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Plan to boost European entrepreneurship - 10/01/2013

Woman in grey suit leaving footprints on wooden staircase © iStock/James Tutor

Proposed measures would nurture new generations of entrepreneurs and help young people, women, older people, immigrants and unemployed people set up their own businesses.

Entrepreneurs are job creators. They lead many of the small start-ups generating 4 million new jobs created in Europe each year.

However, the EU lags behind its competitors in entrepreneurial attitude, indicating a potential for even more job creation. Only 11% of Europeans are entrepreneurs, while around 40% aspire to be their own boss pdf - 10 MB [10 MB] . In the US and China more than half would like to be self-employed.

This relative reluctance to create new businesses has to change if Europe is to return to growth. The Commission is proposing an action plan to encourage this shift, by:

  • improving access to finance, creating a European market for small loans, simplifying tax rules for direct private investments
  • including entrepreneurship education and experience in school curricula – young people should have at least one entrepreneurial experience before leaving secondary school
  • reducing the time it takes to start up a business and obtain the necessary licences and permits
  • creating mentoring, advice and support schemes for women, seniors, immigrants, unemployed people and other potential entrepreneurs
  • providing start-ups with management training and coaching, networking with peers, potential suppliers and clients
  • supporting web-based start-ups by removing barriers to cross-border sales online
  • making it easier to start, sell, hand on, or re-start a business
  • helping start-ups overcome short-term financial difficulties and giving honest entrepreneurs a second chance after bankruptcy – 'second starters' are more successful.

EU countries already work together to reduce red tape on businesses through the Small Business Act The new plan will help make these common rules work even better for small businesses.

Next steps

The Commission will work closely with EU governments, business organisations and others to set out a roadmap for implementing the proposals.

Support for entrepreneurs varies tremendously across the EU. Sharing best practice and coordinating efforts can be more effective than each country working alone.

More on promoting entrepreneurship

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