PIN is a mini-grant start-up support programme dedicated to young people, offering a grant (10.000 € to 30.000 €) and support measures
PIN collects and stimulates innovative ideas, to be tested and expanded into business models, in three main areas:
∙ technological innovation,
∙ cultural innovation,
∙ social innovation.
Project ideas are evaluated according to their level of innovation, their feasibility (follow-up prospects) and their prospective territorial impact by an independent external commission.
PIN is accessible to informal groups of at least 2 young people between the age of 18 and 35, resident in Apulia, who apply their business ideas directly via the dedicated online platform.
If financed, the informal applicant group must establish a legal entity and implement its business idea as per the approved project within a timeframe of maximum 12 months. 70% of the project’s budget is paid out within the first two months of the project’s duration to facilitate initial investments toward market launch of the overall business idea. The remaining 30% is paid out after the project’s conclusion and following a positive verification of its complete final financial and activity report. From the moment of approval of the business idea up to the final activity and expenditure verification, beneficiaries are accompanied by a dedicated staff member and have access to a wide range of support services, capacity building opportunities and networking opportunities.
Human resources: 2 overall managers, 5 operational staff, 4 administrative staff, 4 communication & web staff
Financial resources: PIN was financed by the ESF Apulia’s ROP 2014- 2020. Funds dedicated to grants: 16.000.000 €; funds dedicated to services: 4.500.000 €
Evidence of success
From September 2016 to November 2020, PIN has financed the realisation of 460 start-up projects by young people, approximately 27% were approved. Until December 2020, 418 new legal entities were created.
As regards support actions, the programme has so far implemented: 2 company visits; 14 trade fair participations; 51 interactive thematic workshops; 17.740 hours of specialised professional services rendered.
The reach of the PIN programme has been excellent in terms of participation and activation of the older age groups (above 25 years of age) but PIN has not yet proven of sufficiently easy access as a policy instrument to involve the younger age group (from 15-24 years) and NEETs.
Potential for learning or transfer
As a full measure, PIN may pose as a challenge to replication efforts. A programme of its size, with the needed timeframe, financial resources, and the creation of a dedicated heterogeneous implementation team should be part of overall programming period planning actions.
What distinguishes PIN, is its ongoing, integrated, tailor-made, and grassroots approach to additional support actions which, while complementary to the overall grant scheme framework, is directly implemented within the same programme therefore continuously extends, updates and improves it. All support measures ideated and integrated into the PIN grant scheme over the years have a high level of transferability and can make perfect sense on their own.
Therefore, whoever may be interested to focus practices for accompanying and aspiring young entrepreneurs through a grassroots and community approach, can find components and building blocks within the PIN programme.