such as identifying the needs of the community, development of social projects, market research and how to implement ideas that can have a social impact through the Start up.

A lot of materials, ideas and initiatives came to life with the help of this project’s activities. Not only did we learn, but also connected, worked together, helped each other grow and offer support whenever it was needed. We explored, had fun, got lost, they laughed and cried, enjoyed every moment like it is and most important, we made the best out of it! But what a better way of getting deeper into the story, than hearing it straight from the participants? Testimonials can be found here.

Start Up Hypothesis

Project focus:

  • To bring 60 youngsters, aged 18 – 30, and 14 leaders together and swap experiences of ‘social entrepreneurship in each partner country’.
  • Enable youngsters to organise a social initiative in their surroundings, after the youth exchange.
  • Provide space to research, define and share best practices of going from unemployment to social entrepreneurship.
  • Reflect different realities regarding employability and social entrepreneurship in different European countries and cultures.
  • Learn entrepreneurial skillset by practicing, playing, experimenting, using various media forms and raising the hypothesis.
  • Learn how to find funds through fundraising activities, create a project, marketing and communication plan
  • To learn to define the need through debate and dialogue, create and measure a social impact in surrounding – group research and interviews.

Who attended

Young (18-30, except leaders) and keen to make a positive impact through social entrepreneurship. Searching for a change, would like to learn by playing and experimenting in international teams, love travelling, care about nearby neighbourhood, local, regional, national and international communities and are eager to solve issues.

Programme of Start up Hypothesis #2

Day 1: Arrival to Isle of Wight, informal welcoming and resting up for tomorrow Day 2 – 4: Introduction. Erasmus+ and Youthpass. Getting to know each other. Team building. Social entrepreneurship. Recognising problems. Project Management. Intercultural exchange. Day 5 – 6: Media Workshop (Equipment, Composition, Framing). Media Workshop (Sound, Storytelling, Visual grammar) Day 7 – 8: Local issues. Sustainable Development Goals. Assignments. Community work – how it contributes to growth? Social Enterprises in action. Day 9 – 10: Social Entrepreneurship beyond. Outcomes of social entrepreneurship. Success stories. Day 11: Marketing and communication. Outcomes. Marketing tools. Local events. Circle of Creativity. Tips & Tricks. Youth pass, Evaluation of results, Follow up. Closing up Day 12: Departure from Isle of Wight.

“In a start-up venture, all you have are untested hypotheses. You’re collecting data to gain insight and validate your hypothesis” Steve Blank, author and one of the creators of Lean startup concept

Methods used

  • Experiential and entrepreneurial learning through playing
  • Group dynamic processes, simulations and teamwork activities
  • Inputs from experts through non-formal education lectures and facilitated processes
  • Startup Hypothesis testing
  • Dynamic workshops and presentations
  • Outdoor and community assignments
  • Intercultural sharings, learnings and reflections
  • Learning by doing in a group setting or individual processes.

Delivery Style

“Learning by experience” – learning from experiencing different activities and putting them into practice; “Learning to play, playing to learn” – connected with learning through games, from actions and playful environment; “Learning through testing hypothesis” – building minimal viable product and getting out to test the prototype “Learning with social entrepreneurship” – understanding community needs and following the entrepreneurship processes to address the issues


Youth Exchange will happen in YHA Isle of Wight Totland hostel, a large, Edwardian house with a seaside location close to downland cliffs and beaches, ideal for quiet country walks. Hostel is 50 minutes away from famous Needles, where Italian inventor established the world’s first radio in 1896. You will stay in rooms of 2-6 persons, sharing with others toilets and showers. During your stay you will be asked to support with household duties.


Abroadship.org United Kingdom hello@abroadship.org
Vagamondo Italy infoyouthprojects@gmail.com
Asociacia Synergy Romania contact@synergyforyou.ro
Synergy LT Lithuania aringa@synergylt.lt
Solidarity Mission Greece training@solidaritymission.org
Ticket2Europe Spain ana.delvalle@ticket2europe.eu
Smokinya Foundation Bulgaria info@smokinya.com

Further information

As a result of the project,  we have lots of great tutorials summarised here:

7 Useful Tutorials for Young Entrepreneurs