João Duarte , Portugal

In 2014 João founded Menos, an organisation that facilitates and accelerates micro entrepreneurship, in response to the high domestic unemployment rate. Portugal was badly affected by the 2008 financial crisis and unemployment has remained high since. João noticed that unemployment was not only affecting young people but also skilled experienced workers. He also discovered that many people held misconceptions about entrepreneurship which meant they did not even consider the possibility of starting a business. Menos began as a programme to teach people about the basics of entrepreneurship, with a focus on small scale, local, community-based businesses. The concept of micro entrepreneurship was more palatable to people who were unsure about the prospect of starting their own initiatives. João and his two colleagues developed a curriculum explaining the basics of starting a business. After running a pilot of the project, Menos held 5 programme cycles with a total of 40 people graduating from the programme. The programme was developed into a two week intensive training course with mentoring and support. Follow up research found that up to one third of participants were still running their businesses and generating income 6 months after the end of the programme. Menos has been supported by a range of partners including government bodies and local businesses.