Entrepreneurship Education

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5) Towards Greater Cooperation and Coherence in Entrepreneurship Education Report and Evaluation of the Pilot Action High Level Reflection Panels on Entrepreneurship Education

Front Cover

Authors:  Andrew McCoshan

Date: March 201


The documents attempts to develop the education for entrepreneurship agenda across the countries of the EU by facilitating enhance cooperation and coherence based upon a proposed model for EE identifying building blocks that can be put in place. This report was initiated by DG Enterprise and Industry and DG Education and Culture

Key Findings:

A model of entrepreneurship for education is proposed that encompasses;

  • A conceptual shift from entrepreneurship education as 'how to run a business' to how to develop a general set of competencies applicable in all walks of life and experienced within and across all phases of the curriculum;
  • The development of a shared vision shared at national level by all the key stakeholders, resulting in learning outcomes, and objectives, targets and indicators with opportunities for intergovernmental collaboration; and
  • Developing more systematic and sustainable approaches by teachers, schools, and businesses by local, regional and national organisations and support infrastructures involving teacher training, teaching resources and tools, mechanisms to share good practice, clusters and partnerships.

A competency model is also suggested and key factors for EU developments in EE are identified and discussed.




The report proposes key features of an ‘Effective Entrepreneurship Education Environment’

  • Quality exposure to enterprising individuals;
  • An understanding amongst the students of the motivation and objectives behind the exercises that they are taking part in, e.g.. to develop competencies related to creativity and initiative, and the skills needed to take risks, as well as to run businesses effectively
  • Experiential and hands-on learning to enable students to have fun, retain the outcomes of the learning experience and gain a sense of accomplishment that builds their self-confidence;
  • Tasks which give learners responsibility and ownership of activities in order to promote the emergence and implementation of innovative approaches to problem solving; and
  • Teachers with 'know-how' of enterprise principles, of how to communicate and enthuse people about the central issues and of how to support students' self-directed learning

Section 4.4.4

Focus of Study

The development of education for entrepreneurship across the countries of the EU as part of the Education 2020 policy.

Authority and Credibility:

This is an authoritative and influential document that has guided policy development and project funding within this area across the EU. The document was underpinned by the opinions of high level policy makers within the EU.

Implications & Comments:

First, within a system strongly characterised by voluntarism, teachers have often played the key role, taking the first steps in the teaching of entrepreneurship education and in shaping current practice. This is the case even in countries where entrepreneurship education might be said to be most widely available and well developed, such as the UK before the recent development stimulated by central government.

Secondly, entrepreneurship education has tended not to be treated systematically in the curriculum. Instead, it is typically an extra-curricular activity, added at the margins of mainstream education, reliant on the enthusiasm of individual teachers and schools.
This has meant:

  1. the focus has tended to be on topics more directly related to how businesses function or on giving students a general appreciation of the world of work rather than more general competencies related to entrepreneurship per se;
  2.  it tends to consist of providing opportunities to interact with businesses rather than on developing competence like creativity and risk-taking; and
  3.  it tends not to be assessed as part of the mainstream curriculum: teachers and schools instead rely on in-house prizes and awards, or take part in competitions run by well-known organisations such as Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise (JA-YE), outside of mainstream qualifications.

Thirdly, the lack of systematic treatment of entrepreneurship education means that teachers have drawn on a variety of resources to support their teaching, very often developed and provided by private business and/or non-profit organisations (see below). The range of approaches, methods and tools includes using virtual simulations of business situations, practical, hands-on experience of businesses, and 'Enterprise Days/Weeks' where students develop ideas, carry out activities such as market research and design and turn  their ideas into mock products or services. In all these cases, entrepreneurship education offers alternative methods to mainstream teaching practice.

Fourthly, a significant role is played by private businesses, associations and organisations. Most prominent amongst these are organisations with international profiles:

The report outlines a matrix of development stages for EE spanning several years and mapping different actions to the various stakeholders across the EU in the process. The report envisages a radical development in pedagogy where the aim is “to empower students through the development of autonomy in learning, to reduce hierarchical relationships within schools,”  section 3.3.1

The need for coherent pathways of progression opportunities that builds bridged between different courses is also identified which might be facilitated by National and European Qualifications Frameworks

Frequently assessment and recognition of EE is dependent upon externally sponsored competitions and prizes that might result in haphazard provision despite the high status of some of the competitions.

Stresses the importance of the development of local entrepreneurship ecosystems that support education and involve a range of businesses and organisations. This may be facilitated in countries where there are string traditions of local business collaboration such as chambers of commerce.  

Bibliographic Information

McCoshan, A. (March 2010). Towards Greater Cooperation and Coherence in Entrepreneurship Education Report and Evaluation of the Pilot Action High Level Reflection Panels on Entrepreneurship. Brussels: European Commission. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/promoting-entrepreneurship/e...