November 2, 2016

The South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL)

Country
Europe
Policy/Program
Description of the core change(s) brought by this policy instrument

The core change that SEECEL brought to the ecosystems in South East Europe and Turkey has been to apply structured regional cooperation modalities and a multilateral structured partnership in the field of human capital development. SEECEL’s work can be classified into three levels:

  1. It supports inclusion of entrepreneurial learning at all levels of education (from primary to higher education) as well as in teacher training (with learning outcomes developed and tested), thereby developed entrepreneurial schools, entrepreneurial teachers and entrepreneurial students;
  2. It supports the upgrading of skills for SMEs through training needs analysis, which brings the evidence based policy making principle closer to the policy makers in developing human capital programs for SMEs, including for women entrepreneurs;
  1. It supports and strengthens regional policy learning, ownership and cooperation for developing entrepreneurial learning and SME skills, especially through peer learning/peer review.
Please list the implementing agencies

The South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) is a regional non-profit institution to support a structured and strategic form of cooperation in the field of human capital development, particularly on lifelong entrepreneurial learning. In this sense, SEECEL is itself the main ‘implementing agency’. However, the following national stakeholders in the eight countries of South East Europe and Turkey are in charge of steering SEECEL’s activity programme and implementing in the field:

  • Ministries: 16 appointed ministry representatives from each SEECEL member state (with one member from each country's ministry of education and one from the ministry of economy) are members of SEECEL’s international steering committee, nominate partners institutions and appoint national policy experts to support the assessment of national policies related to entrepreneurial learning and SME skills (the SBA assessment, led by the OECD).
  • Partner schools/universities/teacher training authorities: A total of 136 educational institutions (schools, faculties and teacher training authorities) participated in piloting entrepreneurial learning.
  • Chambers/Business support organisations: it is crucial for the public and private sectors to work hand in hand. For this reason, at least one business support association per country was involved in the training needs analysis activities (12 business support associations in total), and collected 4892 feedbacks from entrepreneurs.
Please name the policy advisor(s) or leader(s) who have been key in introducing and/or designing this policy instrument

Ms Efka Heder is the Director of the South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) and together with her team, national and international experts, as well as all relevant stakeholders from 8 countries led the thematic discussions and processes using the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) and Evidence Based Policy Making (EBPM) approach. Under Ms Heder’s leadership, SEECEL has become a leading regional institution for human capital development and lifelong entrepreneurial learning, and has received international recognition (being awarded by several awards and through cooperation with leading policymakers and expert institutions) for its work. Ms Heder was nominated in October 2016 as one of the five finalists for the Startup Nations Award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking.

 

Lifecycle of target firms for this policy instrument
Startup firms
Support offered
Non-financial Support
Level of intervention
Ecosystem-level
Barrier(s) addressed with this policy tool
Skills/Talent
Ecosystem Engagement/Coordination
Policy timeline

•   2008: The Croatian Ministry of Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship finances the independent feasibility study for the establishment of a regional facility for entrepreneurial learning for the countries of South East Europe and Turkey.

•   2009: Upon the request of countries of South East Europe and Turkey (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) SEECEL is founded in Zagreb, Croatia by two co-founders;  the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Chamber of Economy, with full representation of relevant ministries for economy/entrepreneurship and education from each SEECEL member state, as well as the representatives of the European Commission (DG NEAR and DG GROW), European Training Foundation (ETF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) composing the SEECEL Steering Committee.

•   2009-2013: First phase of SEECEL activity programme funded by the European Commission (EC) grant (through IPA Multi-beneficiary programme); the modality of financing  85% European Commission and 15% the Republic of Croatia.

•   2011: Second feasibility study carried out on developing regional infrastructure for entrepreneurial learning and developing the technical documentation for constructing the SEECEL Building, which sets the foundation for SEECEL to become a Europe-wide centre for entrepreneurial learning. The construction of the building starts in December 2014, with a total value of the investment worth more than 30 million euro ensured through European Structural Funds, co-financed by the Republic of Croatia.

•   2012: Political commitment to the entrepreneurship agenda has been confirmed through the Charter for Entrepreneurial Learning: the Keystone for Growth and Jobs, jointly signed by ministries from all countries in the region in 2012.

•   2012- 2015: SEECEL expands the area of work on fostering the women entrepreneurship with special focus put on training, promoting good practice examples and developing the policy indicators for women entrepreneurship that were officially embedded in the last SBA Assessment for Western Balkan and Turkey. The value of the project was 1 million euro, 100% grant awarded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

•   2013-2016: Second phase of SEECEL activities funded by two European Commission (EC) grant contracts signed through IPA Multi-beneficiary programme, the same financial modality applied with 85% European Commission and 15% the Republic of Croatia; expressions of interest for official inclusion in SEECEL activities received not only from other European countries, but also from the Middle East and Asia to establish strategic cooperation with SEECEL. 

•   2015: SEECEL becomes one of the four lead partners of the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB).The EE-HUB is a focal point for entrepreneurship education in Europe bringing together organisations and individuals from both the public and private sectors with strong records of accomplishment in entrepreneurship education at regional, national and European level. The network of individual experts are committed to entrepreneurial learning and engaged with organisations or sister networks in the field and/or with national or regional governments. In addition, MEP Ambassadors endorse and promote recommendations of the EE-HUB through their policy work. The project is financed by the European Commission through COSME programme.

•   2015-2016: Presidents of the chambers of commerce/economy of the countries of South East Europe and Turkey sign the memorandum of understanding with SEECEL to cooperate on the SME skills agenda; SEECEL organizes regional ministerial conference for signing a renewed regional Charter for entrepreneurial learning. 

•   2016:  SEECEL becomes the partner in a project entitled « Strengthening the capacities of the chambers and partners to help SMEs to engage in apprenticeship» led by the Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE). The Project aims at strengthening the capacities of all project partners to provide support for SMEs already engaged or planning to engage in apprenticeships. The project is financed by the European Commission through Erasmus+ programme.

 

Stated goal/metrics of the policy instrument

The overall objective is:

- to support inclusion of entrepreneurial learning at all levels of education (from primary to higher education) with active involvement of teacher training authorities;

- to support the upgrading of skills for SMEs through Training Needs Analysis;

- to strengthen regional capacities, ownership and cooperation for developing the entrepreneurial learning and SME skills,  especially through peer learning/peer review.

 

Specific objectives are:

• Develop, strategically pilot and disseminate entrepreneurial learning from primary to higher education (ISCED levels 1,2,3 and 5/6).

•   Develop and strategically pilot in-service teacher training modules at teacher training institutions and promote peer learning between schools.

•   Further develop training needs analysis system through improved Training Needs Analysis (TNA) toolbox/questionnaire and develop set of criteria for quality assurance system for training.

• Establish a peer-learning methodology for SBA assessment, run first regional SBA peer-learning exercise and report on it.

•   Further develop the knowledge sharing platform (Community of Practice) and promote knowledge sharing within the region and with relevant international partners.

•   Foster exchange of good practice examples and peer learning activities to encourage and motivate countries to persevere in the achievement of their entrepreneurship education goals through the dissemination of inspirational good practice, know-how, methodologies and outcome-based research.

Evidence of results

The overall result has been to set the foundations for a genuine entrepreneurial learning ecosystem in South East Europe and Turkey: an entrepreneurial nest.

1. Piloting entrepreneurial learning from primary to higher education:

•   SEECEL developed a unique instrument for teaching entrepreneurship as a key competence from primary education to higher education. 

•   Instrument piloted in 130 educational institutions (from primary to higher education) and the piloting involved 1136 school managers/board members, 3013 teaching staff and 40,021 students.

•   Participating teachers shared 881 lesson plans on entrepreneurial learning in all subjects and developed 245 professional development plans for entrepreneurial learning

•   The SEECEL instrument has had a proven and documented impact on the development of entrepreneurial competences.

2. In-service teacher training modules.

•   Three in-service teacher training modules developed

•   In-service teacher training provided in cooperation with chambers, entrepreneurs, HEIs to over 2400 teachers and school management members participated.

3. Training needs analysis:

•   SEECEL developed a TNA tool to support the up-skilling of entrepreneurs and their employees

•   4,892 SME feedbacks to TNA analysed from 8 countries

•   Based on survey results, a first set of criteria for Quality Assurance with which entrepreneurs can choose their training provider with ease and greater confidence.

4. Peer-learning/knowledge sharing

•   Partner schools took part in over 155 regional peer learning visits to exchange good practices and know-how

•   24 national SBA experts conducted self-assessment on entrepreneurial learning and SME skills policy and took part in 16 regional peer learning visits among the countries participating in the SBA process

•   Over 900 practitioners and experts from the region actively participated in the online CoP platform

•   The ‘Task Box’ tool for pilot institutions saw around 3100 inputs, 1100 enquiries, 700 submitted activity reports, 900 photographs, 41 videos and 64 articles.

Challenges, criticisms and lessons

The biggest challenge was to bring together all the stakeholders and beneficiaries from 8 countries and to ensure the active participation, especially in the strategic piloting as these activities required an extra effort and time. But SEECEL managed to do that in every stage of the project by reaching ever single individual and for the purpose of facilitating the communication and information sharing among all involved parties developed an online platform called Community of Practice (CoP).

Other challenges were the administrative obstacles and managerial skills at the level of pilot institutions and in some cases the communication as in some of the pilot institutions the level of English is rather poor.

In order to mitigate the risks and overcome the challenges, SEECEL staff coordinated the communication between SEECEL’s Steering Committee members and pilot institutions from each country. This communication resulted in overcoming administrative obstacles, language barriers and it overall facilitated project implementation. In turn, the project goals were achieved.

Ensuring financial sustainability of the entire programme is a continuous challenge. SEECEL’s position is that since the initiative both addresses an issue that is in the sphere of the public good (education) and that promotes regional cooperation, public funding is essential for the sustainability of the actions. 

Notes and additional context

The core change that SEECEL brought to the ecosystems in South East Europe and Turkey has been to apply structured regional cooperation modalities and a multilateral structured partnership in the field of human capital development. SEECEL’s work can be classified into three levels:

  1. It supports inclusion of entrepreneurial learning at all levels of education (from primary to higher education) as well as in teacher training (with learning outcomes developed and tested), thereby developed entrepreneurial schools, entrepreneurial teachers and entrepreneurial students;
  2. It supports the upgrading of skills for SMEs through training needs analysis, which brings the evidence based policy making principle closer to the policy makers in developing human capital programs for SMEs, including for women entrepreneurs;
  3. It supports and strengthens regional policy learning, ownership and cooperation for developing entrepreneurial learning and SME skills, especially through peer learning/peer review.

The South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) is a regional non-profit institution to support a structured and strategic form of cooperation in the field of human capital development, particularly on lifelong entrepreneurial learning. In this sense, SEECEL is itself the main ‘implementing agency’. However, the following national stakeholders in the eight countries of South East Europe and Turkey are in charge of steering SEECEL’s activity programme and implementing in the field:

  • Ministries: 16 appointed ministry representatives from each SEECEL member state (with one member from each country's ministry of education and one from the ministry of economy) are members of SEECEL’s international steering committee, nominate partners institutions and appoint national policy experts to support the assessment of national policies related to entrepreneurial learning and SME skills (the SBA assessment, led by the OECD).
  • Partner schools/universities/teacher training authorities: A total of 136 educational institutions (schools, faculties and teacher training authorities) participated in piloting entrepreneurial learning.
  • Chambers/Business support organisations: it is crucial for the public and private sectors to work hand in hand. For this reason, at least one business support association per country was involved in the training needs analysis activities (12 business support associations in total), and collected 4892 feedbacks from entrepreneurs.

Ms Efka Heder is the Director of the South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) and together with her team, national and international experts, as well as all relevant stakeholders from 8 countries led the thematic discussions and processes using the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) and Evidence Based Policy Making (EBPM) approach. Under Ms Heder’s leadership, SEECEL has become a leading regional institution for human capital development and lifelong entrepreneurial learning, and has received international recognition (being awarded by several awards and through cooperation with leading policymakers and expert institutions) for its work. Ms Heder was nominated in October 2016 as one of the five finalists for the Startup Nations Award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking.

Overall, the non-financial support encompasses the application of the open method of coordination and evidence-based policy making in all acvtivites. Firstly, an 'entrepreneurial learning package' was developed regionally, which is the set of learning outcomes, teaching and learning methods and assessment methods for each level of education. Furthermore, teacher training programmes have been developed in order for teachers to be able to embed the entrepreneurial learning package into their classes. School management training framework was developed for managers of educational institutions (including higher education institutions) to understand how to apply and thus develop the entrepreneurial school/faculty. 
Another type of support is the organising and facilitating the development of the training needs analysis questionnaire and coordination of its implementation. Finally, SEECEL facilitated development of policy indicators for the SME Policy Index assessment in the domain of human capital, which made a direct contribution to evidence-based policy making and to applying the open method of coordination. Also, SEECEL organised and facilitated policy learning between different national experts engaged in the SME Policy Assessment for the human capital dimension. 

 

Policy timeline 

•   2008: The Croatian Ministry of Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship finances the independent feasibility study for the establishment of a regional facility for entrepreneurial learning for the countries of South East Europe and Turkey.

•   2009: Upon the request of countries of South East Europe and Turkey (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) SEECEL is founded in Zagreb, Croatia by two co-founders;  the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Chamber of Economy, with full representation of relevant ministries for economy/entrepreneurship and education from each SEECEL member state, as well as the representatives of the European Commission (DG NEAR and DG GROW), European Training Foundation (ETF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) composing the SEECEL Steering Committee.

•   2009-2013: First phase of SEECEL activity programme funded by the European Commission (EC) grant (through IPA Multi-beneficiary programme); the modality of financing  85% European Commission and 15% the Republic of Croatia.

•   2011: Second feasibility study carried out on developing regional infrastructure for entrepreneurial learning and developing the technical documentation for constructing the SEECEL Building, which sets the foundation for SEECEL to become a Europe-wide centre for entrepreneurial learning. The construction of the building starts in December 2014, with a total value of the investment worth more than 30 million euro ensured through European Structural Funds, co-financed by the Republic of Croatia.

•   2012: Political commitment to the entrepreneurship agenda has been confirmed through the Charter for Entrepreneurial Learning: the Keystone for Growth and Jobs, jointly signed by ministries from all countries in the region in 2012.

•   2012- 2015: SEECEL expands the area of work on fostering the women entrepreneurship with special focus put on training, promoting good practice examples and developing the policy indicators for women entrepreneurship that were officially embedded in the last SBA Assessment for Western Balkan and Turkey. The value of the project was 1 million euro, 100% grant awarded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

•   2013-2016: Second phase of SEECEL activities funded by two European Commission (EC) grant contracts signed through IPA Multi-beneficiary programme, the same financial modality applied with 85% European Commission and 15% the Republic of Croatia; expressions of interest for official inclusion in SEECEL activities received not only from other European countries, but also from the Middle East and Asia to establish strategic cooperation with SEECEL. 

•   2015: SEECEL becomes one of the four lead partners of the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB).The EE-HUB is a focal point for entrepreneurship education in Europe bringing together organisations and individuals from both the public and private sectors with strong records of accomplishment in entrepreneurship education at regional, national and European level. The network of individual experts are committed to entrepreneurial learning and engaged with organisations or sister networks in the field and/or with national or regional governments. In addition, MEP Ambassadors endorse and promote recommendations of the EE-HUB through their policy work. The project is financed by the European Commission through COSME programme.

•   2015-2016: Presidents of the chambers of commerce/economy of the countries of South East Europe and Turkey sign the memorandum of understanding with SEECEL to cooperate on the SME skills agenda; SEECEL organizes regional ministerial conference for signing a renewed regional Charter for entrepreneurial learning. 

•   2016:  SEECEL becomes the partner in a project entitled « Strengthening the capacities of the chambers and partners to help SMEs to engage in apprenticeship» led by the Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE). The Project aims at strengthening the capacities of all project partners to provide support for SMEs already engaged or planning to engage in apprenticeships. The project is financed by the European Commission through Erasmus+ programme.

 

According to the SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey (OECD et al., 2012), the region faces significant challenges in supporting SME development and the implementation of reforms and enforcement of laws still remain weak. With regards to developing entrepreneurial learning and SME skills, although some progress has been made, their performance in these areas still needs systematic support. The biggest challenge is translating policy into concrete reforms needed to deliver entrepreneurial learning at the school level. There is also a need to develop more systematic approach to mapping SME training needs and to monitoring effectiveness of SME training.

The South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) arose from the interest of the countries of South East Europe and Turkey to establish a structured and strategic form of cooperation in the field of human capital development, particularly on lifelong entrepreneurial learning. Established as a regional non-profit institution, SEECEL’s mission is to work on the systematic development of lifelong entrepreneurial learning, on entrepreneurship as a key competence, and on the alignment of policies and practices with those of the EU through structured regional cooperation. SEECEL’s vision is to build entrepreneurially literate societies by strengthening entrepreneur-friendly environments and entrepreneurial mind-sets that lead to sustainable economic growth and development.

 

All SEECEL publications (including strategic plan, entrepreneurial learning instruments, reports of SEECEL results, and policy analyses) are publically available here: http://seecel.hr/documents-5053

 

Geographic scope
Supra-national