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Supporting entrepreneurs and the self-employed

Three young office workers gathered around a computer screen discussing

Entrepreneurship and self-employment help:

  • create jobs
  • develop skills
  • give unemployed and disadvantaged people an opportunity to fully participate in society and the economy.

The Europe 2020 strategy recognises entrepreneurship and self-employment as key for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and several flagship initiatives address them:

EU actors

In its support to entrepreneurship and self-employment, the European Commission focuses its efforts on:

  • business start-ups by unemployed and people from disadvantaged groups
  • sustainability and quality of work of self-employed businesses and micro-entrepreneurs
  • support for social entrepreneurs.

and seeks to:

  • increase knowledge about entrepreneurship and self-employment
  • raise awareness, facilitate mutual learning and build capacity in EU countries and regions
  • promote voluntary standards and protective measures for entrepreneurship and self-employment
  • support entrepreneurship financially.

The European Social Fund (ESF) promotes entrepreneurship through financial and business support services. Targeted support is provided to women entrepreneurs and disadvantaged and disabled people.

Two ESF learning networks are involved:

The European Progress Microfinance Facility helps stimulate self-employment and the creation of micro-enterprises.

The European Regional Development Fund supports entrepreneurship via INTERREG projects including Enspire EU, Senior Enterprise and YES.


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