Entrepreneurship Education

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1) Entrepreneurship Education - A Guide for Educators

Authors: Entrepreneurship 2020 Unit, Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, European Commission     Date: 2014


This guide aims to showcase a selection of examples of inspiring practice featured in two EU events that shared practice in Entrepreneurship Education. It suggests key enablers and success factors.    

Key Findings:

Makes a distinction between ‘profit making and profit taking’ in an attempt to emphasise social dimensions of entrepreneurship.         

Entrepreneurship education is seen as more than preparation on how to create and run a business. It is about how to develop the entrepreneurial attitudes, skills and knowledge which, in short, should enable a student to ‘turn ideas into action’. The following is proposed in relation to teacher development.

  • Teachers cannot teach how to be entrepreneurial without themselves being entrepreneurial.
  • Entrepreneurial competencies require active methods of engaging students to release their creativity and innovation.
  • Entrepreneurial competency and skills can be acquired or built only through hands-on, real life learning experiences.
  • Entrepreneurial skills can be taught across all subjects as well as a separate subject.
  • Entrepreneurship education should focus on ‘intrapreneurs’ as well as entrepreneurs, in light of the fact that most students will use entrepreneurial skills within companies or public institutions.

To give entrepreneurship education real traction, there is a need to develop learning outcomes related to entrepreneurship, and related assessment methods and quality assurance procedures for all levels of education. These should be designed to help teachers progress in the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge through partnership with business and the community

Focus of Study

In November 2012, the European Commission published the communication ‘Rethinking education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes’. This policy initiative emphasises that, in order to build ‘skills for the 21st century’, efforts are needed to develop transversal skills such as entrepreneurship and highlights ‘the ability to think critically, take initiative, problem solve and work collaboratively’. These skills are seen as being not just important in entrepreneurship but are also central to being an effective employee.

Teachers and lecturers from across the EU shared and discussion their practice in relation to guidance documents from the EU on Entrepreneurship Education in order to locate success factors for developing the subject. The report provides a wide ranging snapshot of activity across Europe in this area.

Authority and Credibility:

This is the summary of two EU funded conferences focused on examples of practice across EU educational institutions. This reports attempts to summarise education projects and practice across the EU within the area. It is informed by preceding EU guidance on the topic.

Implications & Comments:

The distinction made between ‘profit making and profit taking’

This is an attempt to acknowledge and include initiatives that would be considered as social entrepreneurship which have a focus on cultural activity. This distinction depends on an interpretation of profit in a much broader sense than is usually applied and, perhaps over simplifies entrepreneurial business activity as being solely focused on profit making.

For teacher educators:

The report identifies a need to develop an environment that enables innovation in teacher education by overcoming negative notions of ‘entrepreneurship’ and recognising social entrepreneurship. This is supported by concrete and tangibly defined learning outcomes for entrepreneurial teaching with developed and quality assured assessment methods for entrepreneurship education pedagogy informed by student feedback. Networks dealing with this area help to share the practice of teacher educators and can lobby for the development of this area.

For teacher training and longer term professional development

Entrepreneurial teacher training programmes should utilise entrepreneurial methods to address the teachers’ own potential for entrepreneurial capacity, not as an isolated skill, but as a concept that requires key competencies such as creativity, technological awareness and project management. Training programmes should show how, in every curriculum, there are starting points for entrepreneurial teaching and learning that can build on existing entrepreneurial activities of teachers, demonstrating how their existing methods already fit to the concept.

Courses should s focus on practical approaches and include active, participatory methods that create ownership and are assessed through clearly defined learning outcomes.

 In-service training provide need to stimulate take-up and promote courses based on consultations with schools and teachers about their development needs. These courses can have a sustained impact when teachers and learners are encouraged to make plans based upon ongoing evaluations and exchanges about teaching and learning.

Entrepreneurial schools

…have a dedicated and committed school management which supports entrepreneurship education for all students based on a forward looking ethos willing to embrace change and a vision of how entrepreneurship  education fits into the broader curriculum and development plan. transversal, creative and entrepreneurial skills are nurtured by the regular use of activity based learning and student centred methods in teaching.

Regular evaluation of the activities are carried out including student feedback using concrete learning outcomes that are also defined and assessed as part of formal exams. Positive student feedback is seen as a driver for the development of entrepreneurial learning.

Entrepreneurial teachers

They reward individual initiative, responsibility taking and risk taking and are ready to accept failure as an integral part of a learning process. They also need to know how to manage and mitigate risks to avoid what might be a costly waste of time, skill and commitment. Entrepreneurial teachers know how to mitigate risks.

 Entrepreneurial teachers have strong team working skills, are networkers who regularly exchange approaches and resources with their peers to support innovation and creativity in teaching and learning.

Partnerships for entrepreneurship in education, teacher training and development

These can benefit from the expertise available from engagement with business and creative industries that education alone may not have. Peer learning and exchange can also enhance these partnerships. Creative workers such as artists, designers, architects and scientists can help

 Bibliographic Information

Entrepreneurship 2020 Unit. (2014). Entrepreneurship Education - A guide for Educators. Brussels: European Commission: Director- General for Enterprise and Industry. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/7465