EU Science Hub

Entrepreneurship Competence

The development of the entrepreneurial capacity of European citizens and organisations has been one of the key policy objectives for the EU and Member States for many years. There is a growing awareness that entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitudes can be learned and in turn lead to the widespread development of entrepreneurial mind-sets and culture, which benefit individuals and society as a whole.

The European Commission first referred to the importance of entrepreneurship education in 2003, in the European Green Paper on Entrepreneurship in Europe. By 2006, the European Commission had identified a ‘sense of initiative and entrepreneurship’ as one of the eight key competences necessary for all members of a knowledge-based society. The 2008 Small Business Act for Europe, the 2012 Communication on Rethinking Education, the 2013 Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2020 and the 2016 New Skills Agenda for Europe have kept the need to promote entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial learning under the spotlight. This has led to a wealth of initiatives across Europe.

Despite the vibrant interest in entrepreneurial capacity building, however, a decade after the 2006 Recommendation on ‘Key competences for lifelong learning’, there is still no consensus on what the distinctive elements of entrepreneurship as a competence are.

The JRC, on behalf of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, has developed a definition of entrepreneurship as a competence and a reference framework describing it, the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp).

By producing a common definition of what entrepreneurship as a competence is, the EntreComp aims to establish a bridge between the worlds of education and work and to be taken as a reference de facto by any initiative which aims to foster entrepreneurial learning.

The EntreComp study builds on previous work carried out by the JRC to define another key competence for lifelong learning: Digital Competence, and aims to comply with the Commission's top priority on "Jobs, Growth and Investment" and to the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Agenda for New Skills for New Jobs.

Main Research Questions

  • What are the elements define entrepreneurship as a transversal competence?
  • How can entrepreneurship be described in terms of learning outcomes in a life-long learning perspective?
  • How can entrepreneurial learning outcomes be grouped into proficiency levels?


The EntreComp framework has been developed through a mixed-methods approach, made up of a comprehensive review of academic and grey literature, an in-depth analysis of case studies, and a set of iterative multi-stakeholder consultations.

The image below summarises the steps that have led to the definition of the EntreComp conceptual framework.

EntreComp conceptual framework


The EntreComp framework is made up of three main areas: "ideas and opportunities", "resources" and "into action". Each of these is in turn made up by a number of competences that, together, are the building blocks of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship as a competence.

Entrepreneurship as a competence develops according to a logic of progression, which is described in the EntreComp Progression Model.

Per each of the levels of the progression model, learning outcomes have been developed and are available in the EntreComp: the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework.