Unemployed young people enjoy learning about entrepreneurship by playing Biz-e-bee
The Youth Entrepreneurial Service (YES) Foundation piloted Biz-e-bee in the capital city in Skopje, in Macedonia, during a training course on entrepreneurship for integrating unemployed young people into the labour market with a particular focus on minorities, by developing their skills for self-employability. On the 16th of May, a group of 15 people gathered at the premises of YES business incubator, which is the oldest and biggest ICT incubator in the country and run by the YES Foundation. They had theoretical lectures with a trainer on the topic of business plan writing, marketing and principles of management, and the Biz-e-bee experience came in as a real treat in the final day of the training. The game brought an added value to the course by providing a unique opportunity for the participants to test newly acquired general knowledge on entrepreneurship and to understand and practice entrepreneurial competences that need to be developed in order to be successful in starting up your own business.
Biz-e-bee game playing was led by trainers Kristina and Olivera, who were both introduced to the game and prepared for the role of game masters in Nijmegen in December 2015. "The game playing was exceptionally well received", Kristina has said. "The group of people, hungry for a challenge and willing to take in as much as possible welcomed Biz-e-bee with ease", she concludes. "The game rules were explained to the participants in detail. In addition, we knew their background and could incorporate the game in the context", Olivera continues. "We tried to give the gaming experience a very important edge - being able to preselect questions and add more challenging situations to enable players to take the most out of the gaming experience - I believe we succeeded".
The group of players was highly diverse, in both age, experience, education. However, this unique milieu hence enabled a highly vibrant experience. Participants combined their knowledge and skills, plotted their strategies with a lot of enthusiasm and enjoyed playing Biz-e-bee. The most successful examples of the gaming experience include group activities: the bridge building challenge, the marketing campaign challenge, the negotiation challenge, etc. The players loved a good competition, but one that is interlinked with the need of communication and collaboration to accomplish the challenge. Some of the comments and feedback provided by players in the evaluation questionnaire truly addressed the main aim of the Biz-e-bee game: "I learned that certain skills are better learned through game playing and also memorised in a better way", what I learned the most from the Biz-e-bee game playing is "principles of entrepreneurship", "team work", "how to pitch a business idea",...
The teams of players had an end of level task to write and present a brief business plan on a product or service they all agree upon. They had to use their knowledge to prepare it, they had to cooperate to work on it, recognise and put their individual abilities to use, also allocate their efforts and manage them in a restricted time. Further on, they had to plan their presentation, be creative and innovative to hold the audience's attention. In other words, players had a practical experience with all of the relevant competences and skills related to self-employability and entrepreneurship. Players learned about strategy, team work, competition, communication, management and problem-solving through a serious gaming method, which proved both educational and enjoyable. Biz-e-bee served its purpose well. We believe its immediate release will be met with a lot of attention by trainers, teachers and other professionals in the entrepreneurial field and also in other related courses.
Contributor: Project partner Youth Entrepreneurial Service Foundation