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European Commission Communication: Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan

On the past 9 January, the European Commission (EC) has issued a new communication: Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan: Reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe. The plan aims to support and foster entrepreneurship in Europe as, on the one hand, many Europeans would like to be their own boss and, on the other hand, small and medium enterprises create most new jobs in Europe. Against this backdrop, entrepreneurship is viewed as an essential element to promote growth and higher levels of employment in Europe. Even though currently about 37% of Europeans would like to be self-employed, the economic crisis, the fear of bankruptcy and risk of irregular income have acted as deterrents to the creation of more businesses.

Therefore, the EC Plan wants to change the public perception of entrepreneurs and to help create the conditions, along with the member states, to develop and nurture entrepreneurship among Europeans. The EC Entrepreneurship Plan is based on three pillars: developing entrepreneurial education and training, creating the right business environment, and changing the public perception about entrepreneurs and incentivize specific segments of the population to become entrepreneurs.

Regarding the first pillar, entrepreneurship education is viewed as a high return investment, as surveys suggest that students who participate in a mini-company programme in secondary school are three times more likely to start their own company than the general population. In this regard, the EC will develop a pan-European entrepreneurial learning initiative, will assess the introduction of entrepreneurship education in each member state, will establish a guidance framework to encourage the development of entrepreneurial schools and VET institutions, and will endorse successful mechanisms of university-driven business creation. The member states, on the other hand, are invited to ensure that the competence ‘entrepreneurship’ is embedded in the curricula across all education levels, including higher education, before the end of 2015; to offer the possibility to young people to have at least one practical entrepreneurship experience before the end of compulsory education; and to support entrepreneurial training and learning modules for young people.

For the second pillar, creating an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow, the plan outlines six areas where the EC and the member states should focus their actions: access to finance, support during the crucial phases of the business lifecycle, unleashing new business opportunities of the digital age, ease the transfer of business ownership, provide second chances for honest entrepreneurs after bankruptcy and promote administrative simplification.

The EC Plan also intends to promote entrepreneurship for specific segments of the population, i.e., the third pillar. The targeted groups are women, senior citizens, migrants and the unemployed.

In a nutshell, the EC Entrepreneurship Plan reflects the vision that “a radical change of the European culture towards new notions about entrepreneurship is needed, one that publicly celebrates success, brings the contributions of entrepreneurs to European prosperity to the fore and showcases the rewards of an entrepreneurial career.”

European Commission – Press Release European Commission – Communication