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Expanding business start-up support for disadvantaged groups can tackle unemployment and social exclusion, report said

 Start-up Team © Stock Rocket / Shutterstock

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Commission have published The Missing Entrepreneurs 2015, which examines the potential of inclusive entrepreneurship policies and programmes in the European Union. Target groups are those who are under-represented and disadvantaged in entrepreneurship and self-employment, including youth, women, seniors, the unemployed, ethnic minorities and immigrants, people with disabilities and other groups.

Main conclusions of the report are:

  • Many youth (45%) would prefer to be self-employed rather than working as an employee. Despite high start-up rates, youth-operated businesses tend to have low survival rates.
  • 2.7% of the unemployed people in the European Union in 2012 successfully entered self-employment in 2013. This represents more than 685 000 people.
  • Other groups facing social exclusion in the European Union are less likely to be self-employed and often operate low quality businesses (e.g. women, seniors, people with disabilities). For example, women were half as likely as men to be new business owners over the 2009-13 period (1.8% vs. 3.5%) and were less likely to have employees in 2013 (24.0% vs. 31.1%)
  • Key barriers are faced by these groups in the areas of accessing finance, acquiring entrepreneurship skills and building entrepreneurial networks.
  • Policy actions to support business creation and self-employment for disadvantaged groups have demonstrated success. Examples include Autonomie et Solidarité in France, which invests in new start-ups by the unemployed and has led to the creation of more than 2 000 jobs in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Another example is EnterAbility in Germany, which provides coaching, mentoring and business consultancy to people with disabilities who are interested in business creation. It has led to 109 new start-ups and created jobs for 21 additional people.
  • Business start-up support accounts for only 1.9% of active labour market policy expenditures across the European Union and should be boosted.