United Way Launches Essential Skills Program InnoMate for 4th Time

In Hungary

United Way launched its successful InnoMate program for developing the entrepreneurship skills of secondary school students for the fourth time on Feb. 16. Seven secondary schools from Budapest, Szeged, Kisújszállás, Szentendre and Szeged are participating.

According to research, poor problem-solving and conflict-management skills, low creativity, and lack of experience in cooperation and teamwork severely hamper the job prospects of Hungarian secondary school students.

The fact that most pupils gain minimal experience in innovation, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, effective communication, financial awareness, and responsibility exacerbates the education system’s shortcomings.

Low self-confidence and a lack of initiative, experimentation, and implementation predict poor performance in the workplace and reduced employment prospects.

In collaboration with education and start-up experts, United Way developed a specific curriculum to equip young people with the work and entrepreneurial skills needed to meet today’s needs.

Essential Business Skills

The program has been running since 2020 and has helped hundreds of secondary school students gain the knowledge and skills essential to succeed in the job market.

The curriculum, unique in Hungary, develops creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration but also provides the foundations for community building, business ethics, and social responsibility.

The program includes a one-day hackathon at participating schools, followed by 12 Innovation Club sessions. The objective is that the participating teams plan and develop an entrepreneurial idea while learning the curriculum.

In the multi-round competition between the participating teams, they match their strength several times. The best five or six teams will join a three-day innovation camp in June with experts, entrepreneurs, coaches and mentors before they present their ideas on finals day.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of February 23, 2024.

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