REPORT on promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training
22.7.2015 - (2015/2006(INI))
Committee on Culture and Education
Rapporteur: Michaela Šojdrová
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
on promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),
– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Article 14 thereof,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 December 2014 on entrepreneurship in education and training,
– having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on promoting youth entrepreneurship to foster social inclusion of young people,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’),
– having regard to the Council recommendation of 22 April 2013 on establishing a Youth Guarantee (2013/C 120/01),
– having regard to the Council recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01),
– having regard to the Council recommendation of 28 June 2011 entitled ‘Youth on the Move – promoting the learning mobility of young people’,
– having regard to the Council resolution of 27 November 2009 on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018),
– having regard to Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 19 June 2013 entitled ‘Working together for Europe’s young people: A call to action on youth unemployment’ (COM(2013)0447),
– having regard to the Commission communication of 9 January 2013 entitled ‘Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan: Reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe’ (COM(2012)0795),
– having regard to the Commission communication of 20 November 2012 entitled ‘Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes’ (COM(2012)0669),
– having regard to the Commission communication of 20 December 2011 entitled ‘Education and Training in a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe’ (COM(2011)0902),
– having regard to the Commission report of 28 January 2015 entitled ‘Entrepreneurship Education: A road to success’,
– having regard to the Commission Social Europe guide of March 2013 on ‘Social Economy and Social Enterprises’ (ISBN: 978-92-79-26866-3),
– having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2015 on follow-up on the implementation of the Bologna Process,
– having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2012 on Education, Training and Europe 2020,
– having regard to its resolution of 1 December 2011 on tackling early school leaving,
– having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on early years learning in the European Union,
– having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2010 on key competences for a changing world: implementation of the Education and Training 2010 work programme,
– having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2008 on delivering lifelong learning for knowledge, creativity and innovation – implementation of the ‘Education & Training 2010 work programme’,
– having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A8-0239/2015),
A. whereas youth entrepreneurship needs to be an important integral part of the political strategy to support today’s generation of youth in terms of EU goals for growth, employment, education and social inclusion and to reduce youth unemployment in the EU;
B. whereas entrepreneurship should be understood in its broader sense as the ability to turn ideas into actions;
C. whereas in February 2015, 4.85 million young people were unemployed in the EU-28, which is unacceptably high, and although youth unemployment is diminishing – it has decreased by 494 000 compared with February 2014 – this is taking place at too slow a pace;
E. having regard to the high rates of youth unemployment and to the fact that the fiscal consolidation of the Member States mainly affected by the crisis should not be carried out at the expense of jobs occupied by young people; whereas, as a result of such high youth unemployment, young people are experiencing increased levels of poverty and social exclusion, especially in the case of those from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups; recognises and welcomes, however, the fact that commitments have been made to speed up the delivery of Youth Employment Initiative funds to Member States, but calls for even stronger commitments from the Commission to tackle this serious problem;
D. whereas the gap between education and training and the job market is one of the causes of youth unemployment and of the large number of unfilled vacancies in the EU. and should be addressed also by empowering young people with the key competences, including a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, that are needed if they are to participate confidently in today’s knowledge-based economy and society;
F. whereas the European Union, via the Europe 2020 strategy and its flagship initiatives on ‘New skills and jobs’, ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’, ‘Innovation Union’ and ‘Youth on the move’, as well as its targeted support for women entrepreneurs and disadvantaged and disabled people, promotes the sense of initiative and entrepreneurship by fostering entrepreneurial mindsets and related knowledge, skills and competences that can boost competitiveness and growth which will be smart, sustainable and inclusive;
G. whereas entrepreneurship is an important driver of economic growth and job creation as it creates new companies and jobs, opens up new markets, strengthens competitiveness, improves productivity and innovation, strengthens European competitiveness and creates wealth, and should therefore be equally accessible for all;
H. whereas entrepreneurship, and in particular social entrepreneurship, are important drivers of social cohesion and sustainability that can boost the economy whilst simultaneously alleviating deprivation, social exclusion and other societal problems;
I. whereas entrepreneurship and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU economy and represent the most important and primary source of new employment; whereas women’s entrepreneurial potential is an underexploited source of economic growth and jobs;
J. whereas cultures that value and reward entrepreneurship competences and entrepreneurial behaviours such as creativity, innovation, initiative, calculated risk-taking, independent thinking and the identification of opportunities, as well as leadership qualities, promote a propensity to develop new solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges by integrating knowledge components within education that bring together theory and practice, thus diminishing barriers between the business experience and education; whereas it is therefore of paramount importance that these personal competencies are embedded in the educational system and are part of daily life at all levels;
K. whereas in certain Member States business start-ups (of all types, including social entrepreneurship or business for personal profit) are not sufficiently recognised or included as a career path, and there is little support for aspiring entrepreneurs within the educational system;
L. whereas young entrepreneurs face numerous challenges and difficulties, including a lack of experience, of the right skills and of access to finance and infrastructure;
M. whereas recent studies suggest that entrepreneurship competences can be learned and that entrepreneurship education, if correctly designed, implemented and accessible for all, can have a very positive impact on people’s lives and employability, as well as on start-up rates and survival rates of enterprises;
N. whereas in order to lead to robust conclusions, the measurement of the impact of entrepreneurship education must be carried out with a critical approach, as well as being based on sound evidence and relying on established statistical tools and techniques;
O. whereas entrepreneurship education should incorporate a social dimension including teaching about fair trade, social enterprises and alternative business models such as cooperatives, with a view to achieving a social, inclusive and sustainable economy;
P. whereas an entrepreneurial mindset enhances a young person’s employability, engenders in that person qualities that are essential for overcoming challenges in both professional and private life, and helps prevent an increase in poverty and social exclusion; whereas easier access to microfinance mechanisms can help achieve these goals;
Q. whereas education and vocational training as a whole are of primordial importance with regard to each individual’s personal development, and therefore have to be both sufficiently broad in order to lay foundations for lifelong development and deepening of knowledge and for the acquisition of transversal skills, and sufficiently practical, thus allowing individuals to have real careers and a valuable professional and private life; whereas there is a direct correlation between the successful combination of these two aspects of education and a reduction in the risk of youth unemployment;
R. whereas the spirit and skills of entrepreneurship can be acquired, learned and developed by every individual; whereas each type and level of education corresponds to a specific window of opportunity for building certain skills and capacities for entrepreneurship as part of the general acquirement of key competences;
S. whereas entrepreneurship skills are linked to other sets of skills such as ICT skills, problem-solving skills and financial literacy, which should be promoted;
T. whereas education and training are of paramount importance in terms of motivation and possibilities for young people to start their own entrepreneurial projects;
U. whereas education, as a public good, has to be fully inclusive and integrated, placing special emphasis on providing equal access to students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds;
V. whereas young people will be better qualified to engage in business on a transnational scale if they are proficient in foreign languages;
W. whereas under-represented and disadvantaged groups need special attention and support throughout their education, also by engaging parents and communities in the educational process, as well as requiring help in order to start, run or grow a business or enterprise;
X. whereas young people benefit from entrepreneurial training and education as well as from practical entrepreneurial experience, which help develop their skills and talent, enabling them to develop confidence, and contribute to the creation of new businesses, employability and innovation; whereas entrepreneurship is a hugely underutilised option for many young people with disabilities;
Y. whereas social and inclusive businesses participate actively in innovative sustainable growth, promote greater cohesion within society and local communities, and can create employment opportunities for young people, including those who are socially vulnerable and those furthest from the labour market;
Z. whereas not enough people follow through on their ideas to set up a business, and there are, disproportionately, even fewer female than male entrepreneurs (even more so in case of women coming from vulnerable social groups and facing double discrimination), and, whilst women entrepreneurs are on average higher educated than male entrepreneurs, they are also more often active in less innovative, less fast-growing sectors, with smaller companies than those of male entrepreneurs; whereas ways to overcome the factors which particularly discourage women from taking up, or benefiting more from, the option of entrepreneurship must be actively promoted;
AA. whereas chambers of handicrafts, industry and commerce offer targeted programmes in some Member States to support business start-ups;
AB. whereas education and training are mainly national competencies and some Member States have yet to develop a cross-cutting policy or a strategic approach to entrepreneurship education or entrepreneurial curricula and teaching methods; whereas not all teachers and education leaders in Europe are sufficiently trained in entrepreneurship education, either through continuous professional development or through their initial training, which might have an impact on the potential for entrepreneurship becoming sufficiently embedded in education systems;
AC. whereas teachers should be able to liaise with entrepreneurs and define learning objectives in partnership with them, and be provided with the right support and resources, in order to implement learner-centred strategies and adapt their teaching methods to the needs of their vulnerable students;
AD. whereas non-formal and informal learning activities complement and enrich formal learning by offering various kinds of empowering learning experience, and should therefore be recognised as privileged sources for acquiring and developing entrepreneurship competences;
AE. whereas formal and informal learning can play a key role in developing and sustaining entrepreneurial skills, especially amongst marginalised groups;
AF. whereas non-formal and informal learning activities are particularly relevant to young people with fewer opportunities, providing them with an additional source of learning and a possible route into formal education and training;
AG. whereas teaching by experienced entrepreneurs creates a positive image of entrepreneurship and facilitates the step towards entrepreneurship;
AH. whereas entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship, should be integrated in the training of teachers and career advisers;
AI. whereas national education systems have been evolving at different paces in reaction to changes on the labour market;
AJ. whereas the Erasmus+ programme, which runs from 2014 to 2020, aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe and is open to education, training, youth and sports organisations across all sectors of lifelong learning; whereas it will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad;
AK. whereas entrepreneurship already plays a role in the Erasmus+ programme, being one of the expected results of mobility actions;
AL. whereas it is important to promote and encourage mobility of young entrepreneurs, through programmes , such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (2009-2015), that enable young entrepreneurs to take part in cross-border exchanges and to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses, as well as creating opportunities to address gender inequalities in entrepreneurship; whereas more funds need to be allocated to such programmes in order to increase young people's participation;
AM. whereas younger people are inclined to express a preference for self-employment, and as many as 45 % of young people aged between 15 and 24 say they would prefer to be self-employed;
AN. whereas the business community at local, national and European level could make more considerable contributions in the form of skills-based volunteering, partnerships with educational institutions, and collaboration with policymakers;
AO. whereas considerable contributions are made by civil society organisations (non-governmental groups such as trade unions, employers’ associations and other social groups), among them the Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise Europe initiative, which provides informal and lifelong entrepreneurship education and training; whereas these contributions stand in need of further recognition, although they may not lead to a certified formal diploma; whereas such contributions are also made by enterprises providing training for themselves;
Emphasis on entrepreneurial skills and competences
1. Acknowledges the role of lifelong learning and international mobility as constituting a key measure in Europe’s response to globalisation and the shift to knowledge-based economies; notes, specifically, the importance of the ‘sense of initiative and entrepreneurship’, as included among the eight ‘Key Competences for Lifelong Learning ‒ A European Reference Framework’, considered to be needed by all individuals for personal fulfilment and development, active European citizenship and participation, social inclusion and employment;
2. Calls on the Member States to promote entrepreneurial skills for young people through legislative action aimed at ensuring quality traineeships focusing on quality learning and adequate working conditions as tools to foster employability, as put forward by the Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships;
3. Emphasises the need for a broad and clear definition of the key competence ‘a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship’, which involves fostering an entrepreneurial mindset characterised by proactiveness, creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives, and even the idea that the individual is aware of the context of his or her work and is able to seize opportunities that arise, with regard to both entrepreneurship and employment activity (in the latter case referred as ′intrapreneurship′); has faith in the creative industry sectors and enterprises relating to culture, which can highlight business opportunities, especially for young people;
4. Recalls that the creative industries are amongst the most entrepreneurial sectors, developing transferable skills such as creative thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and resourcefulness;
5. Stresses the need for a broad approach to entrepreneurship as a set of transversal key competences for personal and professional purposes;
6. Stresses the importance of organisational monitoring and auditing skills; encourages in particular the development of social and environmental audit, as an innovative monitoring tool;
7. Is convinced that entrepreneurial skills and competences as well as transversal, cross-sector, occupation-specific and job-specific skills and competences should be promoted in order to increase the rates of youth self-employment and to provide the young generation with a real opportunity to start their own businesses and to help both themselves and society in general;
8. Is convinced that the next step needed is to specify in detail how the key competences framework can be further implemented appropriately at each level of education for entrepreneurship competence, by including entrepreneurship knowledge, skills and attitudes as a learning outcome of each specific educational and apprenticeship programme;
9. Stresses that at all levels and types of education the teaching of practical entrepreneurship skills and the fostering of motivation, sense of initiative and readiness should be provided, along with a sense of social responsibility; believes that modules in basic finance, economics and business environment should be integrated into school curricula, and should be accompanied by mentoring, tutoring and career guidance for students, including disadvantaged learners, in order to underpin and facilitate their understanding of the entrepreneurial process and develop an entrepreneurial mindset; highlights the role of informal and independent learning, including volunteering, in endowing young people with entrepreneurial spirit and skills;
10. Calls on the Commission to emphasise the importance and role of different forms of social entrepreneurship, which are often a good way for young Europeans to gain initial experience in business;
11. Emphasises the need to develop innovative pedagogies that are more participative and learner-centred, in order to encourage the acquisition of a set of transversal competences needed for the development of entrepreneurial mindsets;
12. Recommends encouraging entrepreneurship as part of higher education and in alumni projects, also including social entrepreneurship models;
13. Points out that promoting entrepreneurship through education can only succeed in a meaningful way if economic and social aspects appear in a balanced way in educational strategies;
14. Emphasises that social inclusion and the fight against poverty can succeed notably via social entrepreneurship, which can boost employment, and by setting an entrepreneurial mindset which will be substantially beneficial for disadvantaged people;
15. Stresses that dual training and company-sponsored study programmes have proved to be key in imparting the core competences of companies in those Member States where such programmes operate;
16. Encourages full engagement and partnership among all stakeholders, and in particular local entrepreneurial organisations, businesses and educational institutions, in order to share best practices and experiences and improve young people’s entrepreneurial skills and education across the Member States;
17. Stresses that a close link between company training and mainstream education is a successful model which should be strengthened and promoted, throughout Europe and beyond;
18. Calls for closer collaboration with the private sector and the social partners with a view to encouraging a risk-taking, entrepreneurial and innovative culture (e.g. through structural commitments such as facilities for innovation and the exchange of ideas);
19. Is convinced that the successful deployment of entrepreneurship competence is more and more dependent on accompanying media and digital competence, and that this interrelationship should receive a greater focus in education and training; emphasises the importance of equipping all young people with ICT competences and with transversal and entrepreneurial skills enabling them to fully exploit the potential of the digital world in order to help them create new forms of developing, imparting and promoting entrepreneurship, thus becoming more able to compete for jobs, become self-employed, learn to better understand their prospective employers’ behaviour and needs, and contribute to the innovative and competitive capability of employer organisation;
20. Stresses that entrepreneurship competence should be developed and improved by a lifetime approach, including via work experience and non-formal and informal learning, and that its validation should be enhanced and supported since it contributes to career development;
21. Recognises that a key element in the teaching of entrepreneurship is the proper preparation of teachers, and in particular the urgent need for high-quality training in order to ensure the authenticity of the educational process;
22. Calls on the Member States to combat barriers to young entrepreneurs with disabilities, through the provision of training for service providers whose responsibilities include supporting people with disabilities, and through the adaptation of the premises on which support is provided in order to make them accessible to those with mobility challenges;
23. Notes that promoting cooperation between secondary and tertiary education would allow increased dialogue among young people and encourage innovation;
24. Stresses the need to improve the entrepreneurial culture within tertiary education by supporting and facilitating the creation of new companies by young people on the basis of academic research (spin-offs), reducing the bureaucratic burden involved in establishing such companies, and creating a clear and supportive regulatory framework for student entrepreneurs; considers that, in this context, schools and universities should allow time and space for, and grant recognition of, initiatives by young people so as to give them the necessary confidence to undertake new projects that may prove useful in setting up independent businesses; welcomes initiatives which reward young people for successful business ventures (e.g. an award for the best student company of the year); further emphasises the importance of companies giving young people the chance to obtain their first direct in-house work experience; reiterates the need to promote company visits and traineeship schemes with such objectives, so as to give young people an overview of the business world;
25. Highlights that the business community has a key role to play in entrepreneurship education and training, providing an experienced-based learning that complement youth´s theoretical education;
26. Stresses the crucial role played by various associations of young businesspeople in fostering entrepreneurship among young people, providing them with the opportunity to develop innovative projects and obtain business experience, and giving them the tools and the necessary confidence to set out as entrepreneurs;
Role of the EU institutions – coordination, methodology and financial tools
27. Calls on the Council and the Commission, within their respective competences and in full compliance with the principle of subsidiarity, to develop methodological support and tools to made be available to national education systems in the area of entrepreneurship education and training, including social entrepreneurship, and to follow a coordinated approach calling on the Member States’ public administrations to cooperate more closely with companies in order to disseminate the key factors needed to improve entrepreneurship; calls on the Commission to increase the amount of support for young entrepreneurs under the European Structural and Investment Funds;
28. Calls on the Council and Commission to apply a gender perspective in respect of methodology, communication and financial tools, in order to encourage greater engagement in entrepreneurship by girls and young women;
29. Calls on the Commission to establish and boost entrepreneurial traineeships and exchange programmes, in order to give young people opportunities to gain hands-on experience and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience;
30. Calls on the Commission to elaborate a comprehensive strategy for developing transversal skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, initiative, collaboration, cooperation, self-direction, planning, leadership and team-building, at all levels and in all types of education and training, taking into account that they are beneficial for a broad range of occupations and sectors;
31. Calls on the Commission to increase the focus on improving the development and assessment of transversal skills, including entrepreneurship and digital competence, within the Erasmus+ programme, while underlining that this programme should not be unilaterally oriented towards considerations of employability and that the low-threshold access to entrepreneurial activities should be maintained, particularly in the area of non-formal and informal education; also calls on the Commission to promote education policy reforms in Member States creating a coherent policy framework for Member States and the EU in this regard;
32. Calls on the Commission to support the monitoring of ICT skills, problem-solving skills and financial literacy; calls on the Commission to carry out longitudinal research in this area;
33. Calls on the Commission to support partnerships between educational institutions and companies via the use of the European Fund for Strategic Investment and, in particular, the European Social Fund, in order to encourage work-based learning in companies and foster entrepreneurship competences at national and local level;
34. Calls on the Commission to support a European Entrepreneurship Education Network, on lines such as those of the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB), established in May 2015 and supported by European organizations and other stakeholders at European, national and local levels, as well as by national education authorities, which will gather and exchange best practices to be shared by educational institutions, educational organisations, vocational training institutions, businesses, authorities and social partners;
35. Calls on the Commission to ensure coherent and effective coordination in the area of entrepreneurship education in the context of its broader EU lifelong learning strategy, the EU’s global strategies and the Juncker Commission’s plan;
36. Proposes that the Commission maintain entrepreneurship education and training as one of the objectives of a future Erasmus+ programme in the next financial period (post-2020) in all its actions, including mobility, to contain the following elements:
(i) careful assessment of the impact of existing measures promoting entrepreneurship through education and training and potentially adapt them, while paying special attention to the impact on under-represented and disadvantaged groups,
(ii) promotion of better-defined learning contents and tools for formal and non-formal education targeting all students – both theoretical modules and practical modules, such as student entrepreneurial projects,
(iii support for the initial qualifications of teachers, educators, youth workers, coaches and education leaders, and their continuing professional development and empowerment in the entrepreneurship education area,
(iv) promotion of partnerships between educational institutions, enterprises, non-profit organisations, regional and local authorities and non-formal education providers, in order to devise suitable courses and provide students with the requisite practical experience and models,
(v) development of skills in the areas of entrepreneurial processes, financial literacy, ICT literacy and skills, creative thinking, creativity, creative utility, problem- solving and an innovative mindset, self-confidence, confidence in one’s ideas, adaptability, team-building, project management, risk assessment and risk-taking, as well as specific business skills and knowledge;
(vi) removal of all the physical and digital obstacles which people with a disability still have to contend with, since their full integration into the job market could be of key importance to the promotion of a sustainable and cohesive business culture;
(vii) highlighting of non-formal and informal learning as a privileged environment to acquire entrepreneurship competences;
37. Calls on the Commission to investigate and address the factors that discourage women from taking up the option of entrepreneurship, whilst specifically promoting access to funding and support services for young female entrepreneurs;
38. Calls on the Commission to coordinate and promote the exchange of best practices between Member States;
39. Calls on the Commission to encourage better cooperation and exchange of good practices between Member States that have already integrated entrepreneurship education into their curricula and have achieved better progress in promoting youth entrepreneurship and those Member States that are still at the beginning of this process;
40. Calls on the Commission to compile, by the end of 2017, a ‘best practice’ for disseminating entrepreneurial ability and promoting youth entrepreneurship in the Member States, submit a report on this to Parliament, and take the results of this work into account when evaluating its own funding procedures;
41. Calls on the Member States to promote entrepreneurship education as a way to foster transversal competences for a better management of learners’ personal and professional lives;
42. Calls on the Commission to monitor closely the concrete measures implemented by Member States to support entrepreneurship among young people, to devote special attention to the promotion and publication of information on results, and to encourage and support institutions and organisations in exchanging good practices, sharing ideas, knowledge and experience and forming cross-sectoral strategic partnerships; encourages the Commission and the Member States to develop benchmarks, models and common instruments and projects in order to promote youth entrepreneurship;
43. Urges the Commission to ensure that no measures taken by the Member States impede the free movement of workers, so that young people who have chosen business careers are able to conduct their activities wherever they wish to in the European Union;
Role of the Member States
44. Calls on the Member States, as well as regional and local authorities, to endeavour to promote the development of training for launching and managing start-ups, including expert mentorship, incubators and accelerators, social enterprise projects working with local communities, and all entrepreneurship-friendly environments which will facilitate young people’s start-ups and enable quick recovery in the event of dropping out of school or from initial failures, thereby helping to create a positive business culture, prevent negative perception of business failure and encourage reattempt, with, additionally, special attention being paid to reaching out to disadvantaged young people;
45. Urges the Member States to ensure that our young entrepreneurs have the access to finance that they require and that they are supported at every stage;
46. Calls on the Member States, as well as regional and local authorities, to make use of the resources of the EU Structural Funds, in particular the European Social Fund, to the full in order to promote entrepreneurship education and training and the development of digital skills at national, regional and local level;
47. Calls on the Member States, together with regional and local authorities, to use all existing EU-level funding resources, such as the European Social Fund, the European Youth Employment Initiative, the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme and the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (COSME), to encourage and support initiatives which pursue more effective and better-targeted links between businesses and the education sector;
48. Calls on the Member States to foster sharing of best practice, encourage both domestic and cross-border partnerships, and support fledgling enterprises and the work of relevant small and medium enterprises networks and development agencies;
49. Encourages the Member States to provide specific innovative methods to train teachers and mentors in entrepreneurship so as to enable them to foster and encourage entrepreneurial skills, and to consider including entrepreneurship as part of the educational curriculum;
50. Calls on the Member States to further develop their systems for the recognition and validation of competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning so that their commitment for 2018 is respected, in order to give individuals reorientation and second chance opportunities, as well as boosting self-recognition and further learning;
51. Calls on the Member States to encourage the involvement of private partners in entrepreneurship education, through funding or providing training, as an aspect of their corporate social responsibility;
52. Calls on the Member States to eliminate bureaucracy regarding the implementation of business plans by young people, and to consider tax relief measures and measures to encourage them to create their own business ideas; stresses the need for safety valves for start-ups that fail;
53. Stresses the need to address the financial difficulties affecting young entrepreneurs, to facilitate their access to credit and special grants, to reduce existing administrative burdens, and to put in place a regulatory environment and fiscal incentives that encourage the development of youth entrepreneurial initiatives and boost job creation, in order to facilitate the start-up and stabilisation of young entrepreneurs’ business projects;
54. Calls on the Member States to be proactive in improving regulatory frameworks and streamlining administrative procedures for businesses, in particular SMEs and social enterprises, and to promote and monitor the quality of the employment practices of such businesses; points out that social and inclusive businesses create sustainable jobs, contribute to community development, and help promote a sustainable environment and ensure social resilience in times of crisis;
55. Calls for public employment services to be more proactive in providing assistance and advice to businesses, and to young entrepreneurs in particular;
56. Calls on the Member States, and regional and local authorities, to offer innovative students increased access to scholarships and micro-loan schemes, together with support, information, mentoring, multidisciplinary assistance and peer‑to‑peer evaluation platforms, in order to enable them to start their own ventures or projects, such as those supported under the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis of EaSI; calls on the Member States to facilitate access to and return of loans, to promote the use of crowdfunding, to develop partnerships between the local economy, businesses and universities, to enhance the role of businesses in integrating young people into the labour market, and to consolidate the entrepreneurial skills pass (ENP) at various levels of school and university education, especially in partnership with SMEs; urges the Member States to encourage the establishment within universities of business incubators dedicated to sustainable development and future-oriented branches of study;
57. Calls on the Member States to simplify procedures for non-fraudulent exits and to create a supportive exit environment, so as to send young people a clear message that a failure will not result in a setback with lifelong consequences;
58. Calls on the Member States to encourage young people into entrepreneurship by facilitating project-based studies within the education system which cut across disciplines and are delivered in cooperation with companies;
59. Calls on the Member States to promote entrepreneurship as a positive career option in the career advice provided within secondary and tertiary education, and to tackle the negative stigma surrounding entrepreneurship as a career option which is prevalent in some Member States;
60. Calls on the Member States to increase awareness of self-employment and business creation for young people with disabilities, through actions such as promoting the career paths of people with disabilities who have already been integrated into the labour market and giving public recognition to entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Subsequent follow-up steps
61. Urges the Commission to follow up and further develop its work on Entrepreneurship360 (Schools and VET) and on HEInnovate (higher education);
62. Calls on the Commission to include measures related to entrepreneurship education into the European Semester evaluation indicators, starting in 2016;
63. Calls on the Commission to submit an evaluation report to Parliament by the end of its term on the progress achieved in promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training and how much it managed to reach out to members of vulnerable social groups;
64. Calls on the Commission to ensure coordination and cooperation at European level in the systematic evaluation of the entrepreneurship programmes and activities in order to allow the comparability of results - for instance. to compare the different patterns of youth entrepreneurship across Member States and the characteristics of youth entrepreneurs in terms of socio-demographic variables such as age, gender and education;
65. Calls on the Commission to promote cooperation on policies across the EU and invite Member States to engage in exchanges of good practices;
66. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and the EEA countries, and the Council of Europe.
-  OJ C 17, 20.1.2015, p. 2.
-  OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, p. 18.
-  OJ C 119, 28.5.2009, p. 2.
-  OJ C 199, 7.7.2011, p. 1.
-  OJ C 311, 19.12.2009, p. 1.
-  OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 10.
-  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0107.
-  OJ C 353 E, 3.12.2013, p. 56.
-  OJ C 165 E, 11.6.2013, p. 7.
-  OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 89.
-  OJ C 161 E, 31.5.2011, p. 8.
-  OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 33.
-  Commission Report on Progress on equality between women and men in 2013 (SWD(2014)0142), Commission Publication on Statistical Data on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe, September 2014.
-  Budapest and Istanbul, European Training Foundation symposium - conclusions.
-  Commission: Eurobarometer FL354, ‘Entrepreneurship in the EU and beyond’, 9 January 2013.
Support for youth entrepreneurship through education and training
Youth entrepreneurship and the related "entrepreneurship education" is one of the themes that the European Parliament has selected in order that they may be more in the spotlight because of their relevance and lack of appreciation, and has proposed the next steps going forward. With this report, the European Parliament wants to contribute to the achievement of common European objectives in this field by monitoring the quality of education through quality monitoring, a call to accelerate the rapid diffusion of innovations focused on entrepreneurial skills and by emphasising the need for methodological and financial support at an EU programme level.
Entrepreneurship education - a means to promote employment
In this report the European Parliament summarises the current activities in the field of ‘entrepreneurship education’, and points out the aims of education and the need for its focus on practical application and youth employment. The report focuses on proposals/recommendations for the further development of entrepreneurship education and its support from the European Commission, the Council and the Member States. The European Parliament is aware of the limitations of its competence in the field of educational policy, which is in the exclusive competence of the Member States, and the role of the EU is purely co-ordinatory.
The report is based on current socio-economic data, which shows that the social and economic situation of EU citizens has not significantly improved. The main problem in this regard remains the high rate of youth unemployment, which in the EU is on average 22%, and in some countries and regions this figure exceeds 50%. Employment and growth is a key priority of European policy and an objective for the Member States. In general, education is considered to be a key instrument for meeting the individual needs of citizens and a way to improve their life situation.
These documents set out the main principles for the support of entrepreneurship education
The report allows for the fulfilment of the official documents of the Council, Commission and Parliament that create a strategic, legislative and financial framework for the coordination and implementation of educational activities in the EU. I consider it necessary to note how education in general, and entrepreneurship education in particular, is understood in the current documents and what role it plays. The strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020) considers the strengthening knowledge and innovation to be a stimulus for future growth and requires the improvement of the quality of education. A more detailed outline of the supported targets is provided by Council Conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European co-operation in education and training (‘ET 2020’). The basic principle of this framework is lifelong learning, which occurs in all environments, whether it be formal, non-formal and informal learning, and at all levels: from early childhood education to higher education, vocational education and training and adult education. The strategic objectives are 1) the implementation of lifelong learning and mobility; 2) improving the quality and efficiency of education and training; 3) Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship; 4) enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training. The latest document, which was adopted by the Council in December 2014, is Council conclusions on entrepreneurship in education and training (2015/C 17/02). This comprehensive document builds on previous work to a maximum extent and transforms it into specific recommendations for the Commission and the Member States. The Council draws on the definition of entrepreneurship used in the Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning of 2006. This emphasises the need for training in the entrepreneurship skills of pupils, students and apprentices in order to equip them with the necessary entrepreneurial thinking and skills. The Council also calls on Member States to promote the inclusion of entrepreneurial skills in educational programmes, the use of former graduates - entrepreneurs in order to share their experience with students and teachers, to evaluate the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education, to support start-ups and business incubators, and many other activities. The European Parliament report also draws on the findings of a recent European Commission study Entrepreneurship Education: A Road to Success . The study presents data from a comparison of 91 examples of entrepreneurship education in 23 countries. The prevailing impression is that entrepreneurship education works. One is not born an entrepreneur, although entrepreneurship is a talent. Research shows that entrepreneurial skills can also be taught during the educational process. Entrepreneurship education has a proven positive impact on individuals: it helps them to increase their career ambitions, it leads to higher employment, improving entrepreneurial skills and attitudes that lead to changes in behaviour in terms of greater interest in entrepreneurship and creative thinking, and it leads to a greater interest in venturing into business and the completion of secondary education. At an institutional level entrepreneurial education leads to the strengthening of the entrepreneurial culture, the enhancement of the efforts of teachers, and the intensification of the engagement of decision-makers (stakeholders). The positive impact on the economy lies in the increase in the number of start-ups, increased long-term survival and development of enterprises, an increase in the innovatory activities of alumni firms, and greater employment. The impact on society lies in the ability to better protect individuals against exclusion and the return on investment that society invests in measures to promote entrepreneurship education.
The emphasis on a systematic approach and use of the tools available
The European Parliament complements the above statements and recommendations with an emphasis on a systematic approach to entrepreneurship education and the support of youth entrepreneurship through education and training. The European Parliament's call to create a European network in order to share examples of good practice, of which there are many in this field, including the internationally proven longstanding network of national Junior Achievement centres, is prudent. The European Parliament calls upon the European Commission to primarily 1) prepare methodological assistance in the form of educational standards for entrepreneurship education and support for courses to improve teachers' skills as a methodological assistance to Member States for the integration of entrepreneurship education into the curricula and 2) for this purpose to allocate specific financial tools as part of the ERASMUS + programme, if possible during this period, and to prepare the legislative and financial framework for the period after 2020. The European Parliament calls for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the results of current and future activities in the field of entrepreneurship education and its impact on employment and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, including the use of the OECD study. The European Parliament also calls for the European Commission's report for the 2014-2019 period on the fulfilment of ET 2020 objectives in the promotion of entrepreneurship education. The European Parliament also appeals to Member States to pursue an effective integration of entrepreneurship education in educational programmes and to use the available financial instruments, e.g. EU structural funds, for this purpose.
Developing entrepreneurial skills at all levels of education
The report mentions the development of entrepreneurial skills at all levels of education and distinguishes the specific features of each stage. The primary and secondary levels of education are essential for the acquisition of key competences, and the completion of higher secondary education is a prerequisite for a successful labour market, including entrepreneurship. At the tertiary level of education there is a very wide scope for the development of the entrepreneurial activities of students and graduates. The entrepreneurial activities of students and graduates are developed at an institutional level; they form part of the long-term plans for the development of individual universities, and are industry-specific activities that utilise the research, innovation and creative potential of universities.
‘Entrepreneurship education’ at all levels can be a highly effective tool for motivating young people and in their decision-making to embark on their own business and career, and also to succeed in this career. An approach that supports young people in, for example, their creativity, ability to cope with risk, management of failure and responsible behaviour is greatly needed in today's Europe.
-  See Eurostat data from January 2015 - http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/6454659/3-07012015-AP-EN.pdf/f4d2866e-0562-49f5-8f29-67e1be16f50a.
-  See for example the Juncker Commission's priorities - http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/jobs-growth-investment/index_en.htm.
-  http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/education_training_youth/lifelong_learning/c11090_cs.htm
-  http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8056&lang=en.
OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (24.6.2015)
for the Committee on Culture and Education
on promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training
Rapporteur: Jana Žitňanská
The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Culture and Education, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:
A. whereas the EU’s youth employment figures are alarming, with some Member States having a youth unemployment rate of more than 50 %; whereas education plays a key role in fostering the social and occupational inclusion of young people, and whereas entrepreneurship should be regarded as a cross-cutting competence and as an additional option for creating new businesses and, above all, more job opportunities, thereby helping to reduce youth unemployment and to boost young people’s employability;
B. whereas young people benefit from entrepreneurial training and education and practical entrepreneurial experience, which help to develop their skills and talent, enabling them to develop confidence, and which contribute to new business creation, employability and innovation; whereas entrepreneurship is a hugely under-utilised option for many young people with disabilities;
C. whereas the effects and impact of entrepreneurship programmes in education show that students who have completed such programmes obtain a job more rapidly at the end of their studies;
D. whereas entrepreneurship is one of a number of ways of helping young people to find a job and earn a stable income;
E. whereas the aim of the Europe 2020 strategy is to create an economy based on high employment levels and economic, social and territorial cohesion; whereas a robust social economy is of key importance in this connection;
F. whereas cooperative businesses provide high-quality, inclusive and crisis-resilient jobs that cannot be relocated; whereas, thanks to their cooperative model, such businesses increased their turnover and continued to grow during the crisis, with fewer bankruptcies and redundancies than other types of company;
G. whereas social and inclusive businesses participate actively in innovative sustainable growth, promote greater cohesion within society and local communities, and can create employment opportunities for young people, including those who are socially vulnerable and those furthest from the labour market;
H. whereas teaching by experienced entrepreneurs creates a positive image of entrepreneurship and facilitates the step towards entrepreneurship;
I. whereas young entrepreneurs face numerous challenges and difficulties, including a lack of experience, of the right skills and of access to finance and infrastructure;
J. whereas the inability to use information and communication technologies constitutes a latter-day form of illiteracy;
K. whereas the possibility of uncomplicated and non-fraudulent exits allows investors and entrepreneurs to restart businesses more successfully, to employ more workers and to experience lower failure rates;
L. whereas young people will be better qualified to engage in business on a transnational scale if they are proficient in foreign languages;
1. Calls on the Member States, together with regional and local authorities, to use all existing EU-level funding resources, such as the European Social Fund, the European Youth Employment Initiative, the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme and the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (COSME), to encourage and support initiatives which pursue more effective and better-targeted links between businesses and the education sector, which foster an entrepreneurial culture among young people – regardless of socio-economic background or gender – so as to encourage them to develop creativity, initiative and sense of responsibility, and which reverse the perception that entrepreneurship is a residual career option; calls on the Commission to look into how such funding is actually used, and to make it easily accessible and simple to use; highlights the need for investment in education and infrastructure in order to address the digital divide in the Union;
2. Calls on the Member States to do all they can to raise awareness among young people of opportunities to set up businesses, by providing appropriate education and training programmes focused on entrepreneurship and by promoting individual skills, in particular digital skills and digital leadership skills as essential tools for entrepreneurs in today’s economy and business environment; stresses that a young, experienced and appropriately skilled workforce is of essential importance for EU competitiveness and will help to speed up the economic recovery process and to create jobs in all the Member States;
3. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to remove barriers to entrepreneurship in order to help young people to transform their creative ideas into successful business plans;
4. Calls on the Member States to combat barriers to young entrepreneurs with disabilities through the provision of training for service providers whose responsibilities include supporting people with disabilities, and through the adaptation of the premises at which support is provided in order to make them accessible to those with mobility challenges;
5. Calls on the Member States to be proactive in improving regulatory frameworks and streamlining administrative procedures for businesses, in particular SMEs and social businesses, and to promote and monitor the quality of the employment practices of such businesses; points out that social and inclusive businesses create sustainable jobs, contribute to community development and help to promote a sustainable environment and to ensure social resilience in times of crisis;
6. Calls for public employment services to be more proactive in providing assistance and advice to businesses, and to young entrepreneurs in particular;
7. Stresses the need to address the financial difficulties affecting young entrepreneurs, to facilitate their access to credit and special grants, to reduce existing administrative burdens, and to put in place a regulatory environment and fiscal incentives that encourage the development of youth entrepreneurial initiatives and boost job creation, in order to facilitate the start-up and stabilisation of young entrepreneurs’ business projects;
8. Calls on the Member States to promote cooperative entrepreneurship, which is based on democratic decision-making procedures and helps young people to become responsible employers, employees and consumers; points out that cooperatives and other social and inclusive enterprises are an integral part of the European social model and the single market and therefore deserve full recognition and support, as provided for in the constitutions of some Member States and in various fundamental EU provisions;
9. Calls on the Member States to support green and sustainable business projects;
10. Calls on the Member States and on regional and local authorities to offer innovative students increased access to, and availability of, scholarships and micro-loan schemes, together with support, information, mentoring, multidisciplinary assistance and peer‑to‑peer evaluation platforms, in order to enable them to start their own ventures or projects, such as those supported under the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis of EaSI; calls on the Member States to facilitate access to and return of loans, to promote the use of crowdfunding, to develop partnerships between the local economy, businesses and universities, to enhance the role of businesses in integrating young people into the labour market, and to consolidate the entrepreneurial skills pass (ENP) at various levels of school and university study, especially in partnership with SMEs; urges the Member States to encourage the establishment within universities of business incubators dedicated to sustainable development and future-oriented branches of study;
11. Stresses the need to improve the entrepreneurial culture within tertiary education by supporting and facilitating the creation of new companies by young people on the basis of academic research (spin-offs), reducing the bureaucratic burden involved in establishing such companies, and creating a clear and supportive regulatory framework for student entrepreneurs; considers that, in this context, schools and universities should allow time and space for, and grant recognition of, initiatives by young people so as to give them the necessary confidence to undertake new projects that may prove useful in setting up independent businesses; welcomes initiatives which reward young people for successful business ventures (e.g. the award for the best student company of the year), further emphasises the importance of companies giving young people the chance to obtain their first direct in-house work experience, and reiterates the necessity of promoting company visits and traineeship schemes with such objectives, so as to give young people an overview of the business world;
12. Calls on the Member States to ensure that their education systems, including vocational training programmes, include a greater focus on the development of cross-cutting entrepreneurship competencies, skills and knowledge, in particular by providing for ICT skills and foreign languages to be taught in the first years of schooling and by promoting, in secondary and tertiary education, learning which instils and develops the competencies needed to become an entrepreneur, such as creativity, communication skills, business management, book-keeping and accounting, and which is delivered effectively through hands-on and real-life experience; calls, while stressing the important role played by teachers in fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among young people and providing them with the right skills and qualifications, on the Member States to pay special attention to the provision of appropriate and specialised training for teachers, to ensure their ongoing professional development and to expand opportunities for the inflow of experienced entrepreneurs as teachers;
13. Calls on the Commission to monitor closely the concrete measures implemented by Member States to support entrepreneurship among young people, to devote special attention to the promotion and publication of information about results and to encourage and support institutions and organisations in exchanging good practices, sharing ideas, knowledge and experience, and forming cross-sectoral strategic partnerships; encourages the Commission and the Member States to develop benchmarks, models and common instruments and projects in order to promote youth entrepreneurship; welcomes the Erasmus+ and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programmes, which give young people the opportunity to study and train abroad and to acquire entrepreneurial experience in other Member States; asks the Commission to ensure that companies comply with the rules applicable to these programmes, which safeguard the rights of participants, and that such programmes are publicised within secondary schools and vocational and higher education institutions;
14. Calls on the Member States to simplify procedures for non-fraudulent exits and to create a supportive exit environment, so as to send young people a clear message that a failure will not result in a setback with lifelong consequences;
15. Calls on the Member States to promote entrepreneurship as a positive career option in the career advice provided within secondary and tertiary education and to tackle the negative stigma surrounding entrepreneurship as a career option, which is prevalent in some Member States;
16. Urges the Commission to monitor closely the specific measures being implemented by Member States, to ensure that young people choosing a business career enjoy the same entitlements in respect of welfare (under International Labour Organisation Recommendation 202) and of health and safety at work;
17. Calls on the Member States to increase awareness of self-employment and business creation for young people with disabilities, through actions such as promoting the career paths of people with disabilities who have already been integrated into the labour market and giving public recognition to entrepreneurs with disabilities.
18. Calls on the Member States to promote sponsorship for young entrepreneurs which enables them to benefit from the experience and support of their more seasoned colleagues;
19. Calls on the Member States to encourage young people into entrepreneurship by facilitating project-based studies within the education system which cut across disciplines and are delivered in cooperation with companies;
20. Urges the Commission to ensure that no measures taken by the Member States impede the free movement of workers, so that young people who have chosen business careers are able to conduct their activities wherever they wish to in the European Union;
21. Stresses the crucial role of a number of associations of young businesspeople in fostering entrepreneurship among young people, providing them with the opportunity to develop innovative projects and obtain business experience and giving them the tools and the necessary confidence to set out as entrepreneurs;
22. Calls for closer collaboration with the private sector and the social partners with a view to encouraging a risk-taking, entrepreneurial and innovative culture (e.g. through structural commitments such as facilities for innovation and the exchange of ideas);
23. Notes that promoting cooperation between secondary and tertiary education would allow increased dialogue among young people and encourage innovation;
24. Calls on the Commission to examine factors which discourage women from taking up an entrepreneurial career path and to ensure that education systems and related measures and activities actively strive for gender equality.
RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Guillaume Balas, Tiziana Beghin, Brando Benifei, Mara Bizzotto, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, David Casa, Ole Christensen, Martina Dlabajová, Lampros Fountoulis, Marian Harkin, Rina Ronja Kari, Jan Keller, Ádám Kósa, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Kostadinka Kuneva, Jean Lambert, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Patrick Le Hyaric, Jeroen Lenaers, Javi López, Thomas Mann, Dominique Martin, Anthea McIntyre, Joëlle Mélin, Emilian Pavel, Georgi Pirinski, Marek Plura, Sofia Ribeiro, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Yana Toom, Ulla Tørnæs, Marita Ulvskog, Renate Weber, Jana Žitňanská, Inês Cristina Zuber
Substitutes present for the final vote
Maria Arena, Georges Bach, Heinz K. Becker, Paloma López Bermejo, António Marinho e Pinto, Edouard Martin, Tamás Meszerics, Csaba Sógor, Helga Stevens, Monika Vana, Tom Vandenkendelaere
Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote
Flavio Zanonato, Branislav Škripek
-  International Labour Organisation (ILO), Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No 202).
RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Isabella Adinolfi, Dominique Bilde, Silvia Costa, Damian Drăghici, Angel Dzhambazki, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Rikke Karlsson, Andrew Lewer, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Curzio Maltese, Fernando Maura Barandiarán, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, Michaela Šojdrová, Helga Trüpel, Sabine Verheyen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Theodoros Zagorakis, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Krystyna Łybacka
Substitutes present for the final vote
György Hölvényi, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Ernest Maragall, Martina Michels, Marlene Mizzi
Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote