Entrepreneurship Education in the EU: Work in Progress
Mrsic Radas
8 Apr 2016

Entrepreneurship education is identified as a priority in the Europe 2020 Strategy, in the EU’s key strategies in relating to education and training, as well as in their policy framework for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Within the framework of the European Union’s coordinating body for SME policy, the SME Envoy Network, Croatia was designated as the network’s rapporteur on entrepreneurship education and was invited to take stock of current policies and practice in the field. To this end, a survey on entrepreneurship education in the EU was jointly carried out by the South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship of Crafts of the Republic of Croatia. The findings of the analysis (which can be downloaded here) were presented to EU Member States at a meeting of the SME Envoy Network in November 2015 and further discussed in March 2016 and include the following:

  1. PolicyThere is broad policy commitment to the entrepreneurship education agenda in virtually all EU Member States. However, in many Member States entrepreneurship education is not reflected in education strategies and SME Envoys from nine Member States also consider that entrepreneurship education is not a priority of education policy at all.
  2. Curriculum: Integrating entrepreneurship into national curricula as a “key competence” to be developed by students is widespread. But entrepreneurship education content is often incorporated into optional rather than compulsory subjects. Additionally, some SME Envoys have brought into question to what extent the national curriculum is implemented in the classroom, at least with regard to entrepreneurship education.
  3. Entrepreneurship education “eco-system”: Many Member States that do promote entrepreneurship in the curriculum have not complemented such “curricular approaches” with policies to support entrepreneurial schools, teacher training and good practice exchange. It is precisely such support that constitutes a more effective “eco-system” approach to entrepreneurship education.

The main recommendation from the authors of the report is to further strengthen the “key competence approach” to entrepreneurship education in national and school-level curricula in EU Member States. Namely, “a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship” is included as one of the eight key competences that should to be acquired by all school-leavers in the EU and further developed through lifelong learning. This competence is defined as the capability of “turning ideas into action," rather than a having a narrow focus on business development. Discussion on future policy solutions in Europe is under way. SEECEL and Croatian Ministry will lead the way with the view of further strengthening the key competence approach and more policy coordination between all key stakeholders'.

SEECEL, with support from the Croatian Ministry of Entrepreneurship of Crafts, is currently working to achieve this goal by working directly with practitioners in the region of South East Europe and Turkey (with the support of policy makers), and through the Entrepreneurship Education HUB, a network of leading international experts working on advancing entrepreneurship education on the policy agenda at the EU level.

This article was prepared by the South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning and the Croatian Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts

Disclaimer: the Report and the article do not reflect the official opinion of the European Union, nor do they represent the official positions of the European Commission, but solely of the Report’s authors and editors.

Photo credit: Flickr

Antonija Mrsic Radas

Head of Sector for Innovation Policy

Antonija Mrsic has been working in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation since 2005, designing and implementing national and EU/… More