The Launch of the “RAISE Youth” project took place on 03.07 at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb, Croatia. Under the full name “Rural Action for Innovative and Sustainable Entrepreneurship for Youth” the project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment with 3.1 million EUR. Project duration is 40 months, ending 31. December 2021.
RAISE will tackle the non-existing job market for young NEETs from rural areas facing depopulation through a social innovation involving synergy between sustainable agriculture, tourism and digital technologies, through entrepreneurship, initiating a “RAISE Model” of (self) employment in Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain for 2000 NEETS! RAISE in Croatia will focus on Lika-Senj County, the county with the highest NEET rate in Croatia!
During the opening session, Velimir Žunac, State Secretary at the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, Karlo Starčević, Mayor of the City of Gospić, one of the project partners and Maja Dodić, representative of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Zagreb, gave opening remarks. Afterwards Mary Ann Rukavina Cipetić, Project Coordinator (GTF – Initiative for Sustainable Growth) presented the project, and stated “Rural youth NEETS’ rate is above 20% and as high as 35% in our 4 countries making the need for such an intervention long overdue!”
On this occasion H. E. Astrid Versto, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Croatia, stated: “Our Fund for Youth Employment is set up to find and test out new ways to create workplaces for young people in Europe. We have high expectations to the RAISE Youth project both locally here in Croatia and that it can serve as inspiration also in other countries. It is handpicked among 300 project proposals from all over the continent. Out of 27 projects we have selected for funding, seven of them involve Croatian organizations. This is a great success and Croatia should be proud for its applicants!”
 NEETs – not in employment, education or training