OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Giving the unemployed investment vouchers for start-ups

Vouchers are given to the unemployed to invest in start-ups. The value of the voucher increases with the individual's time of being unemployed, as well as their involvement in the start-up (as a way of incentivizing start-ups.)

Photo of James Moyer
2 12

Written by

This concept attempts to bring the unemployed and web entrepreneurship worlds together and benefit both. 

Unemployed individuals receive a voucher to invest in a start-up. For instance, an individual who has been unemployed for three months may receive a voucher for €150. That voucher may then be used to invest in a start-up. That gets the unemployed looking at various startups, which means that they will be thinking about business/entrepreneurship in general, hopefully getting them to see various opportunities to get back to work. Also, start-ups will be courting the unemployed for their vouchers, and that may lead to work opportunities for the voucher holding. 

Generally, the longer a person has been unemployed, the more difficult it is for the unemployed to find work. As a way of mitigating this, this concept proposes to increase the value of the vouchers the longer the individual has been out of work. Those three month out of work people may get a €150 voucher, but a person out of work for two years may get a €3000 voucher. 

As an incentive to get the unemployed involved in a start-up, the value of the voucher increases if the person works for/interns for that start-up. So a person unemployed for one year (€1500) gives their voucher to a start-up and that start-up happens to like the person and takes them on. Because of that, the voucher doubles, so after a few months of working there, the start-up gets an extra €1500.

The ultimate voucher add-on is when an unemployed individual starts their own business, which this concept has decided is important enough to incentivize substantially. I'd propose that the voucher immediately doubles simply for filing a viable business plan and may also add more value the more progress is made in the establishment of the business. Again, given that this scheme is intended to help both the unemployed and entrepreneurship, it may be deemed appropriate to add secondary and tertiary add-ons when other unemployed individuals are involved. So a person who has been out of work for five years starting a viable business, taking on other people who have been unemployed for a similar length of time may be working with vouchers worth five or ten times normal vouchers. But that would be worth it to get the long-term unemployed working again. 

How will your concept support web entrepreneurship?

It puts money and people together.

What kinds of resources will be needed to get this concept off the ground and scale it?

Well money is the main requirement here. Since it is already being given to the unemployed, that money can be funneled off of existing unemployment benefit schemes, which can also be used for the administration of the voucher system.

How could we get started?

Jurisdiction specific legislation.


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


Hi James, unemployed people get support usually only for a limited period of time from a limited public budget. Do you expect to decrease this period to ensure funding for the vouchers or do you foresee other funding?

View all comments