Entrepreneurs vs Society = WIN-WIN
FREE WEBINAR  I 16. 3. 2021, 17.30 CET


Young people are not sovereign community members and do not have full access to the citizenship rights of adults due to being yet to enter adulthood. But what can we do to encourage, attract and empower them to be more active in society? Should we use more digital options to make it easier for young people to participate in social and democratic life, making them productive through empowerment? Society needs to have a fully engaged youth who care about the future, are actively co-shaping policies, are making better ground for their future careers and have the opportunity to act.

  • Different international organisations are signing all kinds of agreements and treaties, parliaments passing new laws, people demonstrating on streets, etc. However, a big question remains, how can the young be included in these activities. Are they being left out or have they been invited to cooperate? How does Europe and the US encourage the youth to become active citizens?
  • Young people who have taken citizenship education demonstrate higher levels of civic knowledge and skills. Citizenship education and entrepreneurship education seem in some aspects to serve similar things – supporting people in becoming proactive, autonomously acting, opportunity-taking, and impact achieving. It is safe to say that the school system can play an essential part in helping the young to become active citizens. Which school systems are the world leaders in this matter, and what can we learn from them?
  • Laws define when young people have the right to make their own decisions about their situations. These laws are also determined by tradition, social pressure, etc. How different are the US laws to European, and how can we learn from each other or better say how can we implement better practices? Should we establish initiatives and put more pressure on governing bodies?
  • Young people are often seen as disengaged; alienated and apathetic when it comes to political and societal engagement. Is this a myth or truth, and what are the reasons behind it?
  • Non-governing bodies and initiatives are actively supporting the young to be more active citizens. What examples are working in Slovenia and Europe? What is the situation in the US?

In this free webinar, we will discuss how young people can get to be more active citizens and will compare the EU and the US initiatives that encourage the youth to be proactive. We will also discuss how entrepreneurs can help in shaping a system for the youth to become involved in politics, entrepreneurship, society, etc.

Brief description of the webinar

In a moderated Q&A debate, Alja Gajšek will host Peggy Parfenoff, Gretchen Zucker, Uroš Skrinar and Matic Žmuc, who have proven experience in youth engagement and active citizenship. They will present ways, methods and tools for how entrepreneurs can help them as active agents of change, including social entrepreneurship. One of the main topics in this free webinar will also be the differences between the cultures and how they affect the engagement of the youth in a civil sphere. They will also explain what can Europeans learn from Americans and vice versa. Peggy Parfenoff, Gretchen Zucker, Uroš Skrinar and Matic Žmuc will also discuss the reasons behind the apathetic behaviour of the youth when it comes to political engagement.

More information about Peggy Parfenoff, Gretchen Zucker, Uroš Skrinar and Matic Žmuc can be found in the guest panelists section. For more information about the moderator Alja Gajšek check out the moderator section.

Key takeaways:

  • Learn what initiatives and programmes in Slovenia, the EU and the US help the youth to become active in all spheres of society.
  • Learn what system and educational changes are needed to help the young become fully-equipped citizens with full responsibility and engagement.
  • Learn about the awareness of youth on the importance of active citizenship both in Slovenia and the US, and understand how we can learn from each other.
  • Understand the role of entrepreneurs in youth citizenship movements.

Guest panelists

Peggy Parfenoff, WorldChicago, United States:

Peggy Parfenoff has been leading WorldChicago in the role of President since 2001, meeting emerging leaders – young and old – from all over the world and sharing our amazing city of Chicago with them. Before joining WorldChicago, Parfenoff worked at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Director of Development. While at the Department of Cultural Affairs, she earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Parfenoff attended Central College in Pella, Iowa which allowed her the opportunity to spend a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, the first of her many international travels.

Gretchen Zucker, Ashoka, United States:

Gretchen Zucker has spent nearly the past two decades leading initiatives to support Ashoka’s mission of spreading a culture of changemaking globally. Currently she is splitting her time between impact investing, acting as a strategic advisor to Ashoka, and co-leading an organization called Get America Working!. Past roles include Ashoka’s CFO, Youth Venture Executive Director, starting Ashoka’s Social Financial Services program, and leading a talent initiative to address the global talent gap.  Prior to Ashoka, Gretchen worked for McKinsey, USAID, the Ethiopian government, and an organization she co-founded called Her House. She holds a Bachelor’s from Ohio State University, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard, and an MBA from MIT.

Uroš Skrinar, Zavod Movit, Slovenia:

Uroš Skrinar started his youth career at the Trbovlje Youth Center. His contribution to the Youth Sector is evident in preparation of National Youth Law and the design and planning of the National Youth Program as well as the guidelines for the operation of the Governmental Council of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth, of which he was also member. In 2011, after a long cooperation as a project officer with the Network MaMa, the umbrella organization of youth centers in Slovenia, he became the director of the network and with the excellent team he led, significantly increased the recognition of youth centers and strengthened their position on local and national level. At the same time, Network MaMa developed in one of the most recognised and influencal key actors in youth work in Slovenia. Due to the above, he is also the recipient of the 2015 ministerial state award in the youth sector for quality and successful work over a long period of time. Since 2014 on, he continues to follow his passion working in and for youth work as Head of Slovenian National Agency for Erasmus+: Youth in action and European Solidarity Corps programmes.

Matic Žmuc, Zavod Ypsilon, Slovenia:

Matic Žmuc is the director of the Ypsilon Institute, where he helps young people build successful careers through education, networking opportunities and mentoring. He started his career in the marketing department of fintech  company MBILLS d. o. o., where he manages the field of digital marketing and the implementation of major integrated communication campaigns. He is active also in the Student Section of the Marketing Association of Slovenia, where he serves  in the Board of Directors. Furthermore, as a project manager he takes care of the successful planning and implementation of events for the general public and the development of young marketers.


Alja Gajšek, CEED Slovenia, Slovenia:

Alja Gajšek has more than 10 years of experience in working, developing and supporting Slovene entrepreneurs and helping them grow in CEED Slovenia. As Program Director she has developed and implemented many impactful programs, including Global Leaders Initiative – a partnership with the most successful global entrepreneur-founded technology companies from Slovenia with the mission to bring global best practices in building global companies; and AWE – Academy of Women Entrepreneurs, part of global initiative, supported by White House W-GDP, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy Ljubljana. Alja is also an Alumna of WorldChicago Tech, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pro Fellowship.

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This project was funded, in part, through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State.