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A community for self-education

Pärnu Network

Community for self-education


What’s the problem?

The quiet coastal city of Pärnu, Estonia turns into a bustling resort town in summer. This causes a problem, however, for the generation of school-age youth and students living there. They are driven out of the city in summer by a rental market that favours tourists, and move to other cities after graduation seeking learning opportunities and employment outside of the service industry.


What’s the solution?

Estonia has a thriving culture of entrepreneurship. In cities like Tallinn and Tartu a lot of initiatives can be found that support entrepreneurs and freelancers in the creative and tech industries, as well as social entrepreneurship. In Pärnu, this ecosystem is much more underdeveloped. The Pärnu Network aims to fill some of these gaps by creating a community of self-educated entrepreneurs who offer to share their skills, knowledge and learning resources. The solution is two-fold: it encourages self-learning to stimulate (young) people to start their own business in Pärnu, and at the same time offers a platform and community to entrepreneurs in the city to increase support and visibility.



  • Online community and resource hub
  • Mentoring program
  • Self-learning event series



  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education
  • IT, media, design



  • Forwardspace facilitating the space for the learning programme
  • Entrepreneurs (creative, media & tech industry)
  • (Young) people looking for learning opportunities



  • Give ambitious young people the resources to start learning things they love doing
  • Increase self-motivation, self-awareness and the ability to learn independently among youth


How is the solution innovative within the local context?

In Pärnu, self-learning is not a well-known phenomenon and is not seen by most people as a feasible alternative to traditional higher education or vocational training as a way to develop skills. Pärnu Network showcases successful professionals who have taken this route, by which they are challenging public perception and creating more diversity in (local) opportunities for youth.



The team is currently looking into various funding opportunities like crowdfunding, funding by the local government or funding from national programs for social innovation. Another option they are exploring is to create an international self-learning event in an Erasmus+ youth exchange format.


Stage of development

  • Teaming up with the (new) local co-working space Forwardspace
  • Piloting the concept
  • Planning the first TEDx Pärnu event



This innovation was developed during a co-creation process facilitated by Pärnu Community Fund and Forwardspace and supported by the Social Innovation Community.