On February 22 and 23, Director of the State Employment Agency (SEA) Evita Simsone and Deputy Director of the Department of Employment Measures, Head of the Department of Employment Measures Vineta Leončika participates in the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) conference "Public Employment Services and Entrepreneurship, Challenges for Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development", which is taking place in Tunis. The purpose of the conference is to share best practices and mutually learn from the successful experience of employment services in business promotion.

The article dedicated to the conference on the WAPES website emphasizes that entrepreneurship is currently one of the main drivers of economic development in all countries of the world. Valuing, encouraging and supporting entrepreneurs who turn ideas and projects into new businesses is a priority for economic development and involves many participants, including public employment services. Business also plays a leading role in driving innovation, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the development of digital technologies, new economies and new forms of work. The future challenges that global society will face in relation to climate and demographic change are a motivating ground for promoting business initiatives.

In the section "Encouraging the transition from unemployment to self-employment and the creation of companies" of the 2nd session of the conference, Evita Simsone presents SEA's experience in providing the opportunity to clients who have become unemployed to start self-employment or create their own company.

SEA has been offering support for starting a commercial activity or self-employment since 2008, providing consulting and financial support for starting a commercial activity to clients registered as unemployed. The event involves clients registered as unemployed, who have expressed a desire to start a commercial activity or self-employment and whose participation in the event is the most effective solution to their unemployment situation. With the support of SEA, when starting a commercial activity, former unemployed people become employers and create new jobs, promoting employment in regions where business plans are implemented.

Participants of the support measures for starting a commercial activity or self-employment participate in online seminars of the SEA and business consultants, learning or improving the knowledge necessary for starting a business, and submit their business ideas for evaluation. Submitters of the most viable business ideas receive individual consultations from experts in the field of business in matters of business plan development, prepare and submit business plans, which are evaluated by experts, determining the most promising and sustainable ones. In the evaluation of business plans, the quality of their development, the viability of the specific project and compliance with the existing labor market conditions, the justification for the use of the planned investments and other criteria are taken into account.

SEA concludes cooperation agreements with the authors of the most promising business plans, offering advisory and financial support for the implementation of the business plan. The SEA monitors the implementation of the supported business plans for two years.

In the first year of business implementation, SEA pays a one-time grant for starting a commercial activity or self-employment - up to 5,000 euros, and for the first six months of operation, grants for income - 750 euros per month. In the second year of business implementation, the event participant can receive a one-time grant for the development of business or self-employment - up to 5,000 euros. If the event participant has a disability, SEA finances the adaptation of the place of implementation of his business plan - up to 1000 euros.

During the previous three years, the implementation of business plans supported by SEA was started in such areas as manufacturing industry (11.5%); arts, entertainment and recreation (9%); professional scientific and technical services (8%); accommodation and catering services (8%). Business ideas with the support of SEA are also implemented in wholesale and retail trade, car repair, education and other fields of activity.

In 2023, 397 unemployed people were involved in SEA's commercial activity or self-employment activities, while 77 clients received SEA's support for the implementation of a business project.

More detailed information about SEA measures for starting a commercial activity or self-employment, as well as some success stories of the implementation of a business idea, can be read in the "Starting a commercial activity" section of the website.