Handbook on Green Start Ups


The opinions expressed in this work are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the European Commission

All requests concerning the reproduction or the translation of all parts of this document should be addressed to MTU Noored Uhiskonna Heaks

MTU Noored Uhiskonna Heaks

Kungla 29-1, Tallinn Harjumaa 10411, Estonia

Email: info@nyh.ee



Marco Santos


Editorial Team

Marco Santos and Lorenzo Nava


Photos and Illustrations


Design and Layout



Mayri Tiido, Erkki Kubber and Helena Heidemann

Developed by

MTU Noored Uhiskonna Heaks



MTU Noored Uhiskonna Heaks would like to express gratitude to the STRAUSS APS and the Agenzia Nacionale per i Giovanni (ANG) for the financial support of the training through Erasmus + programme.

MTU Noored Uhiskonna Heaks would like also to give special thanks to all the partners (Strauss APS, Praxis, MeOut and Crossing Borders) and participants of the “GREENday – Youth Entrepreneurship, Environmental Start-Ups’ ‘ who supported the editorial team in being part of the training and consequently follow-ups.




Chapter 1. Starting up as an entrepreneur                                                                                                5                             


  1. Before starting 5
    1. Your own vision and goals 5
    2. What kind of person do you wish to be? 6
  2. Starting up as an entrepreneur 8
    1. Finding a problem to solve 8

What is the problem you are looking to solve?                                                                               8

Trends in an ecosystem around you                                                                                              8

Problems that you have and others                                                                                                10

What validates the problem?                                                                                                          11

  1. Creating a solution to the problem 13

Target group who you are addressing                                                                                    13

Persona                                                                                                                                   14

Brainstorming                                                                                                                          15

Impact                                                                                                                                     16

Value proposition                                                                                                                    17

  1. Is it really a worthwhile solution? 17
  2. Business plan 20

Business canvas                                                                                                                     21

Summary                                                                                                                                 23

Business description                                                                                                               24

Business environment analysis                                                                                               25

Description of the Product or Service                                                                                     28

Market analysis and competition                                                                                             29

Marketing plan                                                                                                                        30

Personnel and leadership/management                                                                                 32

Financial plan                                                                                                                          32

Achievements and milestones                                                                                                33

  1. Establishing a company 34

Different legal entities                                                                                                              34

Team                                                                                                                                       36

  1. Bibliography 39


Chapter 2. “Green” in the world of entrepreneurship                                                                            42


  1. Green economy: definition, concepts, and principles 42
    1. What is the Green Economy? 42
  2. What is sustainability and sustainable development? 44
  3. Tips for building a green business 46
  1. Circular and renewable energies economy 47
    1. Principles of functioning and values. 47
  2. Challenges and barriers. 53
  1. Sustainable entrepreneurship: Green startups and innovations. 58
    1. Who is a green Entrepreneur? 58
    2. Competencies of a Green Entrepreneur 59
    3. Why green startups? 61
    4. Encouraging eco-innovations in Europe (EU measures, support and policies) 62

Chapter 3. Tips for Trainers when facilitating the workshop                                                65


The perfect workshop                                                                                                                           65

Needs-based and relevant                                                                                                                      65

Element of surprise and inspiration                                                                                                                       65

Educators are good facilitators                                                                                                                             65

Profile and compromission of participants                                                                                             66

Appropriate choice and variation of methods, adequate for learning preference of participants           67

Participatory                                                                                                                                           67

Supportive learning environment                                                                                                                          68

Challenge vs safety                                                                                                                              69

Empowering                                                                                                                                                          69

Well prepared yet flexible                                                                                                                        70

Creative and flexible reaction to reality on the spot                                                                                70

Appropriate infrastructure for learning                                                                                                     70

Holistic                                                                                                                                                      71

Group Dynamics of Tuckman                                                                                                              72

Forming                                                                                                                                                    73

Storming                                                                                                                                                   73

Norming                                                                                                                                                   74

Performing                                                                                                                                               74

Adjourning                                                                                                                                                74

Experiential Learning Model                                                                                                               75


Chapter 4. Entrepreneurship Exercises                                                                                                     77


The envelope or 5$                                                                                                                                  77

The Blindfold Exercise                                                                                                                             78

Marshmallow Challenge                                                                                                                           79

Business Model Canvas & Social Entrepreneurship                                                                               81

Evaluating your entrepreneurial potential                                                                                                82

Finding a business idea                                                                                                                           83

Character Traits of Entrepreneurs & Motivation                                                                                      85

Failure Resume                                                                                                                                        87

Small business growth audit                                                                                                                    91

Exploring youth entrepreneurship                                                                                                            92

Communication beyond barriers                                                                                                             93

Design the Ideal Wallet                                                                                                                            94

Build your social enterprise                                                                                                                     102

Paper Plane Competition                                                                                                                         104

Collaboration Game                                                                                                                                 106



Chapter 1. Starting up as an entrepreneur

1.  Before starting


7.5% of the world population are entrepreneurs, meaning every 13th person you meet are entrepeneurs, therefore it is not something very common or popular. And we are talking about people who start an enterprise with all its risks and benefits that come with tha.

Now, as you already started to read this manual, it is likely that you are considering to become an entrepreneur or to inspire others to take this path, a rewarding and yet risky path, and this knowledge is what should accompany your every step as you read on.



Before we dive into the specifics of entrepreneurship such as; how to start a company, making business plans, identify needs and solutions, let’s take a small break to ask yourself, what kind of person do you want to be? What are your vision and goals that you want to accomplish? How much of that can you fulfill by becoming an entrepreneur?


  1. Your own vision and goals


Have you heard of the hitchiker’s metaphor? If you are hitchiking and a car stops, it is likely that your first question will be “Where are you heading?” and if the driver answers “No idea, where the wind blows”  maybe its not your best choice if your destination is 200km on that way; again if your destination is 100km away and a driver answers you in the same way, might not be a good match. This metaphor tells us about the importance of having a vision as an entrepreneur, as well as in life, if you don’t know where you are heading, any road can take you there, if you know your vision, then your entrepreneurial choice will be a lot easier.


So at first, let’s define your vision in life. For that there is a set of 12 questions you should write down preferably by hand to have a greater impact.

  1. What places would you like to visit in the world?
  2. What type of job would you like to do each day?
  3. What events would you like to go to?
  4. What type of house/apartment do you want to have?
  5. What amount of money do you want to make (passive income)? What amount of money do you want to have at retirement?
  6. What would your perfect day look like in terms of how you spent your time and what you were doing?

  7. Who would you like to meet?
  8. What are the characteristics of your perfect spouse?
  9. What characteristics do you want to build in yourself? What kind of person would you like to be?
What do you want to look like?

  11. What do you want to be known for?
  12. What people can help you get to where you want to go?



  1. What kind of person do you wish to be?


You just answered quite a few very important questions, and to some you likely gave quite some deep answers, if not make sure whatever you write down is detailed, specific, descriptive, it will help you to better understand your vision, that has a lot to do with how you see and want to see yourself.

Your self-image is important. You want to run a maratho? Great! You need to have the self-image of a runner. You want to save lots of money? Super!  you have to be a self-image of a money-wise person. Your results are the reflection of your self-image, and in turn that is what  will build your habits and produce your desired results. You want to be an entrepreneur? Excellent!  it is important to know and feel that this is a kind of person you wish to be


If you look back at your answers, do you see there something that matches your personal understanding of entrepreneur? Yes? Well, in that case the next chapters will help you to develop that vision of yours, further and deeper until it becomes an action plan. Because the type of entrepreneur you will be has a actually a lot to do with the type of person you are.







2.  Starting-up as an entrepreneur


  1. Finding a problem to solve


What is the problem you are looking to solve?


economist,[1] described an entrepreneur as one who “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield”[2]. “someone who identifies a commercial opportunity, whether a material, product, service, or business and then organises a venture or system to implement it so that it makes money.”[3] [4]



We can understand those quotes from two perspectives, both show that at the very core of any economic action there is a problem to solve. If you want to make profit, then people need to buy your product and service, and for them to do so, you need a solution to one or more of their problems[5]. So what problem do you, an entrepreneur, want to solve?


Trends in an ecosystem around you


One option to find a problem you as an entrepreneur can solve is to watch around you on a larger scale. For example you can use the PESTEL model and see what are the trends in each of the categories.[6]

In may not be as easy as it seems to find the right problem for the right entrepreneurial idea, here is something that help you, the PESTEL model, that will help you make a complete scan of the environment around and help you develop a general idea and grasp of what is happening around you. For example


The questions above are just examples, there can be of course a lot more, just go category per category and brainstorm as many problems and possible solution as you can. And by all means make it as relevant as possible to the geographical area where you would like to operate as an entrepreneur, be it country, region, city, city district or maybe village, and look out for patterns out there. Also keep in mind to select an area and society you know, you won’t be asked to make complex scientific research and data, just write down what you see is happening around you.

When you start exploring PESTEL’s categories, an interesting way to go about it is to set a goal, for example, think about 5 problems in each category, once done find five more, and more until you have drawn out an entire map and can’t think of any other problems anymore, and looking at that map, see which “problem” feels like the one, or ones that you want to tackle with your entrepreneurial idea.


Sharing Problems


PESTEL is just one of many tools helpful in identifying problems, another common one is to observe your every day life and that of others, really into detail down to the simplest tasks, like brushing teeth, to work, meals, leisure etc. Each needs its tools and resources, toothpaste, coffee machine, phone, etc. which are supposed to make the task simpler and yet can also create other problems.

  • Empty toothpaste tube and not a spare one at home?
  • Bad quality internet connection and speed of software?
  • Working until late and unable to cook?

And there appear solutions like home delivery of shopping, alternative software development, food delivery etc. Each of those solutions are enterprises, identified solutions, and one sure thing we all know is that problems are all around us.


Find a problem to solve, it can well come from the specifics of daily life that frustrate you and others, finding ways how things can be done faster, more comfy, cheaper.

  • Which everyday activities take the most time, and could/should be done faster?
  • What activities do you do like once a month, but take a lot of time?
  • What things you hate and yet you must do that take huge willpower to actually get up and do it?
  • What nice services or good did you witness or experience abroad that would be nice to have at home?
  • What are your biggest costs? And for what do you spend that much money?
  • What costs can you cut and reduce? What product or service can help you to do that?


Look around, reflect on your own personal experience, involve peers and friends, everywhere you can find sources ready to feed you with information on problems that need a solution.


“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” -Bill Gates.




What validates the problem?


And did you find a problem? If so you are one step closer to becoming an entrepreneur. Then here comes your second tip; did you know that a lot of start-ups and businesses have a lifespan of about five years and that quite many fail even sooner?[7] Impressive, right? Well there is a simple answer to why that happens, it is because the identified problem/s are not well enough validated, which means either it is in the wrok market, insufficient data and research, lack of expertise or competences to boast leadership in the area.  50% of entrepreneurs out there fail, correct! And you don’t have to go down the same road as them, as long as you remember to validate your problem. If you are facing a problem it does not mean that everybody else is.

You can go different ways to validate a problem, and this is no rocket science and is something most of us did at some point or another when at school writing home assignments, and that is, constructing arguments, use logic and identify options and hypothesis. [8]


  • Expert Opinion : Take the keywords that describe the problem you want to solve and you can start looking for them on search engines and newspaper, a lot of results is usually a good sign, fewer results may be a bad sign, or maybe it is something totally new.
  • Research/Statistics : There are probably studies and research out there concerning the problem you want to solve, can you do it with search engines using key words and find out what materials are out there?
  • Nature laws / Logic : Logic and logical solutions can be applied to different problem-solving processes, what is the rational solution to the problem you want to solve?
  • Ask Around : you can ask friends and acquaintances who could be facing the problem you want to solve. Is it the same as you assumed?


If the above validates the problem, good! If not, you can use the results to help you identify the right problem to solve and carry out this validation checklist and of course can always improve and expand.


  1. Creating a solution to the problem


Target group who you are addressing


Businesses can fail because they are in the wrong market or insufficient research and therefore not know what their potential customers want. You might have found great solutions to your problem, but do you know your customers?  Bruce Lee said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks ones, I fear the man who practices one kick 10000 times.” This applies also to knowing your customer, what target group are you addressing?


  • Who are you targeting? Is it business or customers? Is it the public sector?


  1. Important criteria if your target group is consumers?
  1. Demography – age, gender, language, status, education etc. of your target group
  2. Geography – Where are they? How would you describe your target’s environment and society?
  3. Sociology – What is their social background, characteristics, lifestyle?
  4. Economy – WHat is their income level, what problems do they face?

You can find here some very relevant and some irrelevant information, choose the most important ones that can be applied to your problems and therefore solution.


  1. Important criteria if your target group is businesses:
  1. How big are the companies and businesses you are targeting? Where are they and where do they operate? In what sector do they work? What is their working culture? (this process is called macrosegmenting.)
  2. The 2nd step is microsegmentation, who are the decision-makers in those companies? What criteria do they look for when it comes to making decisions? What are the titles? When looking for characteristics of products and services, what are they looking for?

Persona :

After choosing your target group, its a good idea to define a persona (sampled representative)  from that target group. It helps to understand them better, as well as developing a more emotoinal understanding of the needs and specifics of your target. A simple way to get started with defining your persona is by answering these questions.

  • Name, age, job, family, location, interests
  • Personality (introvert/extrovert – rational/emotional – follower/leader etc.)
  • Life goals
  • Obstacles and problems faced
  • What motivates this persona, fear of loss, hope to gain, social and wealth status, self-development and learning?


Now you have a clear understanding of the problem you want to solve, a target group who needs your solutions and a sampled persona to describe your target,  the more precise and specific are your answers the easier it will be to come up with a solution to this problem.



You came quickly to the solution? You might want to dig a bit deeper, it is know that on average 1 idea in 100 makes money,[9] Thomas Edison had to find 1000 ways how not to make a light bulb to find one that works. Which means, brainstorm! And there are countless ways to do it. At this stage you have your “problem”, your target group, therefore, you are in the perfect place to start thinking about solutions, and a good brainstorm will give you a fair amount of ideas to choose from. How? [10]

  • Turn it into a game. Reward yourself for every idea you come up with, if you get a reward for your actions and result your brain will work more intensely to receive its prize.
  • Write the next idea with the same first letter of of the previous idea, this will structure your thinking as well as creativity.
  • Take the PESTEL model from above, and come up with 10 ideas for each category, and keep going until you reach a total of 100 ideas.
  • If you do it in a group take a short time for each to put down 10 ideas, a fast pace can stimulate fast thinking, express and read all the ideas and feel free to add more, inspired by what you read.
  • Start to shoot out the worst possible ideas to solve a problem, this helps the brain to think differently, it helps thinking out of the box
  • You can also use mind-maps to write down your ideas, or think in categories, search enging some ideas etc.


There are endless ways to find ideas, what is important is to be solution-oriented, you can use all of the above techniques, they are not mutually exclusive, quite the opposite actually. If you run out of ideas, do something else, it actually helps to have break in your chain of thoughts, give your conscious mind a rest really helps, your unconscious mind will keep on working hard towards identifying the right to do.











Found the idea? Is it the right one? Excellent! You are a step closer to becoming an entrepreneur, and we are just 2 steps away from creating your business plan. The 1st one is “ What is the long term impact you want to achieve with your solution?”  The most important thing to do here is to focus on your intended results, such as; what output do you want to achieve with your solution? How many clients will you have and what kind? What benefit will they gain? What will be the outcomes and results? What will be the behavioural change in your clients will the  product or service generate? What is the desired impact of your product or service? What will change for the better thanks to your enteprise?


Value Proposition

A very important aspect of your solution is the Value Proposition, To create a value proposition you can use the set of questions from above and transform it into sentences.

  1. What service/product are you providing? Can you put it in one sentence? When you will start to sell and promote your product/service, is it clear, short, understandable and memorable? The shorter the better
  2. What is it about your product or service that helps your clients and how? Does it save time? Does it make something more comfortable? Cheaper? Take all the characteristics and write down how this affects your “persona”, put yourself in their shoes, and what would drive your customers to “buy” your service or product. The better you understand the problem, the easier it is to create the value proposition.



  1. Is it really a worthwhile solution?

You chose to become and entrepreneur, found a problem, a target group facing this problem, an idea of a representative of your group, a solution, a forecasted impact and a value proposition. Time to decide how to get feedback, which is a vital aspect of selling a product or service. A very important aspect to understand is that feedback is something that happens constantly as an ongoing process. In every step you took so far you need feedback, from problem-identification, to finding the right target group, finding out solutions, you will need feedback and data all the time to help you develop your idea and enterprise.

Let’s look now at customer interviews and go through the do’s and don’ts concerning getting feedback .



Enquire customer problems, what is holding them back; what situation is affecting them Ask is your solution helpful/good etc. You want  to understand the customer’s situation,  if you direct too much you wont get a clear picture of the situation
Ask for feedback. Sample interview somebody from your target group Make interviews with random people.  Better to look for your target group. No help comes  from getting feedback from somebody who is not your target group.
Ask open-ended questions to obtain longer answers and gain more qualitative feedback Ask closed questions. You can’t do  much  with yes or no answers. The more detailed answers you get, the better.
Let them criticise your solution too, It is helpful to again understand the logic and reasons behind their thoughts. Argue with them. Your point is to get feedback not to show that you are smarter or know better.
Be grateful Get defensive when hearing criticism


How to collect feedback

  • Creating short surveys to post via social media aiming at your target group, or other ways to reach them.
  • Get out and talk to people who could be from your target group, be on the streets and public places, approach them and start a conversation (and identify if they are your target or not)
  • If your topic is very specific then you can find your niche in social media groups and topic/theme oriented chats, for example global warming.
  • Find out the right messenger to deliver your message, someone with whom your target group can relate, empathise and feel connected, from the same neighbourhood for example, or friends of friends.
  • Look for places where your target group can be found in high numbers, for example young people by the university or schools, sports people by gyms and stadiums etc.

The question is, where can I find my target group? Where do they spend most of their time? Finding them and gaining their feedback you are already getting also to know your target better, and learn about your customer’s habits, knowledge that you can later apply to marketing and sales.


You gather feedback, some will be positive and some will be critiques, and now comes the important bit. Implementing it, you talked to tens or hundreds of people, through their answers you can draw some conclusions, and that will give you some ideas on changes, adaptations and improvements.

  • What is the systematic feedback you are getting? What problems and challenges are people bringing up and what are the most common ones? How can you embed that in your solution?
  • What are the biggest “stones in the shoe” of your target? What ideal solutions are people looking for? How can you use that knowledge to design and tailor your solution?
  • Is your idea simple or complex? Does it contain all necessary elements? Can you simplify it?


By asking for feedback you are already preparing your market and letting potential customers know about you. It will be helpful at a later stage when your solution is ready and to let them know, or for some more trials and tests.


  1. Business Plan

[12]The business plan is the document that gives you an overview of your plans, future goals and potential risks that can occur along the way. It describes potential financial wins and losses, how your sales and marketing works, and many more details concerning your business. It has everything you have thought about until now and more. Writing a business plan is a great way to think about as many aspects as possible concerning your business and get ready for action, and bringing to life your enterprise. And the length may vary.

  • It may be 30-50 pages long, with absolutely every potential detail concerning your enterprise
  • It could be a plan necessary for banks or sponsors to help them decide to support you or not
  • I can be a page that summarises a 60 second speech, also known as the “elevator pitch” to easily explain what you are doing and what are your needs.
  • Can be an external document to lay out a detailed step-by-step action plan to use within your enterprise, containing your vision, mission and goals.


The difference between those different versions is the length and format which is presented, as its core. Numbers, goals, marketing still need to be there, and everything needs to be linked.

So start up as an entrepreneur you must have a business plan, because you will be communicating with different people that you can help or who can help you. So let’s break it down into parts now, and familiarise with a tool that can get your thoughts together, the pre-business plan, known as Business Canvas.


Business canvas


This is a “strategic management and entrepreneurial tool that helps you describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot your business model.”[13] This helps you understanding what you are doing in a clear and easy way. Once you have written a business canvas, even your grandfather or toddler niece can understand your business.

There are 9 components in a business canvas that you can write down, and you can do it alone, although if you already have a team better to do it together, so to make sure all are on the same page. (or you can repeat it once you have a team).






Components are:

  • Your customers (customer segments) the ones for whom you generate value and your enterprise helps.
  • Value proposition, every customer segment has one of many value propositions coming from your products or services, that is where you describe what is the value that your customers gain from you, and now you can systematically write it down.
  • How does the value get to our customers, what are the channels you will use to communicate the value to your customers?
  • Customers’ relations, concerns the relation your customers have towards the value they give to your product or service, to the channels, and therefore, to you.
  • Revenue Streams, show how much, and what type of value, you obtain through all of the above.
  • Key Resources, show how you create the value you generate for your customers ; what resources do you need? Physical? Digital? Of course this can vary.
  • Key Activities, show what you need to actually do to deliver Value to your customers
  • Key Partners, who do you need (as partners) to accomplish all of the above? Do you really believe you can do it all alone?
  • Cost Structure, time to quantify and put numbers here, how much does all of this cost? [14]

You can go about it using the sequence of categories above as a smart and logical approach. Once you have your business canvas you will have a nice overview of your business. Remember, there are countless varieties and shapes of business plans, for example the longer version we are about to see.           


The purpose of the business plan is to describe the different aspects of your enterprise, you actually already thought and wrote about many of them, time to put them in order and write it all down. Keep in mind you’ll need:

  • Summary – a short and overall description of your business’ key points
  • Business description – the vision, mission and goals
  • Analysis of the business environment – the context and situation of your business sector
  • Product/Service description – what is it? How does it work? What are the options around?
  • Market analysis and competition – who are your main competitors? How did they build their product and service? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you be better than them?
  • Marketing plan – How to reach the customers and help them cross over the “buying line”.
  • Staff, Leadership and Management – how will you lead your enterprise, how many people will be involved? What is their profile?
  • Financial Plan – planned expenses and costs as well as forecasted income
  • Achievements and Milestones – what do you think will be your milestone, by when do you plan to accomplish them and how? How does one contribute to the next?



The summary-one-page is the first impression you want to give, the place to say right away the most important aspects about your business and catch the attention. To make immediately clear what you do and why you do it, what’s in it for the investor, sponsor or customer. What are the most important numbers , including quantifying how big is your potential market, projected revenues, needed capital to start, and of course your value proposition to the customer and what will motivate them to purchase your service or product. Your goals, resources and needs should also be as clear as possible.[15] And, by all means, target your summary to the audience you are communicating too and be prepared to make adaptation.


Business description


The next part is the Overall Business Description. What is the situation in your sector today? What problem are you tackling? Do you have statistics? Can you show how other businesses tackling similar problems are performing? How do national and global strategies impact your business? For example the Paris Agreement. Basically, here goes the description of the situation in the sector of your enterprise, and can be beneficial to include a forecast, foreseeing (and demonstrating) how will the sector change in the near future and what are the perspectives.

Here you can describe in detail a description of your customers, the produce or service, and how your customer uses it.


Concerning Vision, Mission and Goals ;

  • The Vision is your direction and dream, where do you want to go, your purpose, how many lives you will positively impact and how, in other words the change you want to bring. This is about the emotional context, like returning to initial motivation  – why do I want to be an entrepreneur.
  • If the Vision is the dream and the emotions, the Mission is the rational plan, how will you accomplish your Vision step by step? In a logical and rational plan. How many people can you positively impact through your product or service? What is the change you want to bring? Vision and Mission are not really about measurable objectives and indicators, rather the emotional context, something that moves those who read it.
  • Goal-setting – is about developing long and short-term goals, and here is where the measurable objectives appear, how concretely the Vision and Mission are measured are monitored as well as quantified. Including all kinds of foreseen measurements such as timing, targets, outreach, even revenues, and here the SMARTER acronym can come to your help:
  • S – Specific – the more concrete and specific, the better
  • M – Measurable – you can actually measure and goal and know how to
  • A – Achievable – It is doable considering your resources and network
  • R – Realistic – Reachable and aligned with vision and mission
  • T – Timely – there is a clear timeline for accomplish your milestones
  • E – Exciting – Make you feel extra motivated and is a source of energy?
  • R – Reviewed – It is important to make sure it is adaptable and flexible enough.


Business Environment Analysis



It is important to know the environment that surrounds you, its is actually essential for a good business plan. For example, in these pandemic times, when so much of the work went online and digital it is important to develop good competences concerning software and social media when starting an enterprise, as well as to know how to work and operate with the new regulations.

A very helpful tool here would be the PESTEL model that we already introduced above, and this time dividing it into two columns, the macroenvironmental analysis and the microenvironmental analysis.


Concerning Macroenvironmental analysis:

  • What are the Political features that can affect your enterprise? What impact do the governmental and public sector decisions have? For example quotas of women in the board of enterprises. What is the direction of governmental decisions that can have an impact on business or your sector?
  • What are the Economic features that can impact your enterprise? For example labour skills and specialisation, unemployment, upskilling and reskilling necessities, market trends, cost of salaries, taxation, financial situation of the sector and of competitors, etc.
  • What Social features can have an impact? Aging population for example, hi-tech new generation entering the job market, levels of education, social context of the potential customers, etc.
  • What’s the Technological situation? Are there popular apps and software among companies in your sector? What social media does your target group use? What are their online habits? What problems do they solve via technology?
  • What is going on Environmentally? What are the newest standards to follow? How are companies expected to behave responsibly? What are the trends? What materials can you use, reuse? How and where to apply circular economy? Etc.
  • How does the Legal sphere impact you? What are the administrative duties? What about taxation? Which laws and regulation affect your business and sphere? Etc.

The questions above are just random samples, of course there can be, and there are, many more that apply to your entrepreneurial idea.


Now it is time to have look and the micro-environmental analysis, before you look around yourself, and now it is time for a bit of introspection. For example, what internal factors have an impact you, your colleagues, board and workers, your services or products? Let’s explore how PESTEL is applied here.

  • Political : what are your policies about dividends, gender mainstreaming, holidays, working hours, prizes etc.
  • Economic : forecast of revenues and income, added value of hiring or outsourcing, accounting and book-keeping processes.
  • Social : Any policies towards inclusion or those with lower opportunities? What culture do you want to develop within the company to make it a good environment? How to look after colleagues and workers to gain loyalty?
  • Technology : what do you use for communication? How do you promote your services? What about book-keeping?
  • Environment : Do you need an office? Do you have environment friendly policies? How are the spaces designed and what for? Etc.
  • Legal : What administrative and legal structure will you adopt? What about ownership and dividends? How to fulfill administrative duties? Etc.


Once more the questions here are just samples, there can and should be more, especially more specific ones concerning your enterprise. Time and experience will help you answer more accurately all the questions you come up with, and give feedback to the answers you provided now, so don’t overthink it, its a process not an end in itself, a process of figuring out, reconfiguring and figure out again. Expect it to be a few paragraphs up to a couple of pages.[16]







Description of the Product or Service


Here you will write the description of your product or service, and it is important that you make this extra clear, to make sure that whoever reads it understands it extremely well. It has to be crystal clear! And of course Keep it Short and Simple, and this you can test with different people how well they understand the description and what your product or service is about.

Maybe something similar already exists on the market, in that case stress similarities and differences, and it can help people understand what you are doing, and points out to your unique product or service, and to put the accent on the extra value that your offering, or innovation, and understand the competition around you. In this part it is also good to describe the process, how your service or product are created, developed, prepared before delivery and your needs when it comes to getting it ready for the customers.


Market analysis and competition


This part you probably already did, and just need to write it down in a short, simple language for whoever will read this, and probably you noticed that there are some repetitions among the different sections, and you can take it a cross-check to test the logical formula of your business plan, as well as offering different angles and perspectives for understanding, it will also help you refine and adjust your idea and linking the dots together. There are four things here to think about:

  1. Market situation/analysis . How big is your market? Provide demographics and numbers concerning your target group and potential customers. What are the trends? These answers will give you a very good insight on what to expect and plan more accurately how can you perform well and what is feasible. You can collect data from similar enterprises and understand what they doing, if you want to perform better than they do, explain how you will do it.
  2. Describe your Persona in detail, the people you are aiming to help with your proposed solution, and again this you should have already down, just need to place it in this format, describing your average customer clarifies who are the ones you are targeting and who need your solution.
  3. The Difference, comparing you and the competition, raise awareness about your competitors, and how your target group is going to differentiate you and them and compare you.
  4. And finally, do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)  of your enterprise and how do you answer the SWOT answers, consider that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal, while Opportunities and Threats are external and in your environment.
  • S – Strengths – What are the strengths of your business plan, expertise, innovation, new technologies?
  • W – Weaknesses – What are the weaknesses of your plan? Could be your team may have a good idea but no in depth expertise on the sector or topic?
  • O – Opportunities – What opportunities exist in your environment? Your business idea is easily scalable? Proof that your idea works? Other possibilities in your environment?
  • T – Threats – What threats exist in your environment to your business idea? How harsh is the competition? Is there are economic crisis or high unemployment?

Keep in mind that the guiding questions are just examples, there can and should be quite a lot more, try 10 for each of the letters.


Marketing plan


Time to tell how will you reach your potential customers. In the business canvas this part was called “Channels”. In this part, what are the different channels you can use to reach your customer? [17]

  • Social Media – Your choice of social media channels depend on your target’s habits and likes. Their average age would use instagram? Or Facebook, or LInkedin? What is the most popular SM channel in that age, economic, social group? And what do they use it for?
  • A potential channel is the traditional media, newspapers, radios, television etc. Here it can be a smart move to identify the ones appealing to niche groups, and the more tailored is the campaign the better. (can also be online, such as e-magazines, podcast channels etc.)
  • Billboards, leafleting and brochures can be a channel to reach your target group?
  • Email campaigns can be an efficient tool too, or alternatively door-to-door
  • Or use sector events to pitch your sales and where you want to be seen and known


There are countless ways to market your product or service, and limit to how creative you can be is the sky, the important part is understanding where your customer dwells, physically and digitally, and then select the channels where you have the highest chance to reach your audience and where they can find you.

The more in detail you go, the clearer and better you will understand the channels you need to use, the messages you are sending, who are your messengers, what are the keywords and visuals that go well together etc. It is of paramount importance here to clarify your goals concerning your channels, timing and effort you put in your channels and what you expect in return. When do you plan to raise awareness? When do you want to start selling? When and how collect feedback and evaluate your communication?


Personnel and leadership/management


Very important in your business plan is to place a detailed description of who are the people who are responsible for accomplishing what you described until now. One of the main thing investors look at, when deciding if to invest or not, is the team. Here you write down who is your team, background, expertise, how well you know each other and what you accomplished together until now, their competences on the topic. All the relevant information should be here, and again its specific, short and simple, mainly to clarify the role and expertise; this will also help others understand your working style and how your enterprise is structured internally. .


Financial plan


It is time to bring out the numbers, of course it depends for whom is this information, there are many different formats of financial plans. You may need up to 3 documents – income statement, balance sheets and cash flow statements.[18] You might even be able to make future projects about your income and expenses and that may be all a stakeholder needs to know, as a starting point to ask for more details and show interest.[19] Let’s look at each:

  1. Income Statement : This document shows all revenues and expenses, including overall aspects that influence your situation, for example taxation and administrative duties.[20]
  2. Balance Sheet : This shows your enterprise’s assets, liabilities and stockholders, everything you own and all your credits. [21]
  3. Cash Flow Statement : Shows the movement of money incoming and outgoing in a set period in time, showing an overview of the cash situation and assets available at present.

These are simple and informative documents, and when going into detail it gets more complex and time consuming and of course worth it and essential. These documents are especially important for investors and sponsors to make decisions.to support you or not. One last note, these documents should be designed to be used on regular basis, updated constantly, and flexible for changes that may occur within the enterprise.


Achievements and milestones


Here is where you include what you already achieved until now, showing your experience and you are confident it, and for outside parties this can be a good prediction of what they can expect from you, give an idea about your credibility and reputation supported by evidence. What milestones did you accomplish until now? As well it is essential in this part to predict the future milestone, what will you achieve and accomplish by when, this will demonstrate commitment, transparency and accountability, and generates expectations, how do you plan the future? 


  1. Establishing a company


Different legal entities

Everything is ready, now it is time to establish your enterprise and register it, what kind of entity you will choose? There are quite a lot of options in most EU countries on enterprise formats, and each depend on your vision of yourself as an entrepreneur, we will make a short overview of the most common formats existing in pretty much every market economy.

  • Private Limited Company – with a minimum share capital, obliged to cover all the liabilities with its assets, includes a management board of minimum 1 person, who represents and manages the business,
  • Private Limited Company – very similar to the format above, with a few differences, with a higher share capital, and it is required to have both a board and a supervisory board that is not involved in the management, and usually each has more than 3 members.

For start-up entrepreneurs a Private Limited Company is very likely to be the most popular choice, and yet there are more.

  • Non Governmental Organisation/Non-Profit Organisation – you might opt for an NGO (CIvil Society Organisation) as in some legislations a limited number of revenue-making activities, especially in the area of services, are allowed, and is purely mission and vision based, you just can’t have dividends, obviously, nor shares, working on grants, subsidies, funds and sponsorships.
  • Sole Proprietor (FIE) – A very popular solution is to establish a sole-proprietor company, which means your business name is actually your own name, no need for a capital, and you are responsible for your own personal resources, not entity resources like previously.
  • Social Enterprise (SE) – This is a business with a social purpose of actually making profit while improving the world, society and the environment, profitability is for both the company and for the others. And pretty much every legislation allows this format of enterprise.
  • Start-up – This is not really a separate type of structuring a business, more like a buzzword, gradually becoming an entity in itself, we are looking at a small business with less than 30 employees, launched initially by public funding, and are often fresh and created by young people, and can go in many different directions, environmental, social, and often have a strong online presence, or exclusively digital.   







Generally the 3+1 formats mentioned above are the most popular choices when it comes to establishing a company, and they are not the only ones, therefore a nice starting point for your enterprise. By all means do your research, and find which legal entity can better suit your purpose and goals, especially when it comes to your local reality, when it comes to incentives, task discounts, support to young entrepreneurs etc.



One of the most important elements while you are starting, the competences necessary to carry out our mission and accomplish your goals, and this might even mean that at this stage you possibly do not need a team, or not yet. However, it is important to consider this question, because, if you are a great entrepreneur, as we believe you are, then at some point you may well need a team, so, who do you need? What do you need from them? Where can you find them? 

Just remember this, think-through how everyone who joins brings extra value to make sure that 1+1 does not just equal 2 but 3 or 4, as this should the value of the team, that each improves and does not stagnate in the same quality as before. So the same questions you asked yourself at the beginning of this handbook can also be applied to your fellow team players, what kind of person do they want to be? How do they feel about the vision and what do they think about? What positive impact do they want to leave on the world? Etc. So let’s think about fantastic team players and where to find them.


Who do I need?

There are many ways to succeed as an entrepreneur, and each has its needs, and here we can provide you with a general checklist that can inspire you to identify your specific needs:

  • What great impact do you foresee and do not know how to achieve it? Could it be an expert who is good at it? Or maybe something you need to learn?
  • What are you best at and what can you delegate? In other words, what are the areas you can train your team mates and make them as good as you are, so you can free time slots for yourself?
  • What tasks and areas you can’t do because of time and work-load constraints? Could it be there are something you dislike to do and yet are necessary, and would be nice if someone else did it?




Where to find them?

Maybe you concluded with your team that you need an extra team member? Excellent, now the question, where to find them?

  • The most common approach is the 2F, Friends and Family, that is looking among those who are close to you, who carried out similar tasks to those you are looking for, or those who who have an interest in the area, you can always have a chat and find out if there are some opportunities there. The answer to this can be in your social media contacts or phone contact list. There might well be a match waiting there.
  • People with a similar mindset to your, maybe at some networking events, and there are a lot out there, in person or virtual, once you start searching for them you will find a plethora of happenings.
  • Hackatons, incubators etc. are great places for getting feedback and mingling with fellow attendees with similar interests.
  • Find relevant groups and pages on social media and start interacting with posts there and write your own, and you can inform that you are looking for someone or something specific.


If you are looking for a person with x criteria, where can you find them? Where do they hang around the most? Got the answer? Go there and find your match with your enterprise and vision.


What’s next?

You got quite far as an entrepreneur, and you identified a relevant problem to validate, found a solution out a lot of ideas and created a detailed business plan and canvas, and you know down to the details how to accomplish your goals and begin your entrepreneurial career, time to start right? And where to start from?

As always you have a few options, however, the very first step should be registering a legal entity for your business, and to set up your team are two excellent starting points.

It is also important to remark the PPPPP, Proper Prevention Prevents Poor Performance, which means that preparation and planning are of paramount importance, keeping in mind that there is not just one road to success.

Getting as far as you got now probably did not happen over night, and likely took some long preparation and days of work, it is time to make that first step and find your own path and begin your journey, just as wish it to be.

So, what is your answer now, is being an entrepreneur something that is a part of you?

2.  Bibliography







Chapter 2. “Green” in the world of entrepreneurship

  1.        Green economy: definition, concepts, and principles.

  1. What is the Green Economy?


Green Economy was first mentioned in the UK by a group of environmental economists called Blueprint for a Green Economy[22]. But the term became trendy only in 2008, at the beginning of the financial crisis, thanks to the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), analysing policies and investments in the green sectors.[23]

Nonetheless we still lack a common understanding on what is actually Green Economy, although the most widely accepted one is UNEP’s  “one that results in improved human well‐being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. It is low carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive.”[24]

Another definition we get from the Green Economy Coalition (that is a group of NGOs, Unions and other groups carrying out grassroot work on green economy) “an economy that provides prosperity for all within the ecological limits of the planet .”[25]         As well as producing the 5 principles of Green Economy[26] :


  1. The well-being principle: A green economy enables all people to create and enjoy prosperity.
  • Green economy is people-centred. Its purpose is to create genuine, shared prosperity.
  • Focuses on growing wealth that will support wellbeing. This wealth is not merely financial, but includes the full range of human, social, physical and natural capitals.
  • Prioritizes investment and access to the sustainable natural systems, infrastructure, knowledge and education needed for all people to prosper.
  • Offers opportunities for green and decent livelihoods, enterprises and jobs.
  • Is built on collective action for public goods, yet is based on individual choices
  1. The Justice Principle: Green economy promotes equity within and between generations.
  • Green economy is inclusive and non-discriminatory. It shares decision-making, benefits and costs fairly; avoids elite capture; and especially supports women’s empowerment.
  • Promotes the equitable distribution of opportunity and outcome, reducing disparities between people, while also giving sufficient space for wildlife and wilderness.
  • Takes a long-term perspective on the economy, creating wealth and resilience that serve the interests of future citizens, while also acting urgently to tackle today’s multidimensional poverty and injustice.
  • Is based on solidarity and social justice, strengthening trust and social ties, and supporting human rights, the rights of workers, indigenous peoples and minorities, and the right to sustainable development.
  • Promotes empowerment of SMEs, social enterprises, and sustainable livelihoods.
  • Seeks a fast and fair transition and covers its costs – leaving no-one behind, enabling vulnerable groups to be agents of transition, and innovating in social protection and reskilling.
  1. The Planetary Boundaries Principle: The green economy safeguards, restores and invests in nature.
  • An inclusive green economy recognizes and nurtures nature’s diverse values – functional values of providing goods and services that underpin the economy, nature’s cultural values that underpin societies, and nature’s ecological values that underpin all of life itself.
  • It acknowledges the limited substitutability of natural capital with other capitals, employing the precautionary principle to avoid loss of critical natural capital and breaching ecological limits.
  • It invests in protecting, growing and restoring biodiversity, soil, water, air, and natural systems.
  • It is innovative in managing natural systems, informed by their properties such as circularity, and aligning with local community livelihoods based on biodiversity and natural systems.
  1. The Efficiency and Sufficiency Principle: The green economy is geared to support sustainable consumption and production.
  • An inclusive green economy is low-carbon, resource-conserving, diverse and circular. It embraces new models of economic development that address the challenge of creating prosperity within planetary boundaries.
  • Recognises there must be a significant global shift to limit consumption of natural resources to physically sustainable levels if we are to remain within planetary boundaries.
  • It recognizes a ‘social floor’ of basic goods and services consumption that is essential to meet people’s wellbeing and dignity, as well as unacceptable ‘peaks’ of consumption.
  • It aligns prices, subsidies and incentives with true costs to society, through mechanisms where the ‘polluter pays’ and/or where benefits accrue to those who deliver inclusive green outcomes.
  1. The Good Governance Principle: Green economy is guided by integrated, accountable and resilient institutions.
  • An inclusive green economy is evidence-based – its norms and institutions are interdisciplinary, deploying both sound science and economics along with local knowledge for adaptive strategy.
  • Is supported by institutions that are integrated, collaborative and coherent – horizontally across sectors and vertically across governance levels – and with adequate capacity to meet their respective roles in effective, efficient and accountable ways
  • Requires public participation, prior informed consent, transparency, social dialogue, democratic accountability, and freedom from vested interests in all institutions – public, private and civil society – so that enlightened leadership is complemented by societal demand.
  • It promotes devolved decision-making for local economies and management of natural systems while maintaining strong common, centralized standards, procedures, and compliance systems.
  • It builds a financial system with the purpose of delivering wellbeing and sustainability, set up in ways that safely serve the interests of society.


Based on the explanations of 5 principles of green economy and aforementioned definitions, green economy can be summarised as an economy that takes into account human sphere and planetary boundaries, and aims for every part of the economy to be just and inclusive.


  1. What is sustainability and sustainable development?


Sustainability is a buzzword in almost everybody’s mouths these days, and a keyword in the non-profit sector, everybody wants it, does everybody know what it means? Back in 1987 the UN stated that “humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”[27]

Sustainability is often understood as a common thread uniting economic, social and environmental spheres, and it is actually a principle supported by those three pillars, and should any of these pillars show weakness then the whole system is weak and impared.




Figure 1. Left, typical representation of sustainability as three intersecting circles. Right, alternative depictions: literal ‘pillars’ and a concentric circles approach.[28]


The three pillars are also known as People, Profit and Planet, and the goal is to motivate businesses and policymakers to focus not only on profit but on long-term well-being.[29]


Sustainability is composed of two words, sustain and ability, the ability to maintain and to support. In the context of our planet we can understand that it concerns the ability to maintain life on Earth, the well-being of its life and economy without compromising the needs of future generations.

There is also another term we should pay attention to, that is sustainable development, most commonly used as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  by the United Nations.[30] Who developed 17  SDGs, an urgent call to action for global partnerships, to end poverty and other inequalities alongside strategies to improve health and education, while fostering economic growth, in parallel with tackling the climate crisis and preserving our biosphere.

Today pollution levels are higher than ever, our biosphere is facing mass extinction and entire areas of the planet are at high risk of becoming inhabitable, and this is already happening. It is important to recognise that we need to change our ways before it’s too late. A sustainable approach that takes into account the well-being of people, and ecosystemic diversity and needs of the economy is inevitable, and unfortunately, though progress is made we are still far from one-solution, and the pathway still shows some contradictions. Such as the economic growth-centred development, an implicit aspect of sustainability, still fails to address what specifically needs to be developed, how and for whom, and how can economic growth be sustainable l and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable”.[31]

Can the economy be ever-growing on a planet grounded on sustainability? We don’t have the answer quite yet, and we are working on it.


  1. Tips for building a green business


Green business today is definitely a buzzword, but actually it comes with quite a big responsibility and commitment to follow the principles of sustainability (People, Planet and Profit) and to avoid “Greenwashing”; that is the marketing strategy adopted by some companies to promote an ecologically responsible image with the public, no supported by reality and facts, in other words, pretending to be green.


Here you can find 8 tips for making your business green(er) inspired by the overview written by Enevo[32]:


  1. Make an audit of your business idea, looking into different fields, such as waste generated, energy consumed, use of water, social responsibility and see how you match the 6 R rule : Refuse, Reduce, Resuse, Repeair, Rot and Recycle.
  2. Waste collection and recycling :  All the waste generated is sorted and accordingly separated, and ensure team and customers follow the same behaviour, encouraged by signs and trainings.
  3. Energy efficient tools and appliances:  regardless if you are providing services or producing goods, there are many high quality appliances out there to optimise the energy consumption, and reduction. (or just switch it off when it is not used 🙂 )
  4. Be up in the clouds:  It is possible today in many places to open a business online without any paper work and digitally sign documents, reducing greatly the use of paper.
  5. Green Transportation :  Foster the use of public transit, bycicles, walking, over personal fossil fuel transportation, reducing the use of cars and airplanes, measuring the carbon footprint of your team and identify ways to reduce it.
  6. Green Materials : ensure the materials you purchase are sustainable, tracking down your value chain and ask suppliers for information concerning their resources.
  7. Product Life Cycle : how much are the products you use and/or sell reusable, repairable, can it be recycled? If not make some steps back to your product-design phase.
  8. Communicate your Greeness  : Let stakeholders and customers know about your efforts, today stories sell and you want for people around to cheer for you. Tell and demonstrate how your business is green, many out there will appreciate it, and don’t greenwash.


Indeed setting up a green business can sound like a hassle and extra work when compared to a regular business, taking into consideration electricity consumption, appliances, supply-chain, transport, waste, can be pretty overwhelming. And definitely this is not the easy way, nonetheless we can’t anymore afford in terms of ecology to continue with business as usual, because this is what has brought us on the brink of distaster. Green entrepeneurs are tasked we reinventing and rethink the economy and how to do business, it a burden indeed, yet a necessary one, and it needs patience, resilience and vision, to keep on improving the quality of our life and of the generations to come and live a good life on the planet that we deserve.


  2.        Circular and renewable energies economy

a.   Principles of functioning and values.


Circular Economy, as a concept is gaining attention world wide, and rightly so. Today’s

the linear-economy model has brought us to resource exploitation, and unsustainability.

Linear economy (figure 2) follows the production approach of take-make-dispose, which implies that the planet’s resources are infinite “taking”, followed by the “making” phase which focuses on production, distribution and consumption aiming at growing sales of the product, and finally the “dispose” phase, once the product is not anymore usable is up to the consumer to dispose it; oftentimes landfilled or incinerated, and some recycled. Which fosters a culture of product-design which makes the goods neither recyclable nor repairable.




Figure 2: Linear approach to production[33]


The linear approach works on the short term in terms of immediate profits and is heavy and wasterful on the long run. It’s counterpart is a circular economy.

Circular Economy seeks to rebuild capitalism, a new approach to finance, manufacturing, services, society and natural world where each benefit and are positively impacted. Ensuring the enhanced flow of goods and services(figure 3) illustrates the continuous flow of technical and biological materials through the ‘value circle’.[34]


Figure 3: Circular Economy Butterfly Diagram[35]


How to interpret and understand the Butterfly Diagram and through that the circular economy?


In the middle of the butterfly we can see the representation of the current linear model:

  • Renewables / finite materials;
  • Parts manufacturer;
  • Product manufacturer;
  • Service provider;
  • Consumer/user;


After collection there is incineration or landfilling. The goal in the circular economy is to minimise systematic leakage and negative externalities.

On the left we can see the renewable materials, also known as the Biological Cycle (on the figure green). Under biological or renewable materials is considered everything that is generated by our planet, mostly consumption goods such as food. From the user the excess food should go back into circulation through cascades, e.g. through redistribution or donation, such as food banks.

Alternatively, biological renewable materials can get back into circulation by turning them into biochemicals, for example biofuel or biogas. While for placing the materials back at the very start of the food chain there is composting.

On the other side, the blue figure, is the technological cycle, such as metals, plastic, electronics etc. All man-made things fall under this cycle.  Applying circular economy in the technological cycle means that the users firstly take care of their belongings with good maintenance and/or repairing. Additionally there are also practices such as sharing, using and borrowing, take for example car-sharing platforms.


Applying a circular economy means developing stronger ownership of the products in the market at every stage. In services and product provision it means redistribution and reusing, such as collecting old laptops from one market and redistributing them where they have a higher value.

When it comes to manufacturing it means simply remanufacturing or refurbishing the products (remanufacturing is the process where a previously sold, worn and non-functional product can be rebuilt or recovered, by disassembling, cleaning, repairing and replacement of the obsolete or worn out components and returning the product to like-new or even improved conditions  or just as reliable as the original product.[36]


Finally, the materials disposed of by the users should be recycled and through that process reach the materials or parts manufacturer. Recycling is something that occurs to the materials the product is made of, rarely of the product itself.

The essence of a circular economy is to reduce the leakage of materials out of the system. Everything that ends up in a landfill or an incinerator is lost. All the resources used to create a product or materials, the energy investing from design to production, are lost!  The goal of the circular economy is to maintain the value of the product for as long as possible.The closer the goods stay with the users and the producers, the higher its value and the easier it is to maintain it, which means that recycling is the last option, when the product lost pretty much all of its value and purpose.

To increase the lifespan of a product for as long as possible, producers need to gain a different mindself, the design of circular products are modular, meaning that repair and remanufacturing are not complicated and feasible.

Take for example the modular product illustrated below, a set of headphones developed by a Dutch company, upon purchase the headphones are disassembled and is up to the user to assemble them. In order to keep the ownership of their products, and ensuring durability and lifespan, the company implemented a product-as-a-service business model, which translates in users maybe a monthly subscription to use the headphones, and afterwards they can return or upgrade them.



Image 1: modular headphones[37]


Ellen MacArthur Foundation is the world’s leading organisation in promoting circular economy, and they developed the three principles for circular economy:

  • Design out waste and pollution;
  • Keep products and materials in use;
  • Regenerate natural systems;


Several trends emerged that  support of circular economy, as follows:[38]


  • Cradle to Cradle – Cradle-to-cradle design is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems that models human industry on nature’s processes, where materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms..
  • Performance economy – Stresses the importance of selling services rather than products.
  • Biomimicry – is ‘a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems’.
  • Industrial Ecology – this approach aims at creating closed-loop processes in which waste serves as an input, thus eliminating the notion of an undesirable by-product.
  • Natural Capitalism – a global economy in which business and environmental interests overlap, recognising the interdependencies that exist between the production and use of human-made capital and flows of natural capital.
  • Blue Economy – insists on solutions being determined by their local environment and physical/ecological characteristics, emphasising on gravity as the primary source of energy.


It is only logical now to have a look at renewable energies.


Renewable is oftentimes applied to the energy resources and technologies whose common characteristic is that they are non-depletable or naturally replenishable, such as solar energy, wind, hydroelectricity, geothermal, biomass, use of existing water and air currents etc, and using these energies to generate power, heat or mechanical energy by converting them in either electricity or motive power.[39]

It is indeed the challenge of the century to move away from fossil fuels, determined by a global trend of increasing use and investments on renewables, as cleaner and less costly on the long run in terms of investment return, self-sufficient energy production, and no energy market monopoly. In the 21st century global renewable energy challenge, the EU is taking the lead, as Germany, Sweden, Spain and Italy are the global top 5 investors and users of renewable energy. Which gives a great advantage, as leading world economist foresee that the majority of energy in the near future will come from renewables. Also, goes without saying, that one should not depend on a single renewable source and it rather a strategic combination of several ones, as in the image below:



Image 2: Role of renewable energies in the future[40]


Everyday business is changing, that’s clear, and there is a need for change, and that burden falls onto the shoulder of a new generation of entrepreneurs, new approaches to business and economy, and to help these new models solidify over the years to come.


Challenges and barriers.


Imagine a world that operates around a circular economy and renewable energies, sounds like a dream right? Waste production is reduced to the minimum just as exploitation of our planet’s resources. Perhaps it does not have to be a dream, rather a plan. Every day we hear more and more success stories, and yet we did not yet switch from linear to circular economy, despite the existing evidence of the benefits, take Costa Rica, 98% of its electricity comes from renewable energies, and still humanity is highly dependent on fossil fuels, we are going to discover in this chapter what are challenges and barriers to overcome.

  • Circular economy is an unfair struggle, the world has operated for a very long time under the principles of linear economy, meaning that change of mindset and economic models can’t happen overnight, and it is rather a process.
  • Governments and policymakers should set the enabling conditions and actively promote a circular economy, by supporting the businesses and at the same time the consumers’ habits and mentality.
  • Julian Kirchher.[41] shows “four main barriers to circular economy” in the EU. These are cultural, regulatory, market and technological barriers (see image 3). All those barriers are interrelated. For example, a business with a company culture hesitant towards circular economy will not develop circular designs. Hence, consumers will lack awareness and interest regarding circular designs since none of these are offered in the market. This means that cultural barriers can induce technological barriers which induce further cultural barriers.



Image 3: Circular Economy Barriers[42]


Rules and regulations should support circular economy, not hinder it. For example, making reusing, recycling, refurbishing convenient and easy for businesses, instead of subsidising fossil fuels and linear business models. Policy making needs to become an enabler of circular solutions. Here is a list of existing barriers to circular economy in most parts of the world:

  • Lack of infrastructures : You may want to repair something but there’s no place where to do that. This is deeply impacted by country regulations, including inefficient (unsustainable waste management practices)
  • High costs of recollection : as circular economy is grounded on the recollection of goods, often returning to producers or resellers, and this is a logistics challenge in a globalised world where production know-how is often based on the other side of the world.
  • Lack of recycling technology : No one will say recycling is bad, on the contrary, and yet the recycling technology is not good enough yet, as it often processes goods into a lower quality version than the original. Resulting in “virgin” materials to be preferred due to their higher quality and relatively cheaper prices compared to recycled ones.
  • Readiness of consumers : people are driven by comfort and trends, often wasteful and linear (such as fast fashion). Circular economy requires people to change their habits, rent rather than possess, repair instead of throwing away, and this needs an effort, and the trendy narrative still encourages pollution of overconsumption regardless of the impact this has on our planet.

Talking about renewables


Wind and solar farms are becoming a more common and familiar sight on our landscapes, which is great, yet there are so many challenges before being free from fossil fuels. Renewable energies also face quite a few challenges to be considered a complete alternative, take for example the high cost of installing these renewable energies when comparing to the long-term economic return, and heavily relies still on governmental incentives, as well as challenges in energy storage and need to use lithium-based batteries, we could go on forever.

Our societies are heavy energy consumers, we need energy, electricity and gas 24/7, greatly understandable by the Duck Curve (figure 4) , that is a graph of power production over a day, in this case California (USA), showing the imbalance between peak demand and renewable energy production.[43]


Figure 4: The duck curve[44]


In this figure we can see three different curves:


  • The blue one is the load to the grid. That is the energy consumption of the Californian system, anything connected to the electrical grid, from mobile phone charger to factory machinery, all that needs energy to work.
  • The gray line is solar energy production peaking obviously during day-time
  • The orange line is the result of subtracting the gray one from the blue one; the more energy came from the solar farms the less was required by the other generating systems, and the graph resembles the silhouette of a duck, with neck and tail to mark sunrise and sunset. So, should the peak demand be at dinner time when people are home.


There is a need for an energy storage system obviously, and most photovoltaic modern systems have it, it works for hydro-electric plants and geo-thermal ones, and using and applying that technology we can easily avoid using polluting lithium, by applying the surplus generated by solar panels in the off-peak times, to run water-powered pumps that can release energy at a later stage and produce electric power.[45] we can in practice rely completely on different renewable energy sources like solar and wind, on top of geo-thermal and hydro-electric, and to some extent this is already happening.[46]


  3.        Sustainable entrepreneurship: Green startups and innovations.

a.   Who is a green Entrepreneur?

What is a green entrepreneur? And thus we return to the question of what is green entrepreneurship, and we saw it is not that simple. After all it is a fairly recent concept that started back in the 1990s, but studies and literature out there are increasing, as are the terminologies used to understand the concept. For example we have; eco-entrepreneurship, eco-preneurship, environmental entrepreneurship, sustainable entrepreneurship and lots more. The real question is, how can this concept be applied to reality? What activities can be included in the “Green” aspect of entrepreneurship, what features and qualities apply to a green entrepreneur? And the answer to those questions is in the making as you read this book.


A green entrepreneur can either be someone whom makes their business Green, or simply enters a Green business area. Simply put, green entrepreneurship can be defined in terms of the technology used for production and the “green” quality of the output, , or when it comes to services that support some or all aspects of sustainability by often incorporating ethical, social, or environmental motivations to green entrepreneurial activity.[47]


A Green Entrepreneur is a person who wants to transform a sector of the economy and steer it towards sustainability, using from the very start a green design, and with a lifelong devotion and commitment to sustainability in everything said and done. We can look at two types of eco-entrepreneurs, those who are environmentally conscious, meaning people who develop any type of innovation, be it a product, a service or a process, that can either reduce use of resources, impacts or improve cost efficiency towards a zero waste target. The second type of green entrepreneur are those people who are aware of environmental issues, and their business is positioned in the environmental marketplace, pursuing environment-centred opportunities that at the same time show good profit perspectives.


The attitudes which inform environmental concern create areas of value that can be exploited entrepreneurially, therefore environmental entrepreneurs not only recognise opportunity, but construct real organisations to capture and fix change in society.” Anderson 1998


What is important to stress here is that Green Entrepreneurship needs to be understood as entrepreneurship in green sectors. Which marks a clear distinction between an environmental movement or charity, and an environmental enterprise, the target to benefit the environment at large and to make a profit, a living out of it.


So, who is a green entrepreneur? According to Green Business Bureau “A green entrepreneur is an entrepreneur focused on creating and selling environmentally friendly products and services. Ecopreneurship is a new way of doing business – a way to create sustainable business models, and work together with (and for) the environment. Using innovative approaches to old problems, ecopreneurs are looking for ways to capitalize on the environmental problems that our world faces”.[48]


b.   Competencies of a Green Entrepreneur

For a successful performance, in any field, we need to have relevant competencies, which are made of skills, knowledge and attitudes. Knowledge we need to understand the effect of our actions and to reach our desired result; skills to perform tasks and attitudes as a value system to support our actions. So, consider that as a green entrepreneur you will need a more holistic view on business, and a quite specific set of competences.



Ploum et al. (2017)[49] brings out six core competencies for sustainable entrepreneurs as change agents (see table 1).


Strategic action competence
Systems thinking competence
Embracing diversity and interdisciplinary competence
Foresighted thinking competence
Normative competence
Interpersonal competence

Table 1: Six core competencies for sustainable entrepreneurs.


The competencies are defined as…:


  1. Strategic Action : the ability to arrange tasks, people and resources, inspiring and motivating other, evaluating projects and taking action and initiative to deal with sustainability. (Ploum et al., 2017).[50]
  2. Systems Thinking : The ability to identify and analyse all relevant (sub)systems across different domains (people, planet, profit) and disciplines as well as boundaries. s (Lans et al., 2014).[51]
  3. Embracing Diversity and Interdisciplinarity : The ability to structure relations, spot issues and recognise the legitimacy of other viewpoints in business decision-making processes that regard environmental, social and economic issues, involving all stakeholders and maximise the exchange of ideas and learning across different groups, both inside and outside the organisation, and different disciplines.  (De Haan, 2006).[52]
  4. Foresighted Thinking : the ability to collectively analyse, evaluate and craft “pictures” of the future, where the impact of local decisions concerning the environment, society and the economy are appreciated on a global scale and have a long term positive effect. (Wiek et al., 2011).[53]
  5. Normative :  The ability to map, apply and reconcile sustainability values, principles and targets. The Normative competences enables the sustainable entrepreneur to assess and improve the level of sustainability of social-ecological systems, based on these values and principles.  (Gibson, 2006).[54]
  6. Interpersonal : is the ability to motivate, enable and facilitate collaborative and participatory sustainability activities and research (Lans et al., 2014).[55]


Willemsen carried research on sustainable entrepreneurship (2017)[56] asked: What role do competencies of sustainable entrepreneurship have in the decision-making process concerning critical issues when it comes to creating a venture?  The research showed that sustainable entrepreneurs believe they have all 6 competencies, and apply each in their entrepreneurial work. Namely, the Strategic Action and Normative competencies are mostly used to decide to start a business and make it sustainable. Diversity competence is used to find and combine different disciplines needed to work on sustainability. Foresighted thinking is used to anticipate market developments and foresee the effect of actions on a timescale. Systems-Thinking is used to understand all the aspects that are relevant for sustainability that are being worked on. Interpersonal competence is seen as a skill for positive relationships with employees and other stakeholders.

By all means, the competencies mentioned above can also be applied to any business, it is of uttermost importance to know and understand that a sustainable and green entrepreneur, besides the financial well-being of the company, is also centred on the wellbeing of the planet and its life.


b.   Why green startups?

Startup success is defined by the product-market fit, as well as other factors, that means that there are target customers who need and would buy your product. Conscious consumerism is a rising trend, and businesses are under huge pressure to become more environmentally conscious and friendly. A business  survey[57] conducted by McKinsey back in 2011 showed  that 57 percent of respondents are increasingly taking long-term strategies to pursue and integrate sustainability into their business models.

Another important aspect is marketing, meaning to position your business among the green ones and establishing your green brand is definitely an advantage today. Costumers more and more demand transparency and accountability, with clear data concerning sustainable practices and outputs, when it comes to the greenness of the product sold, how it is produced, fair salaries and benefits for employees, sources for materials, which are easily accomplished by full-heartedly believe in sustainability and environmental responsibility.

In 2020 the world was hit by COVID-19, the human communities shut down, something unprecedented. Over a short period of time many adjusted its endeavours into virtual settings, and millions found themselves working remotely from home. These last two years have set the compass to where is humanity heading from this turning point onwards. McKinsey[58] is bringing out that a lot of the recovery plans of states are related to environmental policies:


  • The European Union plans to dedicate around 30 percent of its 740 billion euro plan for COVID-19-crisis plan to climate-change-related measures, including the issuance of at least 200 billion euros in “green bonds.”
  • In September 2020, China pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2060.
  • Japan has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050.
  • South Korea’s Green New Deal, part of its economic-recovery plan, invests in greener infrastructure and technology, with the stated goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • While campaigning, US president-elect Joe Biden pledged to invest $2 trillion in clean energy related to transportation, power, and building.
  • Canada is linking recovery to climate goals.
  • Nigeria plans to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies and to install solar-power systems for an estimated 25 million people.
  • Colombia is planting 180 million trees.


Not only countries have set on a green course, large companies too started allocating huge chunks of their funds into cleantech and sustainability, perceiving this a key component to present business strategies with a future outlook. Seems like in  the 21st century entrepreneurship, green is the way to go.


c.   Encouraging eco-innovations in Europe (EU measures, support and policies)


For green entrepreneurship to succeed companies need to turn green. Older companies might have a harder time and need longer to adapt, nonetheless all will face change.

A drawback is that reconversion to green economy needs financial muscle that many of the medium and large enterprise simply do not have. Luckily in Europe the EU and its member states seem very keen to back green enterprises, and is taking the matter of sustainability very seriously promoting the identification of environment-friendly solutions to present challenges, starting with the ambitious European Green Deal.

On July 2020 the European Commission released the 1st round of the “Green Deal” provided via the European Innovation Council (EIC) amounting to €307 millions to 64 game-changing Green enterprises contributing to the objectives of the European Green Deal Strategy and the Recovery Plan for Europe.[59]

These businesses had to prove that they address at least one of the EU’s 8 “Green New Deal” priorities, and be eligible for grants up to €2.5m within the Horizon Europe programme, and equity investments up to €15m from the EIC[60].


Image 4: European Green Deal “in a nutshell” [61]


The EU is also a sponsor of the Green StartUp Europe Awards, an initiative that aims at recognising startups, by offering products, services or support in addressing improved resource efficiency, climate crisis tackling, low carbon economy, social changes, circular economy, blue growth, renewable energies etc.[62]

The time is ripe, there are a lot of private and public initiatives that aim at supporting the creation of a strong green entrepreneurship sector in Europe, from local to regional, from national to European, just need to keep your eyes open for the opportunities and see what support you are entitled to.

Plenty of opportunities indeed, also keep in mind that the startup environment in Europe is still far behind Asia and North America, and has to goal to take the global lead on green entrepreneurship, to give you some figures the USA invested 3.4 times more than Europe in startups , with a quarter of companies reaching scale, compared to just one in eight European companies[63].

The Green European Deal wants to reduce that distance, increase the number of European Green Startups and Enterprises, and we are also doing our part.




















Chapter 3.

Tips for Trainers when facilitating the workshops.


The Perfect workshop

Needs-based and relevant


Understanding that we learn best when we see a need for that learning is one of the keys to adult education. We have to understand how can knowledge or skills benefit us on our everyday life. How can those make work and life easier and improve performance, where can this be used. Strong learning happens only when the motivation comes from within. When supporting the learning of others, we need to understand the purpose for people to want to learn and how this can be used later, as well as be ready to adapt the content based on neds and interests, to make it relevant.

Making learners aware, through reflection, how a certain knowledge or skill can be used in real life will make a connection between what was learnt and the implicit personal meaning. You can find out more here.


Element of surprise and inspiration


Everybody likes to play, adults and kids alike, just often adults won’t admit it, or are afraid of judgement, yet all love to feel free, creative and to have fun. Supporting the learning of others means also to bring out emotions, and emotions can be easily evoked through the element of surprise. It can be that learners did not expect a specific experience when participating in a simulation or a game that that makes them think and bring out those “aha” moments, where something unexpected is learnt, maybe by emotions or reactions they did not expect to have and show. The element of surprise moment puts all focus on learning; this is also why the reflection on the experience is often strong, and therefore memorable.


Along with experiential learning, peer learning is just important, learners want to hear about each other’s experience, get to know how similar challenges were overcome, as learning support person you will often hear requests about real-life experiences. They want to learn from other and from you, and find inspiration. For that purpose often learning activities involve group discussions, a safe and small place to share and listen, confront opinions, struggles, successes, and share own experiences. You can learn more about it here.


Educators are good facilitators


People participate in training because they want to learn something new. We, who support the learning of others, are not expected to have deep academic knowledge of a topic, and yet need to know what we are talking about. Ever attended a training where you were unsure what the facilitator was talking about. The reason could be that the facilitator also did not know; the more familiar a facilitator is with the topic and its theories the easier it is to explain to others. When we are able to explain something in a clear and simple way, means we fully understand it, also generating trust and confidence with the learners, in the opposite case interest can be lost. Check trends, articles, innovations in your field in order to support the learning of others. You can learn more about this here.


Profile and composition of participants


Adults learn best when they are aware of their learning needs, and as many learning processes happen in groups a poor choice of learners can affect the motivation of the individuals.

When planning any learning process, keep in mind your target group; who do you want to include? What are their needs and motivation? How can they apply this later in their lives and jobs? Any previous knowledge or experience necessary? How is the topic connected to their experiences? These questions will help best define the target group of the learning pathway you want to deliver.  If that was to be left to chance, then you may end up with a group who does not need nor enjoy the process, or even resistant to learning. Analysis of learning needs is essential. Of course, it is highly unlikely to create a group where everyone is exactly at the same level, it is fine, and part of the learning processes, as long as you can find ways to make sure all are included and everybody’s knowledge and skills can be used for the learning benefit of the group. For example opportunities to share knowledge and examples, or by combining mixed experiences in group work, creating opportunities for peer learning. In any case keep always in mind what competences you want to develop among your learners, and how those can benefit them; what will the more experienced learners gained, and what about the less experienced ones? What can be useful to all? You can learn more Here.


Choosing the methods, what is right for the learner’s learning preferences


We have our content, and target group of learners, it is time to consider how we will deliver the learning and methods we will choose and select. Of course do not choose a method just because you like it, first come the learning needs and desired outcomes and only then the choice of methods that would support that. There are two key questions to ask yourself: what is the gap between where the learner is now and where the learner needs/wants to be? And how can I support the learner to bridge that gap? Upon answering, consider all aspects of non formal education and experiential learning. What experience do learners need that would help them accomplish their desired learning; what emotions would help them best to experience the learning; which activities would help them best to understand the topic?

Also take into consideration, if any, what methods have you already used with this group, and how can you ensure diversity of activities to support different learning needs. Where possible try not to repeat methods, and cover as many learning styles as possible. Take into consideration those who prefer to see and read information, those who like to think and reflect on topics, those who have a preference for discussions and experiences to extract learning, etc. The more varied are the methods the more inclusive they are of different learning styles, and the more emotional responses you will be able to draw out, and ensure actual learning.


You can find out there a plethora of simulations, role-plays, case practices and other methods, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, if someone already created something, by all means use it, and you can adapt it to your community of learners. Just keep in mind the learning objectives, even the coolest activity would go to waste if it does not match the learning needs and objectives of the learning programme. You can find out more Here.




The main difference with learning as a child or as an adult, is that adults like to feel autonomy.  They like to know that they can decide for themselves and are not just following orders, and this can be achieved by including them as much as possible in the whole learning process, not just as recipients of learning. You can, for example, include them in the planning phase of the learning pathway by asking them what do they need and want to learn, what is their learning gap or skills mismatch, and how would they use the acquired learning later. In this way, their opinion is already valued and needs to be expressed, and something can truly be tailored around those; thus, increasing motivation and generating a positive feeling about the upcoming learning even before it begins. A positive side-effect is that it makes your work easier as you are provided with background information to deliver a truly valuable and to-the-point service.

Another opportunity can be at the beginning of learning activity to allow learners to express their personal learning goals and purpose, asking them what accomplishments they want to reach during the time you’ll spend together, this will foster a sense of responsibility towards their own learning and allows them to take ownership towards what they want to take out this. You will still have your learning objectives which were set beforehand prior to the selection of learners, and your learners should be well aware of what are the goals of this activity, and still learners have a say concerning the objectives and can influence the learning process.

When selecting the methods, take also into consideration how much time of the session will learners be actively engaged and how much time you, as person who supports the learning process, will use to give the theoretical input. As in many processes the golden rule is 80-20; learners’ involvement and participation should cover 80% of the time where they are the main actors, and 20% of the training time can be filled with the trainer transferring or contextualising the learning. You can find out more here.


Supportive learning environment


We can be experts, possess all necessary knowledge, pick all the right tools, and yet if we are unable to foster a supporting learning environment, learning will be hampered. Learning happens best when learners feel secure and comfortable to express their thoughts, engage, ask questions, actively participate and trust to navigate uncharted waters, fully trusting the steering skills of the person supporting their learning, as we ensure all feel respected, valued, included and empowered. Often the first goal, or challenge, can be the creation of a first positive impression, as grounds upon which to build constructive communication, trust and cooperation, and that is achieve through both verbal and nonverbal communication, such as; eye contact, as a confirmation of presence and attention; an open a positive posture, such as a smile to foster connection; humour, as the most powerful tool to release stress and promote ease and friendliness, as joint laughter creates a connection.

Pay also attention on your gestures, tone of voice, body posture, speed of voice, as to ensure all your body language communicates safety, warmth, openness, welcoming, happiness, to make the learner truly welcome as well as genuine interest in the person, therefore not as an act, but real openness, to generate mutual trust. A powerful way to bridge the gap and generating a connection is to learn the names of all the learners, demonstrating you know them, making the relationship more personal and that you made an effort to start learning who they are. Your learners need to feel like adults who are accepted and welcomed, therefore believe in them, value their contributions and communicate it out loud; if you start to believe in them this will encourage them to believe in themselves, and therefore actively participate and contribute. You can learn more about this here.


Challenge vs safety


The safe and positive environment is set, now we have a place where learners are eager to develop, and this is time to find the balance between challenge and safety.

Challenges take us out of our comfort zones therefore foster learning; upon feeling there is something we are unsure about, don’t know or can’t figure out right away. However, we got to be careful that a too big challenge can be scary and discouraging; and at the same time if too easy it is not really a challenge and not so interesting. How to find the right balance between comfortable and challenging, where mistakes can be made and learning happens? Sorry, this question does not have one correct answer; it really depends on the learners, their experience and trust in you. Take into consideration everything you know about them when planning the activities, how much knowledge they already possess to complete the task; can they feel physically and emotionally safe to accomplish the assignment and participate? How to ensure that the task is carried out while being safe and there are no negative outcomes? What kind of learning environment is necessary to go through the planned methodology? How to build the group in such a way that they are acceptive and support one another? A parameter would be never to ask learners to do something you would not do yourself. You can find out more about this here.




Learning could potentially be something challenging and uncomfortable, and these are not necessarily negative traits. Usually the first step in learning is to admit that we “do not know”, and this alone can generate insecurity and discomfort. That is the reason why regular positive reinforcement of learners is of utmost importance here, combined with positive feedback. The point is create a feeling of success that would encourage them to learn more, and support us in the creation of positive and safe learning environment, where learners take active part, share opinions, discuss, and are safe to make mistakes. This also generates opportunities for peer learning and mutual empowerment, as part of the process. You can learn more about this here.


Well prepared yet flexible


When planning a learning pathway think about all options; what will happen when the methodology works wonderfully, and what when it won’t? What about if you miscalculated the time? Be ready with a plan A, B and C, taking everything into consideration, from the location, to the profile of participants and our experience, as the unexpected might always happen even when delivering the best possible methodology. We need to be flexible and able to adapt and react accordingly, always keeping in mind the learning needs of your learners, and how you can support them in learning. Therefore, yes, be ready and be flexible, and if it matches the needs of your learners be ready to adapt and adapt the process accordingly. You can learn more about this here.


On the Spot Creative and flexible reactions


Regardless of planning things don’t always go as we want, and need to think out of the box. As trainers a key responsibility is to keep an eye on the learning process. Should learners be bored, maybe they are not reaching the expected learning outcomes, or the method is not working that well, then we need to react and adapt, and not stick to the plan at any cost. If this time it does not work, well, it doesn’t! Its not about our own personal needs and comfort being more important than the needs of our learners. We are tasked with providing a space to learn, and that can also mean to change the method right in the middle. We can assume that learners have specific knowledge and turns out they do not and can’t complete the assignment. Then, we need to accept that we need need to adjust the plan we had at the beginning, apply some creativity and previous experience, and adapt. You can learn more about this here.


Appropriate infrastructure for learning


The creation of an emotionally safe learning environment is essential, and besides that we also need to take care of the physical environment, making it as supportive and inclusive as possible.For example a room that has access to natural daylight and available fresh air. Otherwise it will turn into an energy-draining space where it is difficult to focus. Make sure there is enough personal space as well, and perhaps a variety of spaces that can be used, and necessary services, such as bathrooms, as nearby, and ensure access to drinking water at all times. How you set up the learning space will set the mood for the rest of the training. Then follow technicalities concerning how informal or formal you want to the setting to be, and how to arrange the chairs, and have allocated spaces for displaying materials or putting coats and jackets. Non-formal education settings often prefer circular settings. You can learn more about this here.




As people supporting learning processes, we do not only transfer learning, there is much more learners can, and should, learn. A good session should have a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes, and allows learners to choose what they actually need and want to learn the most. On top of that there is also an element of social learning, or peer learning, by discussing, comparing and confronting their opinions, understandings and opinions. Therefore a holistic approach includes perception, cognition, experience and behaviour into the learning process as a whole. You can learn more about this here.


Group Dynamics of Tuckman


Most of the time we need to work with others, we form teams for specific tasks, or generally act as teams within organisations. The bigger the structure, the more teams need to be formed. Moreover, we are in the constant search for the best ways to lead teams, optimise the contribution of its members, harmonising working styles, and compromise on everybody’s needs. And the overall question is, how to characterise a successful team?


Successful teams have 3 elements : 1) there must be trust within the team 2) feeling of belonging to a unique and valuable team. 3) agreement and understanding that together they can achieve more than individually.  Trust, Belongingness, Achievement. The question here is how to achieve this when you have a group of people who hardly know each other? The secret is to know that any group will go through a joint process that will help them to form a performing and successful team.


One of the most popular group processes model is Tuckman’s group development model.  The forming – storming – norming – performing model of group development was first proposed in 1965. Tuckman says that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results. Later, in 1977, a fifth stage was added: adjourning[64].















Tsapenko, M. Team dynamics. Tuckman’s model – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/team-dynamics-tuckmans-model-michael-tsapenko/




This is where group members come together for the first time. They start to get to know each other, learning about each other’s background, experience and values. This may evoke different emotions, such as excitement to meet new people, or social anxiety for the same reason, or curiosity to learn what’s next. In this phase the discovery of roles and team dynamics will being, as each tries to find their place, as relationships start, and similarities and differences are found. Team members will also learn more about the assignment, goals and objectives as they start to understand what and how they need to do and accomplish, agree on working methods, communication lines and how to work together. At this stage the performance of the team is low, because the team is still learning, tasks and aims. The purpose of the leader at this phase is to create a comfortable, trusting and positive environment where members can start building confidence and trust.




The team is developing, people start start to feel comfortable with one another, and less concerned about expressing true feelings, emotions and thoughts. Arguments, heated discussions and sometimes even conflicts appear in this phase, questioning the above principles of trust, acceptance, belief in each other and faith in the process. Boundaries set previously start to be tested. The early excitement and expectations[65] are diminished as they work together, and the differences, for example in working styles, begin to be notices, shifting the focus from the tasks at hand to frustration with the team progress or process[66]. Team members are testing each other, probing for reactions, noticing drawbacks and mistakes. In this face also the leadership is tested and challenged, to test how far the boundaries can be pushed.

Your task here is to reduce tensions within the team, transform conflicts, and steer the group to the team goals, as well as  lead by example[67].

Team members look at you for solution and make sure things work, and place on you the responsibility to make the team functional again. This stage is time and energy consuming on every side, and needless to say this is also where many teams fail and stop being a team. Take it seriously, look out for the alert signs of arising tensions or conflicts, and ensure the team finds ways to overcome differences and stay committed to the goals.








Once the team has found its unique way to accept each others’ opinions and leadership, the storm settles down. Members will start again to listen and accept each other, attempts to find agreement are genuine, and there is a wish to get moving with the tasks. Team members also start to enjoy spending time together, relationships deepen and the process is once more balanced. Leadership is once more accepted, and the performance improves. There is a new set of work agreements and more needs are met. The team members wish to work together and the accepted belief is that together they can simply achieve more. At this stage make sure to point out the successes and raise awareness regarding all that is being accomplished, as part of the encouragement to work towards the common goal, fostering collaboration in its deepest meaning.




Performing is the ultimate goal for any team. This is where performance is at its peak and conflicts are fairly rare. Full trust is there; roles, responsibilities and assignments are very clear; teamwork occurs in a goal-oriented and supportive environment thanks to the positive atmosphere among team members, who take ownership and responsibility of the processes, acknowledging that they are the key actors. You role as a leader is to support the development of each team member, as well as to take a little step back by starting to delegate and focus on tracking and monitoring rather than directing, ensuring that tasks are accomplished and team members grow.




This is the last stage of the model, upgraded several years later. In today’s world working environment we witness more and more team and group work, in both long and short-term processes, and adjourning has become an essential part of group formation.

Team development process needs to have a closure, this phase is where members assess the outcomes, evaluate their work and conclude all the tasks. The advice here is to reflect on every stage the group went through and key takeaways and learnings from each. Also do not forget that this is moment of celebration! Team members may be experiencing several emotions and may enjoy spending some off-time together to properly close the circle. Some might feel anxious as the comfortable and safe environment is ending and need to move on, some may experience pride about the achievements and don’t want this process to end. Regardless of the emotion, let team members express them and suggest how to maintain communication and contact.


Experiential Learning Model


Sometimes we try hard to put together a learning process only to realise it did not work how expected? How can we make sure that after all the planning and creation our learners will leave with actual new skills, knowledge and/or attitudes? The first thing to do, is to understand that there are many ways how to approach learning and how people learn. Age plays a role here, the younger the learners the easier it is to adopt new competences. When it comes to adults, there is an inner motivation to learn and need to understand how the learning is tangibly beneficial for them and apply to real life and work situations, meaning that they decide for themselves both how and what they will learn, as well as being included in all the stages of learning. That is why in this chapter we are going to present Kolb’s learning model, as a useful tool that can help planning a successful educational activity.

This mode dates back to 1984[68] and it shows that effective learning is visible when the learner progresses through the whole cycle[69].

Kolb’s cycle has 4 stages : 1) Concrete Experience. 2) Reflective Observation. 3) Abstract Conceptualisation. 4) Active Experimenting. And a learner’s entry point can be at any stage.















Concrete experience


This is where people actually experience something, which can occur through a game, a simulation, group work, or even accidental. And this experience can be in the “now” as can also be a past experience. Kolb’s belief here is that the key to learning is involvement and it is not enough for learners to simply read of observe it in action[70]. Moreover, people like to be included and be part of the learning process, especially if active engagement is enjoyable.


Reflective observation


Once the learner experienced being an active part of the experience, there is a need to take a step back and reflect on what was experienced.This stage in the learning cycle allows learners to ask questions and discuss the experience with others[71]. Communication here is vital here, it allows the learner to identify any discrepancies between their understanding and the experience itself.


Abstract conceptualisation


At this stage we figure out how the concrete experience relates to our previous experiences. We make connections and find how to conceptualise the outcomes and learnings with models, knowledge and understanding that we already possess. We can create new concepts, adapt what we already have, correct the misunderstandings or develop and deepen already existing knowledge, making connections between learning experience and real-life situations.


Active experimenting


At this stage, learners test newly acquired knowledge and skills in real-life, to try-out how it actually work (or does not). Learners keep the learning cycle as their experimentation enters the cycle as many times as necessary.




















Chapter 4. Entrepreneurship Exercises


Title: The Envelope Exercise or The $5 Challenge
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -sense of entrepreneurship;


-money raising.

Aim/learning outcome: -encourage to be entrepreneurial having limited resources;

-being creative;

– to eliminate the lack of confidence in the ability to make money.

Objectives: to increase the investment money
Duration:  2-3 hours
Materials needed: Envelopes, 5$ bills
Step by step instruction: This  envelope exercise was developed by Tina Seelig at Stanford University. In this exercise, the students are asked to plan for a two-hour activity to increase an initial, unknown investment provided to them in an envelope. The amount of money in the envelope is very small – around $5. The students are usually surprised at how little money is in the envelope. Yet, every time the exercise has been implemented, the students have increased the investment money provided to them. The exercise helps students realise how easy it is for them to make money.


Ask the students what they can do with this amount of money. Someone will shout out, “Go to Las Vegas,” or “Buy a lottery ticket.” These folks would take a significant risk in return for a small chance at earning a big reward. The next most common suggestion is to set up a car wash or lemonade stand, using the five dollars to purchase the starting materials. But most of my students eventually found a way to move far beyond the standard responses.


How did they do this? Here’s a clue: The teams that made the most money didn’t use the five dollars at all. They realised that focusing on the money actually framed the problem way too tightly. They understood that five dollars is essentially nothing and decided to reinterpret the problem more broadly: What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing?

Additional Suggestions:


Read the whole description of this exercise here:




Other comments: This exercise was developed by Tina Seelig Ph.D.at Stanford University.








Title: Marshmallow Challenge*
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -collaboration;



– mobilising others;

-taking the Initiative;

-planning & management.

Aim/learning outcome: -to show on practise that Teamwork is a relevant competence, every successful entrepreneur has to work closely with people;

-to develop leading, motivating and communication skills

– to develop a sense for shared experience, common language, prototyping and facilitation.

Objectives: To challenge students to work in teams where the collective output determines final success.
Duration: Each challenge has a duration of 18 minutes, but a total time frame of 45-60 minutes has to be counted in.
Materials needed: 20 sticks of spaghetti, one meter of tape, one meter of string, one marshmallow, stopwatch (mobile phone), measuring tape, tables
Step by step instruction: Building teams of four people. Within 18 minutes each team must try to build a freestanding structure with spaghettis, a tape, a string, and a marshmallow. The tallest structure wins.

-The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier.

-The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.

-The team can use as many or as few of the 20

spaghetti sticks, as much or as little of the string or tape. The team cannot use the paper bag as part of their structure.

-Teams are free to break the spaghetti, cut up the tape and string to create new structures.

-The Challenge Lasts 18 minutes: Teams cannot hold on to the structure when the time runs out. Those touching or supporting the structure at the end of the exercise will be disqualified.

Additional Suggestions:


Starting the countdown clock (and the music) with the start of the challenge.

-Walking around the Room: It’s amazing to see the development of the structures as well as notice the patterns of innovation most teams follow.

-Reminding Teams of the Time: Countdown the time. Usually, 12 minutes, 9 minutes (half-way through), 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds and a ten-second count down are called.

-Calling Out How the Teams are Doing: Let the entire group know how teams are progressing. Call out each time a team builds a standing structure. Build a friendly rivalry. Encourage people to look around. Don’t be afraid to raise the energy and the stakes.

-Reminding Teams that Holders will be Disqualified: Several teams will have the powerful desire to hold on to their structure at the end. Usually because the marshmallow, which they just placed onto their structure moments before, causing the structure to buckle. The winning structure needs to be stable.

Other comments: Teaching Toolkit for Entrepreneurship Education (2016) by Bernd Ebersberger, Christine Pirhofer and Desiree Wieser




*The Marshmallow Challenge has been developed by Peter Skillman.

The marshmallow is a metaphor for the hidden assumptions of a project. The assumption in the Marshmallow Challenge is that marshmallows are light and fluffy and easily supported by the spaghetti sticks. In reality however, the marshmallows don’t seem so light at all.

Hence, if we compare the challenge to a real-world project, the lesson is that we need to identify the assumptions in our project first of all– the real customer needs, the cost of the product, the duration of the service – and test them early and often. That is the mechanism that leads to effective innovation.*





Title: Finding a business idea
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -brainstorming;


-stimulating an entrepreneurial sensibility.

Aim/learning outcome: -fostering ideas;

-recognizing opportunities

Objectives: to generate as many ideas as possible
Duration:  1 hour
Materials needed: -paper;


Step by step instruction: Introduce the following instructions:

Step 1

1 List ideas. Think of unmet market needs, changes in technology or legislation or demographics, ideas you have seen in other regions or countries that you have not seen here, knowledge and information gaps.

2 Expand the list. Think about your personal interests, experiences, desired lifestyle, values and what you feel you are likely to do well or would like to do.

3 Get feedback on the list from at least three people who know you. Knowing you, they might be able to add to the list by interpreting it slightly differently.

4 Jot down insights, observations and conclusions about your ideas and personal preferences.

Step 2

Using the list generated from this exercise, evaluate each idea against the following eight criteria, using a score of 1 (very poor or very unattractive) to 5 (very high or very attractive).

> Attractiveness of idea – Would you enjoy doing it?

> Ability to undertake – Do you have the skills needed to do it?

> Practicality – Is it something that really can be done?

> Potential market demand – Will customers buy it?

> Ability to combat competition – Is there competition and can you combat it in some way?

> Ability to differentiate – Can you differentiate it in some way that can be sustained over a long period?

> Price potential – Can you avoid competing simply on price?

> Resource availability – Do you think you have, or can get, the resources you need to start up this business?

The top scoring three or four ideas might be worth exploring further.

Step 3

List the critical factors that you would need to make certain were right in taking the top-scoring three or four ideas from the previous exercise further. Evaluate the ideas and select the one you want to take further.

Additional Suggestions:


While generating ideas it is important not to evaluate them or get bogged down in the detail of how they may or may not work
Other comments: P. Burns, Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 3rd edn © Palgrave Macmillan, 2011



Title: Character Traits of Entrepreneurs & Motivation
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -character traits of entrepreneurs;

-their motivation.

Aim/learning outcome: -students can identify those characteristics in case studies of entrepreneurs;

-students can discuss characteristics and motivations;

-students can identify those characteristics in their own personality

Objectives: to make students focus on the character and the motivation of an entrepreneur
Duration:  1 hour
Materials needed: Paper and pens in case students would like to write down the results of the discussion
Step by step instruction: Question 1

What do you feel are the most important character traits for an entrepreneur? Explain why this would be the case and give examples. What do you personally feel hinders entrepreneurship? Again, explain why and give examples. Has there been a time in your life where positive or negative aspects promoted/inhibited entrepreneurial activity for you?

Question 2

Explore which factor motivate entrepreneurs. Read one of the classics on entrepreneurship: Joseph Alois Schumpeter’s (1911) Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, which was published in English language in 1934 – You should find what you are looking for on pages 90-95. You can also get a good overview of its relevance by studying the book review in Croitoru (2012).

Read also http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-some-entrepreneurs-feel-fulfilledbut-othersdont-1432610236 and compare the motivations. Maybe we have to distinguish between the motivation of entrepreneurs (once in a lifetime) and the motivations of serial entrepreneurs. Self-competition can be an interesting concept that drives serial entrepreneurs.

Discuss the motivation of people to choose entrepreneurship as a career path. Discuss which institutional factors in your economy support these motivations and which factors in your economy hamper these motivations. Try to assess whether this helps us to understand the international differences in the propensity to become an entrepreneur.


Additional Suggestions:


Croitoru, A. (2012). Schumpeter, J.A., 1934 (2008), The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry into Profit, Capital, Credit, Interest and the Business Cycle, translated from The German by Redvers Opie News Brunswick (U.S.A) and London (U.K.): Transaction Publishers. Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, 3(2), 137– 148. doi:10.2307/1812657
Other comments: Teaching Toolkit for Entrepreneurship Education (2016) by Bernd Ebersberger, Christine Pirhofer and Desiree Wieser






Title: Failure Resume
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -motivation;

-finding success:


Aim/learning outcome: -change the relationship to failure;

-making the most of the failure.

Objectives: How to fear learn from failure
Duration:  2 hours
Materials needed: -pens;


Step by step instruction: I.Start by showing your students a slide featuring the following faces they will recognize:



Elon Musk

Vera Wang

Steve Jobs

You (this is the most important one!)


Ask your students:


“What do all of these people have in common?”

Answer: They were all failures before they were successes.


Tell students:


Oprah, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs were all fired from their jobs before they became successful.

Show Elon Musk’s Failure Resume, highlighting the number of failures he’s encountered on his way to success.

Vera Wang failed to achieve her goal of making the Olympic team in figure skating and failed to get the job as the editor in chief of Vogue (after working there for 20 years) before eventually starting her own fashion line. She’s now in the US Skating Hall of Fame for the costumes she’s designed for skaters.


Share one of your own failures.


Tell your students that if they want to find or create a job they enjoy that pays well, one of the most impactful things they can do is change their relationship to failure.

Tell students in this class you will give them the opportunity to learn how to make the most of their failures. The first step towards doing that is to show them how valuable their failures have already been to them.

You’re going to ask your students to be vulnerable and share their failures. The best way for them to engage with this exercise is for you to be vulnerable and share your failures with them. In doing so, you’ll demonstrate the failures are what we make of them.


You want your students to create a resume, but not a typical resume where they document all of their successful accomplishments. This is going to be a failure resume.


Tell your students that using the following categories as inspiration, they should try to come up with at least their three biggest failures, they have experienced, thus far and their lives:







They don’t need to come up with failures in each category, they just need to try to come up with three failures in total.


To help inspire ideas, share some examples of your own failures with your students.


Share with student your example. *


For each of the failures that you share with your students, be sure that you have real impactful lessons that you’ve taken from them.


The reflection and lessons learned is the step you must demonstrate for your students. Don’t languish on the actual failure too long!


Tell your students you’ll give them a few minutes in silence to reflect on and identify their failures.


Looking over their failures, ask students to identify the one that they learned from the most. In other words, the one that would change their behaviour the most.


With that failure in mind, ask your students to fill in the bottom half of the failure resume, answering the questions:


My Biggest Failure Taught Me…

And Changed My Behavior By….


Share you own experience.**


After students have written in their answers, pair them up, ideally with someone they don’t know. They share their biggest failure with their partner, what they learned, and how it changed the way they act now,

Once your students had a chance to share with one another, ask a few to share what they learned from their failure with the rest of the class.


Because students are being vulnerable and sharing sensitive information be sure to thank each person who shares and reflect on what positive things it reflects about them that they something helpful away from their failures.


Tell your students the key to making the most of any failure is reflection. Once a failure occurs, successful people take time to identify:


What failed

Why it failed

And understand how they can improve next time


Ask your students to complete the last portion of their Failure Resume.***


By identifying techniques they’ll use to analyze and reflect upon their failure, for example:



Talking to someone


Contemplating alone


Tell your students to commit to themselves that when they face a failure, they will make the most of it by trying some of these new strategies, and by reflecting on the failure.


Additional Suggestions:


As you’re early in your class. It’s important to appreciate students for sharing; it will set the tone for the rest of your course.
Other comments: https://www.teachingentrepreneurship.org/category/exercises/

























Title: Design the Ideal Wallet
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -experimentation and prototyping;

-generation of ideas;

-design thinking proccess


Aim/learning outcome: Students learn:

-the value of engaging with real people to help them ground their design decisions,

-that low-resolution prototypes are useful to learn from (take an iterative approach)

-to bias toward action (you can make a lot of progress in a little bit of time if you start doing).

Objectives: – inject design thinking
Duration: 120 minutes
Materials needed: Paper, scissors, pens, pencils, post-it.
Step by step instruction: Step 1: The Wrong Approach

Tell students:


“Instead of just telling you about design thinking, we want to immediately have you jump right in and experience it for yourself. We are going to do a design project for about the next hour. Ready? Let’s go!”


Give students the “Design the IDEAL Wallet” worksheet and use the timer to count down the 3 minutes.



Don’t give students any instructions here – just tell them to draw an idea for their ideal wallet. It’s important to remind them that you are not a good artist (whether you are or are not), and that they are not going to be judged at all by their artistic ability.


The intention here is to contrast an abstract problem-centric approach to a human-centered design thinking approach.


Remind students after each minute expires. After the 3 minutes expires, ask students:


“How did that feel?”


They will likely offer some emotions that are not that positive. Highlight those, and tell them “that was a typical problem-solving approach, taking on a given problem, working using your own opinions and experience to guide you, and with a solution in mind to be designed. Let’s try something else – a human-centered design thinking approach.”


Step 2: A Better Approach

Give students the “Your New Mission” worksheet and have them pair up.


Their job is to design something useful for their partner. Tell students the most important part of designing for someone is to gain empathy. Students will do this by having a conversation with their partner.


Tell students that Partner A will have 4 minutes to interview Partner B, then they will switch. Have Partner A walk Partner B through the contents of their wallet. Encourage Partner A to ask questions about when they carry a wallet, why they have particular things in there, and to make notes of things they find interesting or surprising.


Start playing upbeat music (I like Motown) and start the 4 minutes. Partner A asks Partner B to go through Partner B’s wallet. Then they switch and spend 4 minutes in reversed roles.


Step 3: Dig Deeper

After this first set of interviews, encourage students to follow up on things they found interesting or surprising. They should dig for stories, feelings, and emotions (around pictures, artifacts, etc.) Encourage students to ask “Why?” often and to let their partner talk.


Students need to understand that the wallet is a distraction, that what is important for them to discover is what is important to their partner. Remind students to make note of any unexpected discoveries and to capture quotes.


Step 4: Reframe the Problem

Give students the “Reframe the Problem” worksheet.


Have each student individually reflect for three minutes on what they learned about their partner. Tell students to synthesize their learning into two groups:


Their partner’s goals and wishes. Students should use verbs to express these. Remind students that these should be needs related to the wallet and life, that they should think about physical and emotional needs. Give them an example of maybe their partner needing to minimize the number of things he carries, or he needs to feel like he is supporting the local community and economy.

Any insights they discovered. Tell them they can leverage insights when creating solutions. Give them an example that they might discover their partner values purchases more when using cash to make it. Another example could be that the partner sees the wallet as a reminder and organizing system, not a carrying device.

Step 5: Take a Stand

This is where students articulate their point-of-view around which they will build solutions. Tell them to select the most compelling need and most interesting insight they gained from their partner. This statement is going to be the foundation for their design work, so encourage them to make it actionable, and exciting. Give them an example like these:


“Janice needs a way to feel she has access to all her stuff and is ready to act. Surprisingly, carrying her purse makes her feel less ready to act, not more.”




“Arthur needs a way to socialize with his friends while eating healthy, but he feels he isn’t participating if he isn’t holding a drink.”


Step 6: Sketch to Ideate

Give students the “Ideate” worksheet.

At the top, they write their problem statement. Tell them they are now creating solutions to the challenge they’ve identified. Push them that quantity is better than quality here, that they should go for volume of sketches of ideas. Remind them the goal here is idea generation, not evaluation; challenge them by saying “see if you can come up with at least 7 ideas!”


Keep telling them as each minute passes, and remind them to be visual, to not use words but to use pictures.


It is important to remind them here that they may not be designing a wallet, but that they should create solutions to the problem statement they just created.


Step 7: Share Solutions and Capture Feedback

During this step, partners share their sketches with each other for 4 minutes each. As each partner gives reactions to the sketches, the other partner should take note of any likes and dislikes, and also listen for any new insights. Remind students the goal here is not to validate their ideas, and not to explain or defend their idea. This is an opportunity to learn more about their partner’s feelings and motivations. After four minutes, students switch.

Step 8: Reflect & Generate New Solutions

Give students the “Iterate based on feedback” worksheet.

Tell students to take a moment to consider what they learned about their partner and about the solutions they generated. Using all they’ve learned, ask students to sketch a new idea. This idea can be a variation on an idea from before or could be something entirely new. It is OK if they need to adjust their problem statement to incorporate new insights and needs they discovered in Step 7. Encourage students to provide as much detail and color around their idea as they can. They should think about how the solution fits into their partner’s life, when, and how they might handle or encounter the new solution.

Tell students the next step is to create a physical prototype of their solution. Explain they should not just make a scale model of their idea.


They should create an experience that their partner can react to.

They need to actually make something their partner can engage and interact with. Students who want to create a service will ask how they can create that. Talk about creating a scenario that allows the partner to experience it – they can use space, act it out, etc.


Push students to be quick, remind them they have only a few minutes.


Step 10: Share Your Solution & Get Feedback

Now one partner will share their prototype and collect feedback, then partners will switch roles. Tell students they are not interested in validating the prototype, but instead are interested in a targeted conversation around the experience, specifically focused on feelings and emotions. Remind students their prototype is not precious, that they cannot cherish it and should let go of it. What is valuable here is the feedback and new insights they will gain from their partner’s interaction with the prototype. Students need to watch how their partner uses and misuses the prototype. They should take note of what their partner liked and didn’t like, what questions and ideas emerged.


Step 11: Group Gather & Debrief

Create a space that all students can gather around – move tables together, clear chairs, etc.


Have everyone put their prototypes in the middle of the gathering space.


This step is important! A well-facilitated reflection has the power to turn this exercise from simply a fun activity to a meaningful experience that could impact the way participants approach innovation in the future. Quickly pull together a few tables that everyone can gather around. Ask students:


“Who had a partner who created something that you really like?”

“Who sees something they are curious to learn more about?”

When a student is curious about a prototype, ask for the person who created the prototype and engage them in the conversation:


“How did talking to your partner inform your design?”

“How did testing and getting feedback impact your final design?”

“What was the most challenging part of the process for you?”

The key to leading this conversation is to relate the activity to the following takeaways:


Human-centred design: Empathy for the person or people you are designing for, and feedback from users, is fundamental to good design.

Experimentation and prototyping: Prototyping is an integral part of your innovation process. A bias towards action, toward doing and making over thinking and meeting.

Show don’t tell: Communicate your vision in an impactful and meaningful way by creating experiences and interactive visuals.

Power of iteration: Learn, try, fail, learn more, try again, fail again, learn more, and so the cycle goes. A person’s fluency with design thinking is a function of cycles, so we challenge participants to go through as many cycles as possible—interview twice, sketch twice, and test with your partner twice. Additionally, iterating solutions many times within a project is key to successful outcomes.

Additional Suggestions:


This exercise is great because every student has an artifact (their wallet or purse) that contains so much meaning in it. You can get some really interesting information about someone just by asking about their wallet. This project also tends to yield final solution ideas that are physical, and more easily prototyped.
Other comments: The Wallet Project, from Stanford University’s d.school






Title: Build your social enterprise
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -brainstorming;

-group work;

-social enterprise

Aim/learning outcome: -Knowledge how to set up a social enterprise based in community needs, specific information on steps to follow for opening a social enterprise.

-Skills improved: Creative thinking, solving problems, making decisions, observing surroundings, basing actions on needs and opportunities of the immediate context, working in a team and accepting other ideas.

Objectives: -foster creativity and innovation among participants;

-encourage teamwork among the participants;

-build team spirit while working on common ideas;

-promote learning about the social entrepreneurship among the group.

Duration:  180 minutes
Materials needed: Colorful Paper, A4 paper, markers
Step by step instruction: Explain the whole group that they will be working together in small teams to

create their social enterprise ideas. Make a summary of the previous sessions

to remind them what was learned. Give them the following input, written on a flip chart so they can all take notes (or prepare it as a handout, one per each team).

– Divide them into small teams of maximum 3-4 people per team, give them the handout, flipchart paper and markers and let them work. Upon return, they must be ready with a presentation of their idea.

Participants have to discuss and respond to the following questions:

ǂ WHAT? – What kind of social enterprise do you want to set up? It can be a product or a service.

ǂ WHY? – What makes it useful and convenient, and a winning idea? What community needs does it answer to? What makes it innovative?

ǂ HOW? – What do you need to start in terms of resources (financial, human and other kinds of resources)? How are you going to make it successful? What would be its slogan or campaign to launch it?

ǂ WHEN? – How much time do you need to launch it in the market? How do you think it can develop and in how much time?

ǂ WHERE? – Will your enterprise in be local, national or international level? Are you going to use some opportunities (such as funding, or materials, etc.) from somewhere else?

– Presentation of group work on social enterprises created by participants followed by feedback provided by participants and trainers. Allow enough time for each group to introduce and the participants to ask or clarify any questions they might have. Close the session with a debriefing and a round of applause for all the good work.

Additional Suggestions:


This session is ideally done after participants have received prior theoretical input about the topic. It could be done after having explored the topic deeply, and this will transform the knowledge into practice.
Other comments: Beyond Barriers Association – RAISE Project 2016-2017

Done by:

Ana Mullanji – Trainer in RAISE Project





Title: Paper Plane Competition
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -creativity;



-social skills;

-interpersonal skills in the context of entrepreneurial activities.

Aim/learning outcome: -students should be trained in analysing and solving problems that span an array of disciplines and whose scale ranges from the global to the individual. –as students are probably very unfamiliar with the topic of aerodynamics, a first challenge will already be the access to data and the research in the field before starting;

-collaboration is seen as the key to success which should be transmitted

through the competition among students;

-the paper plane competition is a metaphor for that you can fail on every single attempt, but you are never defeated until you quit

Objectives: to stimulate out-of-the box thinking, trying a non-traditional path to reach students
Duration:  45-60 minutes

All teams (competitors) should have the same amount of time to complete the paper plane competition. There is no minimum or maximum amount of time specification, therefore the instructor is free to choose it deliberately.

Materials needed: -classroom with tables;

-four sheets of copy paper (DIN A4) per team


-one standard paper clip

-7.5-8 cm of tape

-a drop of glue

-three staples

-measuring tape

-stopwatch (mobile phone)

-incentive, e.g. symbol, food, money etc. (optional)

-something to mark the starting line (e.g. coloured tape etc.)

Step by step instruction: Before starting to design a paper plane, students have to do research about the basics of aerodynamics and flight. Possible is also the provision of research materials as e.g. hand-outs.

Students have to design paper planes in teams or individually and compete in one out of two categories which they can choose:

1) DISTANCE: For the distance category each student/team throws his or her paper plane while the instructor records distances in cm. All distances must be measured from the starting line to the point where the plane first touches the ground – not the final resting place if it slides! Each student/group has up to three tries.

2) TIME AIR: For the time air category, each student/team throws his/her/their paper plain while the instructor times the flights with an accurate stopwatch. Time is reported in seconds and hundredths of second. Again, each student/team has up to three tries.

At the end of the competition winners are determined and announced. If an incentive has been offered it is distributed to the best teams/individuals.


Finally, the instructor summarize the lessons learned during the paper plane competition.*


Additional Suggestions:


The instructor is responsible for checking the materials used in the competition and makes sure that only allowed materials are use. Cardboard planes, as well as paper airplane kits are not allowed.


To make the competition more difficult the left-hand-only rule can be introduced where teams are allowed to use their left hands only. This scenario forces to collaborate even closer within teams.

Other comments: Teaching Toolkit for Entrepreneurship Education (2016) by Bernd Ebersberger, Christine Pirhofer and Desiree Wieser


* Reflection

Reflection afterwards about:

  • Who tends to do the worst and why?
  • Who tends to do the best and why?
  • What improves performance and what does not?
  • What skills are needed?
  • What was challenging during the competition and what was easy?




Title: Collaboration Game
Target group: Youth Workers, and Youth Leaders as well as young entrepreneurs
Issues addressed: -team building;


-financial & economic literacy;

-taking the initiative;

-planning & management;

-coping with uncertainty, ambiguity & risk;

-learning through experience.

Aim/learning outcome: The collaboration game illustrates a Prisoner’s Dilemma*. The dilemma is that prisoners may confess when they better should not, and that they may fail to confess when they better should do so;

-the collaboration game explores the issues of risk and trust between team members and the effects of trust betrayal;

-the c game demonstrates the effects of competition between teams;

-it demonstrates the potential advantages of a collaborative approach to problem solving;

-purposes have to be established for any activity.


Students should learn how an effective collaboration and cooperation with competitors can lead to better outcomes. In this context students should especially observe and learn about the dynamics of trust and how important a trustful relationship between the cooperating parties is.

Objectives: the achievement of a more cooperative behaviour between team members who are pursuing shared goals. The game illustrates a Prisoner’s Dilemma which demonstrates whether people show cooperative behaviour (win-win) or selfish and competitive behaviour (win-lose) in a situation which offers the possibility of both.
Duration: 60 minutes
Materials needed: Max. 16 people, 2 teams and max. 8 per team. If there are more people/students, four groups should be formed, running two rounds. In the first round, teams A&B are players and teams Y&Z observers. In the second round Y&Z are players and A&B observers.

-Venue with enough open space for the two teams to meet separately without

interrupting or disrupting each other.

-In the centre of the room two chairs are placed where representatives meet and face each other to negotiate.**

Step by step instruction: The collaboration game is a team building game and illustrates a Prisoner’s Dilemma which demonstrates whether people show cooperative or competitive behaviour in a semi-serious environment.

1.The Facilitator explains that the group is going to experience a simulation of an old technique used in interrogating prisoners (carefully avoiding discussing the objectives of the exercise) where the questioner separates prisoners suspected of working together and tells one that the other has confessed and that if they both confess they will get off easier.

2.The Prisoner’s Dilemma is that they may confess when they should not and that they may fail to confess when they really should.

3.Two teams are formed, named A and B, and seated separately. They’re instructed not to communicate with the other team in any way, verbally or non-verbally, except when told to do so by the Facilitator.

4.The objective is simple: “Your group is to get the highest positive score (by the end of the game, which consists of 10 short rounds) and you’re looking to beat the other team.”


Main Objective: To get the highest possible positive score for your team


-There are two teams – A and B – who will play 10 rounds of competition.

-You will choose to play either Red or Blue.

-You will be scored as per the Score Table.

-The first 8 rounds are a maximum of 3 minutes each.

-You can have a conference, via representatives, with your opposing group after the fourth round (however, this can only take place at the request of both groups).

-You can have another conference (for a maximum of 3 minutes) after the eighth round, if both groups choose this.

-The ninth and tenth rounds score double and you will have 5 minutes in each round to make your decision.

-If both groups play Blue, each scores ‘-6’

-If one group plays Blue, the other Red then Red = -12 and Blue = +12

-If both play Red, each scores ‘+6’

Additional Suggestions:


1. The teacher should get familiar with the game beforehand. Ideally, the teacher plays a pilot round in order to understand the processes.

2. The teacher prepares the room with the required resources.

3. Short introduction and explanation of the game in class. The teacher provides background about the game and the experiencing of a simulation which goes back to an interrogating trick of prisoners (prisoners are separated and one of them is told that the other confessed, and that the best remaining solution is to also confess, otherwise he will be punished with more years because of dishonesty and inadequate cooperation).

4. Important however, is to not yet reveal the objective of the exercise (cooperation).

5. The teacher has to split up class into two teams, e.g. team A and team B.

6. Afterwards each team gets an instruction set (prepared by the teacher beforehand, see examples below) from the teacher and the game starts.

7. The teacher coordinates rounds as well as breaks. He should facilitate a flux of cooperation and competition in the teams to make them feel the emotional

rollercoaster. In the plenary discussion teachers can make students reflect upon this moments, connecting them to real life situations.

8. The team with the highest positive score is declared as the winning team from the teacher. The introduction of an incentive is possible and free of choice.

9. The teacher guides the discussion in the plenary review after the game.

Other comments: https://workshopbank.com/prisoners-dilemma

Teaching Toolkit for Entrepreneurship Education (2016) by Bernd Ebersberger, Christine Pirhofer and Desiree Wieser



*What is the Prisoner’s Dilemma?

Prisoner’s Dilemma is a game which demonstrates whether people display win-win (co-operative) or win-lose orientation (selfish competitive) in a situation which offers the possibility of both.

It contrasts their actual behavior with their expressed intentions, i.e. do people who say they support a win-win approach actually carry it out when the chips are down?

If they do, the implication is that they will be equally concerned that the other party’s needs are also met in any agreement.


**Game Setup

  • Two teams, e.g. A and B.
  • Teams choose if they want to play either red or blue.
  • Scores can be find on score tables which are distributed (showed).
  • The game consists of 10 short rounds and teams compete with each other.
  • The first 8 rounds have a maximum duration of 3 minutes each.
  • Teams can have a conference via team representatives with the opposite team after
  • round 4 (agreement of both teams needed).
  • Another conference is possible (max. 3 minutes), after round 8 (agreement of both
  • teams needed).
  • Round 9 and 10 score double and have a duration of 5 minutes each.
  • The team with the highest positive score is the winner.



How does this relate to prison?

Are you wondering how do the colors (red and blue) relate to either “confessing” or “denying” to the crime in the original Prisoners Dilemma? You can think of it like this:


-If both deny then the police don’t have anything to go on to send either team to prison. That means they get off and benefit so get +3 each (so both red).

-If both confess (blue) then the police have got them but they get lesser sentences for being honest (-3 each).

-If one confesses (blue) but the other denies (red) then the confessor gets rewarded for their presumed testimony against the other team in court (+6) and the denier goes to prison for a long time for not owning up (-6).


Facilitator Score Card


Plenary Review

  1. The whole group meets to process the experience.
  2. The Facilitator announces the points total for each team, and the sum of the two outcomes is calculated and compared to the maximum possible outcome (72 points).
  3. The Facilitator leads a discussion on the effects of high and low trust on interpersonal relations, on win-lose situations, and on the relative merits of collaboration versus competition. Here are some effective questions for you to use:

-Did your attitude to the game change between wanting to win and wanting to collaborate at any point? If yes, when and why?

-Was there a difference in your approach between the first 4 rounds, second 4 rounds and the final 2 (when there were double points on offer)?

-How did the conferences play out?

-What did you learn about yourself, your team members and the opposing team?

-When is having total focusing on winning OK and when is it not? What problems does wanting to win cause?

-How did it feel to win (to the team who won)?

-How did it feel to lose (to the team who lost)?

-If you did the activity again right now what would you do differently?




[1] Jean Baptiste Say, XIX Century Economist

[2] https://www.oxford-review.com/oxford-review-encyclopaedia-terms/entrepreneur-definition/

[3] Joseph Schumpeter, Austrian Economist

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.oxford-review.com/oxford-review-encyclopaedia-terms/entrepreneur-definition/

[6] https://www.business-to-you.com/scanning-the-environment-pestel-analysis/

[7] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/040915/how-many-startups-fail-and-why.asp#citation-3

[8] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/040915/how-many-startups-fail-and-why.asp#citation-3

[9] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281980914_3000_Raw_Ideas_1_Commercial_Success

[10] “can you make money with your invention?” John Tavela 1982

[11] https://instact.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/what-are-inputs-outputs-outcomes-impact-the-logic-model/

[12] https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan

[13] Inventor of business canvas, Alex Osterwald says that business canvas

[14] https://www.strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas

[15] https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan

[16] https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan

[17] https://www.statista.com/statistics

[18] https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan

[19] Meigs, Walter B. and Robert F. Financial Accounting, 4th ed. (McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1970) pp. 187-188.

[20] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/incomestatement.asp

[21] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/balancesheet.asp

[22] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/39015804_Blueprint_for_a_Green_Economy

[23] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/GE%20Guidebook.pdf

[24] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/126GER_synthesis_en.pdf

[25] https://www.greeneconomycoalition.org/news-and-resources/the-green-economy-a-primer

[26] https://www.greeneconomycoalition.org/news-and-resources/the-green-economy-a-primer

[27] http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf

[28] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-018-0627-5/figures/1

[29] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sustainability.asp

[30] https://sdgs.un.org/goals

[31] https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11625-018-0627-5.pdf

[32] https://www.enevo.com/blog/10-realistic-tips-to-make-your-business-greener-this-earth-day-186

[33] https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-linear-economy-The-take-make-and-waste-approach-of-

[34] https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept/infographic

[35] https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept/infographic

[36] https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/what-does-remanufactured-mean

[37] https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/case-studies/modular-design-and-a-new-business-model-

[38] https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept/schools-of-thought

[39] https://www.oas.org/dsd/publications/Unit/oea79e/ch05.htm

[40] https://quantumrenewable.com/2016/08/12/renewable-energy-is-the-future-of-our-economy/

[41] Julian Kirchher et al., ‘Breaking the Barriers to the Circular Economy’, 2017, https://circulareconomy.eu

[42] Julian Kirchher et al., ‘Breaking the Barriers to the Circular Economy’, 2017, https://circulareconomy.eu

[43] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_curve

[44] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_curve

[45] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

[46] http://insideenergy.org/2014/10/02/ie-questions-why-is-california-trying-to-behead-the-duck/

[47] https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/industry-and-services/entrepreneurship-at-a-glance-2010/measu

[48] https://greenbusinessbureau.com/blog/how-to-be-a-successful-ecopreneur/

[49] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314238861_Toward_a_Validated_Competence_Frame


[50] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314238861_Toward_a_Validated_Competence_Frame


[51] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.036

[52] http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504620500526362

[53] https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-011-0132-6

[54] http://dx.doi.org/10.3152/147154606781765147

[55] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.036

[56] https://edepot.wur.nl/421500

[57] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/the-business-of-sustainability-

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[59] https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/first-green-deal-funding-european-innovation-council-awards-over-

[60] https://matical.com/the-eic-equity-fund-becomes-an-official-entity

[61] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1588580774040&uri=CELEX%3A52019DC0640

[62] https://startupeuropeawards.eu/project-view/green/

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[67] Paych, M. Tuckman’s stages of team development https://www.adcisolutions.com/knowledge/tuckmans-stages-team-development

[68] McLeod, S. Kolb’s learning styles and experiential learning cycle. https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html

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