Strong economic growth across the EU is highly dependent on the unions ability to both support new businesses and provide them with opportunities to grow and flourish. Entrepreneurship creates new companies, opens new markets and encourages citizens to develop new skills and grow as individuals. Allowing small and medium sized businesses to thrive is also considered one of the most important ways of tackling unemployment and creating prosperity.
The Commission has measures in place to encourage more entrepreneurship and make it easier to existing businesses to grow. Current statistics show that only 37% of Europeans have an interest in becoming self employed, compared with 51% across the US and China. In light of these figures, it’s clear that more needs to be done to encourage more people from the EU to develop the skills they need to make it easier to start new businesses. These skills include creativity, innovation, risk taking, problem solving and planning.
But what are the current challenges potential entrepreneurs are facing? The Commission believes some of the biggest setbacks include a lack of education and development of the skills required, difficulties accessing finance and lengthy and complex administrative procedures. The Entrepreneurship Action Plan, which was set out in 2013, aims to increase the number of new businesses being created across the EU. Some of the measures include creating more opportunities for women and other groups, making it easier to attract new investors and providing easier regulations and administrative requirements.
The education of young people is also one of the key focuses of the Commissions plan. Both improving the quality of education in general, along with providing lessons that teach the specific skills required for entrepreneurship are thought to increase the numbers of young people starting businesses. Young people who receive entrepreneurship lessons in schools are more likely to set up their own companies later in life. Figures show that 20% of those who took part in programmes whilst at school became self employed, which is almost five times higher than the rest of the population.
The Commission said in a recent statement that it want to place more “emphasis on the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and innovation-oriented mindsets.” Adding that “A specific focus on promoting entrepreneurial education and experiences at all levels of education. The Commission recommends to Member States to provide at least one entrepreneurial experience during compulsory education. It also encourages platforms bringing together schools and businesses, appropriate training to teachers and principals, and the creation of mini companies in schools.”
EU education commissioner Tibor Navracsics warned that Pupils don’t have the right attitudes “to face a volatile job markets and fast changing societies,” and that they should have access to “at least one entrepreneurial experience before they leave compulsory education, in primary or secondary schools.” The commission has called for member states to create more platforms for students to develop these skills by bring schools and businesses together, providing better training for teachers and helping schools to create “mini companies”. The commissioner noted that these skills help to develop attitudes of “creativity, initiative-taking, teamwork, understanding of risk and a sense of responsibility” in young people.
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