Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Supporting entrepreneurs and the self-employed

Entrepreneurship and self-employment help:

  • create jobs
  • develop skills
  • give unemployed and vulnerable 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. Moreover, the top priority of the Commission is "to get Europe growing again and to increase the number of jobs without creating new debt".

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

and seeks to:

  • increase knowledge about entrepreneurship and self-employment
  • build capacity in EU countries and regions
  • support entrepreneurship financially.

Increasing knowledge

A large part of this knowledge-building and mutual learning on entrepreneurship is done in co-operation with the OECD. The joint publications include a series 'Missing Entrepreneurs' which focuses on entrepreneurship developments among vulnerable groups (young, women, older, migrants, disabled). Moreover it contains a series of 'Policy Briefs' covering issues such as senior entrepreneurship, youth entrepreneurship, sustaining self-employment and informal entrepreneurship.

Building capacities

The co-operation with the OECD pays increasingly attention to country-specific analysis. With its reports, it aims at helping Member States in improving their support for young entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship out of unemployment.

The European Commission and the OECD have also jointly developed a Better entrepreneurship policy tool, which can act as a catalyst to improve entrepreneurship policies in a city, region or EU country. The tool covers the policies supporting entrepreneurship by people from vulnerable groups, as well as social entrepreneurship.

Supporting entrepreneurship financially

On microfinance, the European Progress Microfinance Facility and the third axis of the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme help stimulate self-employment and the creation of micro-enterprises. Social enterprises can also benefit from financial support from the third axis of EaSI.

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

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