Education is an essential element of entrepreneurship. Studies show that students who receive entrepreneurship education are not only more likely to be employed, but also more likely to start their own companies. With that in mind, the European Commission has proposed a series of actions that will help expose students to entrepreneurship and, as a result, help create jobs throughout Europe.
Entrepreneurial education is one of the best ways to support growth and generate jobs. New businesses are the single biggest source of new jobs in Europe – and education, to be sure, helps create businesses.
Between 15 % and 20 % of secondary-school students who participate in a mini-company programme – in which students develop or simulate the operations of a real firm – will later start their own companies. This figure is three to six times higher than the general population, highlighting the impact that entrepreneurial education can have on young Europeans.
And even those who don’t start businesses are still better positioned in the job market. According to recent research, 78 % of entrepreneurship education alumni were employed directly after graduating university, compared to just 59 % of a control group of higher education students.
The role of higher education in entrepreneurship goes far beyond classroom teaching and incorporates participation in business ecosystems, partnerships and industrial alliances. With high-tech and high-growth enterprises becoming a focal point of entrepreneurship-related public policies, higher education institutions are an essential component of Member State and EU innovation policies.
However, despite the obvious benefits afforded by this type of specialised education, a recent Eurobarometer Entrepreneurship survey shows that three-quarters of Europeans have never taken part in an entrepreneurship course. Thus, in order to exploit the potential of entrepreneurship education and promote the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the Commission is proposing a number of actions, including those to:
Member States are encouraged to:
Nine projects co-funded by the Commission have already benefitted roughly 6 500 students and young people and 900 teachers. Together, these projects’ indirect effects – which come from dissemination, information activities, production of pedagogical materials, etc. – ensured that they reached at least 100 000 young people.
However, the added value of these European projects lies in their potential for extension, transfer and wider dissemination within the Member States:
Among the project coordinators and partners are some of the most important players in the field, like leading universities in entrepreneurship, NGOs and research institutions.
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