Discover Your Talent

Discover Your Talent

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Discover Your Talent is a yearly event organized by a team of four companies (this year’s team is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Elia, Accenture and Securex) together with Maks vzw and Business & Society Belgium. About sixty volunteers from these companies help eighty unemployed Brussels youngsters during one day, by sharing their professional experiences in several workshops to sharpen the youngsters’ employability skills.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Brussels, youth unemployment is higher than in the rest of Belgium. In some neighborhoods more than 50% of the youngsters remain jobless. 20% of adolescents never finish secondary school, have limited knowledge of their own competences and hold unrealistic ideals when it comes to their own job perspectives. In Brussels, the labor market geared towards high skilled job seekers, (50% jobs require at least higher education). Many youngsters don't have the necessary skills to hunt successfully for a job. Often they don't have a resume, are unsure how to respond to job ads, how to present themselves, generally have no experience with the professional world or are brought up in an environment without any positive role models,

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

With Discover Your Talent, we aim to bridge the gap between the youngsters’ world and the professional world, and give them practical tips on how to look for a job. To that end, we have set up various workshops that run throughout the day, and cover basic skills such as drafting a CV, carrying out a mock job interview, and learning how to use the internet to look for a job. In addition, both youngsters and volunteers get the chance to interact closely throughout the day, which helps overcoming stereotypes and prejudice.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Discover Your Talent is innovative as it establishes a link between the corporate world and the world of disadvantaged youngsters, to the benefit of all participants. Discover Your Talent focuses specifically on employability skills – Discover Your Talent is not a job fair, but volunteers are encouraged to transfer their inside knowledge of the corporate world to the youngsters, to help them advance in their job search. Discover Your Talent aims to enable and empower youngsters.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

As youth unemployment is not limited to the Brussels region, the topic is easily transplanted to other urban settings in Europe. Important is that there is a NPO that can reach and gain the trust of the youngsters while at the same time having a good understanding with the companies. Trust is the key word as both have to work together towards the same or similar goals (promote mutual understanding among participants and volunteers, show a positive image of young job seekers and impoverished areas, give volunteers an opportunity to contribute their time and experience, etc.). It's crucial to manage and discuss expectations on both sides: the social organization may see the companies as potential future employers of the participating youngsters , while the companies may not be in a position to accommodate this. All companies are encouraged to become part of the project.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

As unemployment among Young Brussels job seekers is an important issue, it is not surprising that quite a few organisations focus on this group. However, the main issue for all these projects is to reach the youngsters and to engage them. Even for Discover Your Talent, this remains one of the biggest challenges each year. Discover Your Talent is unique in that it brings corporations, nonprofit organizations and Young Brussels job seekers. Most other projects do not benefit from the support of the corporate world, whereas we believe that it is the direct contact between professionals and youngsters that make Discover Your Talent a successful format for all participants.


About five times per year we meet with one or more representatives of each company. Each meeting considers the preparation and evaluation of the event. We discuss results, expectations, budget, and other aspects systematically. We take decisions by consensus which functions smooth as we are still relatively few in numbers. Every meeting is organized at one of the participating companies.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Visit website
Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

Non profit organisation

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Project coordinator of Kurasaw Tewerkstelling



Twitter URL
Organization Name

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name






Twitter URL
Facebook URL
Organization Website
Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact
Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact
Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet.

What awards or honors has the project received?
Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

--Maks vzw
-MAKS stimulates collaboration between inhabitants and organizations in Brussels with the intent to strengthen the social fabric and improve the image of our neighborhood, Cureghem.
-Recruiting the youngsters, preparing them, making cv’s for those without one,
-Subsidies (Actiris and VGC) : with these means we pay the salary of one half time employee who accompanies the youngsters and operating costs during the entire year and the event

-Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
-Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a leading international law firm providing business law of the highest quality throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
-Organizing Discover Your Talent in cooperation with the other organizations and companies; running two workshops during the day; recruiting volunteers within Freshfields
-Each year, 15 to 20 Freshfields volunteers participate to Discover Your Talent, in addition to the four members of the core Freshfields team. Freshfields also covers part of the costs to set up the day.

- Elia
-Elia’s job is to ensure transparent and non-discriminatory access to the power transmission system. Not content with simply carrying out this task, Elia wants to do much more by playing a social role in the community.

-The principles of corporate social responsibility are fundamental to Accenture's character and the way we run our business. Accenture’s Corporate Citizenship commitments are anchored in our core values, our Code of Business Ethics and, ultimately, reflected in the actions of our people.

-Securex offers specific expertise, advice and innovative sollutions in all aspects of the management of human capital and strongly believes that for a society to grow, nothing is more important than its employees.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Every year since the first edition in 2011 between 60 and 80 youngsters participate. In 2013, 72 youngsters participated during the day, of which 61% found a job or started a professional training by the end of 2013. The project has a positive impact not just on the youngsters who found a job or professional training, but also the volunteers who have broadened their scope, and established contacts with young and ambitious people who live in the same city as them.
The image of the neighborhood is rarely positive in media coverage. When our project appeared in the national and local media, we were able to present a positive image of the youngsters and organizations that want to show that the neighborhood is not just a source of negative coverage.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

Our project has three different sources of revenue. Actiris, the regional employment agency for Brussels is our main subsidiary source and with those funds we pay a half time employee who works the whole year round on the project . She works on the event, but also on the mentoring, the individual guidance and 4 groups per year. The project is considered as a pilot project and despite the importance of Brussels youth unemployment, we are the only project that focuses on the subject. Current subsidies are safe until the end of 2014, we hope to continue the project in some form. Besides Actiris, the VGC, the Flemish Community of Brussels donate working funds to help organize the event. We have received their support since the edition of 2012. Last but not least, there is a modest fee contributed by the participating companies and also Abattoir who allow us to use the event hall for free.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The participating companies wanted to work around youth unemployment in Brussels and contacted Maks. After a few initial meetings we decided to create the event more or less as it now stands today. The companies contribute funds and volunteers who have a lot of professional expertise, while Maks helps young Brussels job seekers find a job or a professional training. The first year was crucial to set up the framework of the project and work out the concept, which we are still using today.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

During the preparation of the first edition it was a bit of a challenge for the volunteers to estimate the exact needs and the profiles of the youngsters. Maks provided assistance in explaining or predicting what approach would work or not. Maybe more troubling for Maks was the budget, as the luxury of local governmental aid didn’t exist during the first edition. Yet a lot of work was put in the dossier, especially with the recruiting of the youngsters. The solution to this problem was that the companies contributed a fee that would enable Maks to engage somebody who could work on the project for 3 months. As the event was very successful, both with the youngsters and volunteers, but also in attracting national and local media. Thanks to these funds Maks was able to secure subsidies for the next editions of the Discover Your Talent event and annually help almost 100 job young job seekers

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

With the subsidiary partners there's a good functioning relationship, all depend that Maks delivers them results of the event. The VGC demands a yearly report with results and testimonials of the event. With Actiris there's a more intensive activities report as well as a Financial justification. There also are several meetings (2-3/year) where we discuss the preparations, results and try to improve the project. With Actiris we also discuss the follow up Maks organizes with the youngsters in addition to the event. Together we compare the results to the criteria we set up before the event

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

There was no lack of respect, but there now is maybe more than there was before for people working in the private sector. Nonprofit organizations can learn a lot from companies on different levels and we think that it has had an impact on how we think and work internally, although we definitely remain a social oriented organization.

For companies whose main business is very remote from the work Maks is doing, Discover Your Talent is a unique forum to exchange views and know how and to get deeper insight in societal problems close to their offices. The partnership with Maks has proven to be invaluable to get a profound understanding of youngsters’ needs and the world they live in.

How did you find out about this competition?

via Business & Society Belgium network