RAISE Youth Expert for Family farm Business

The RAISE Youth – Rural Action for Innovative and Sustainable Entrepreneurship for Youth project pilots and promotes an innovative RAISE Model of (self) employment for NEETs based on sustainable agri-business in 4 rural regions of EU with high unemployment rates and depopulation. Since the start of the implementation in 2018, the RAISE Youth project has contributed to providing decent and productive work for youth through social innovation in rural areas of Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Spain.

When tackling the youth unemployment in each of these counties RAISE team had to consider the specific situation and characteristics of the target regions. This means that trainers and youth workers had to be carefully selected in order to respond to the needs of the NEETs with respect for their situation, background, possibilities and aspirations.

The RAISE Youth trainers in Croatia are mainly working with unemployed youth from rural underdeveloped areas. These young people show different interests in profession selection and for this reason a variety of trainers had to be included in the RAISE program. However, considering the territorial characteristics and tradition of the target area in Croatia, majority of the NEETs included in the project leaned towards the agriculture and rural tourism.

Trainers and mentors included in RAISE Agro program have expertise in sustainable agriculture and permaculture, traditional agriculture, rural tourism development as well as business development and funding.

Ana Barac, RAISE Youth expert for Family farm business and Rural Development Programme of Republic of Croatia was included in the RAISE training and mentoring program since the start and she has significantly contributed to the RAISE success in Croatia.

Ms. Barac has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, business development and for the past 15 years she has specialized in family farm businesses (OPG in Croatia) and Rural Development Programme. She has been guiding young people included in the Project through the process of establishing a family farm, from administrative requirements to business idea development. Upon the establishment of their own business, project participants can turn to Ms. Barac for the support in the process of applying for funding from Rural Development Programme of Republic of Croatia aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Croatian agriculture, forestry and processing industry, as well as improving the living and working conditions in rural areas. Above all, coming from the rural area of hinterland Dalmatia and being an entrepreneur and family farm owner herself, she understands young people trying to trying to succeed in the agricultural business and they feel it.

When asked to describe her experience working with youth within the RAISE Youth project, Ms. Barac stresses the importance of connecting with them and understanding their background in order to direct them to take the right business path. Going through the mentorship with her, many young people discovered the potential of a long-forgotten family land which they turned into agricultural business or an old village house which can be renewed and used for rural tourism.

What Ms. Barac, as well as other RAISE trainers and mentors noticed when working with youth, is the lack of career guidance and development of basic business skills in the educational system of Croatia. For this reason, all of them agree project such as the RAISE Youth are of great importance for supporting youth and overcoming challenges of job market.



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