#YouthEmpowered programme next step: an inclusive business school for young people

«I want to show the gaming universe to people with disabilities». People with disabilities learned how to start their own business

“I came here to collect all information I can about self-entrepreneurism in Belarus. I am planning to start my own business – selling special computers, games and accessories for people with disabilities. From my point of view, it’s a new branch that has such a little amount of competitors in Belarus and I have to develop this idea as fast as I can. I just need some advice and practical skills that would help me to start.

Moreover, I really like to make new acquaintances. It helps me to leave the comfort zone and from time to time makes me look at problems and things from a different angle”.

Kirill thinks that his own business will allow him to do what he loves and earn money at the same time. Young man has some problems with the employment because of his disability group. Several years ago he received a merchant diploma, but now he cannot get a job in this sphere.

Besides Kirill 12 other people aged 18 to 29 took part in this jubilee business school. Some of them are only about to graduate from school, but the most active listeners were those who had already managed to start their own business.

Rimma Eupur, the Director of Business incubator, supported the students during all three days of the project and acted as a moderator during the classes.

“At the age of 25 I became blinded on one eye and therefore I understand what it is like to try to bring idea into reality and not to believe in yourself at the beginning. Honestly, this business school was the most difficult but also the most productive one. People who came here have signed up for a three-day course for a reason. They all came for the new knowledge, so no one hesitated to ask questions, everyone could express their opinion and discuss it in groups".

Kirill attended classes for three days. He was comfortable in his group -- the average age of listeners is 25-26 years. During the training participants attended classes from classical theory to practical exercises and business games.

The organizators selected the mentors for the programme with special attention. It was important that people understand the audience and can provide useful knowledge. Traditionally representatives from Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus take part in business schools as mentors. Bogdana Yavorskaya, Channel Marketing Manager, gave a lecture about how marketing campaigns work.

“Students themselves moderated the learning process and received the information that would be potentially useful for them. It was clear that the listeners were loyal to our brand. They were interested not only in advertising campaigns and promo-actions, but also asked questions about the recruiting system, how we attract new employees and what we do to keep them in the company".

It's great that we meet the expectations of local communities. Young people and social workers see us as a socially responsible company and are waiting for advice. Such projects invest in community wellbeing and make the company one of the most successful on the Belarusian market

Bogdana Yavorskaya Channel Marketing Manager, Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus

The second part of the project will be launched next year. "From idea to business" is a long-term programme, which, after a while, like other projects of the company, will gain a scale and become a platform for knowledge exchange among our employees as well.

Kirill as well as other participants can take part in the training only once. Now he needs to apply his knowledge in practice. But the project "From idea to business" together with the Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus PA&C Manager Angelica Melnikova continue to monitor his success.

"A special inclusive business school is a new experience for us. In 2018 we set the task to increase the number of listeners by half, also including the regions. By the way, young entrepreneurs form Novopolotsk and Orsha already had a chance to attend business school in their cities. As organizers, we conducted preliminary work on the mistakes and celebrated the achievements of our listeners. It is amazing that guys always give feedback and help us become better. Most importantly, there is always a room for improvement and we are not going to stop there".

It seems to us that the project should be even more practice-oriented. There are ideas about implementing a specialization, establishing a partnership between the United Nations Development Program in Belarus and The Coca‑Cola Foundation. Most importantly, there is always a room for improvement and we are not going to stop there

Anzhelika Melnikova PA&C Manager, Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus

Business school "From Idea to Business" is a part of the international Youth Empowered programme, which is successfully implemented by Coca‑Cola HBC Group in 28 countries. This summer in Dubrovnik Coca‑Cola HBC and The Coca‑Cola Company representatives recognized the Belarusian project as one of the most successful and extraordinary.