Links and exchange within and between countries

A significant component of the RAISE Youth project was value chain creation and fostering both vertical and horizontal stakeholder cooperation. The aim of these activities was to extend the impact of RAISE demo centers beyond individual projects and into broader contexts, establishing interconnected value chains within relevant stakeholders. This was achieved through mentoring programs, promoting cross-sector collaboration (including triple/quadruple helix innovations involving academia, industry, government, and civil society), and facilitating market access for new products and services developed through the project.

Policy dialogue was an important element, ensuring that stakeholders at the policy level were aware of and engaged with the RAISE methodology and interventions. This dialogue helped align project objectives with broader policy frameworks and priorities, enhancing the sustainability of project outcomes. In each of the participating countries, the RAISE Youth project prioritized engagement with local governments, fostering strong partnerships that significantly influenced the project’s impact at the policy level. In Bulgaria, the project team established a cooperation with the Pernik regional government, collaborating closely to align project activities with regional development strategies and policy frameworks. Similarly, in Spain and Croatia, the cities of Casarrubuelos and Gospić played important roles as project partners, actively engaging with the RAISE Youth initiative. This partnership enabled direct involvement of local governments in project activities, facilitating policy dialogue and promoting the adoption of innovative approaches to youth entrepreneurship and rural development within municipal agendas.

As the lead partner organization, GTF-ISG maintained relationships with regional governments in Lika-Senj County, Split-Dalmatia, and Sisak-Moslavina (Mobile RAISE). These partnerships were instrumental in aligning project activities with regional development priorities, leveraging resources, and advocating for policy changes that support youth empowerment and economic growth in rural areas.

The project team built connections with local entrepreneurs by establishing various platforms within the RAISE Youth project such as Start.cro,, Explore Lika, Travel Sofia West and the Tourist Route in Pernik. Through these platforms, local entrepreneurs were provided with opportunities to promote their services and participate in mentoring and apprenticeship sessions. Furthermore, the project team actively promoted the services and products of these entrepreneurs at local markets and facilitated their participation in fairs and exhibitions. By fostering these connections and providing tangible support to local entrepreneurs, the RAISE Youth project increased visibility and market access for local businesses.

To facilitate links and exchange of knowledge, the project implemented various activities such as study visits among partners across all collaborating countries, regular project board meetings, development of the social service jam methodology, organization of policy dialogue meetings, and collaboration with other relevant initiatives and networks. These activities promoted continuous learning, knowledge sharing, and capacity building among stakeholders, ultimately strengthening the impact and reach of the RAISE Youth project within and beyond the participating regions. By fostering stakeholder cooperation and value chain development, RAISE Youth demonstrated a holistic approach to rural development that integrates innovation, entrepreneurship, and policy engagement to drive lasting socio-economic change.