Monthly Archives November 2014

Non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Europe

From 23rd to 25th October ENIA RDI Ltd, emcra GmbH and the EU-Fundraising Association came together to a trilateral partner meeting in Cyprus. Among other topics, the question of “non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Europe” was broached.


An Entrepreneurship Action Plan for Europe

Entrepreneurship has been put forward on the EU’s agenda through the “Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan”. It should serve as a “blueprint” for decisive action to support Europe’s entrepreneurial potential and culture. The strategy is built on three pillars, one of them being the promotion of entrepreneurial education and training.

The EU is already supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education thanks to two programmes:

  • COSME, wich supports the mobility of young entrepreneurs and exchanges among educators and trainers’ best practices in entrepreneurship education. Examples of actions include:
    • The European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs, which provides advice and support to women entrepreneurs in the start-up, running and growth of businesses during their early years
    • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, which helps new entrepreneurs (not necessarily young in years, but in the age of their businesses) by offering an opportunity to learn from a more experienced host entrepreneur in another country.  The host benefits in return from a fresh perspective on his / her business.
  • Youth, one of the subdivisions of the new Erasmus+ education program, lays a specific emphasis on youth employability and encouraging entrepreneurship in young people in Europe

Why promoting non-formal learning and entrepreneurship?

At a time when youth unemployment hits records in Europe, the question has been raised during the partner meeting whether non-formal education can help to develop skills more adapted to the workplace, complementing the ones acquired in the formal education system. It has been notably argued that EU mobility programs or other European schemes could foster the development of essential skills, such as intercultural skills, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and risk-taking, lifelong learning, practice of foreign languages, flexibility, etc, which should better prepare individuals for the job markets.

Increase employability

There are various initiatives and innovative projects across Europe addressing the challenges of recognition /integration of trainings on entrepreneurship, empowerment of young people to set up enterprises, or self-(non-formal) learning tools inside enterprises to develop new skills. The partners of the Cyprus meeting have exchanged opinions about the following projects:

  • The Dutch Entrepreneurship Module Eligible for Certification, developed by the European Vocational Training Association and partnering the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, gives upper secondary vocational education institutes the option to add entrepreneurship to existing vocational training courses
  • The Italian project “Bellacoopia” is addressed to young students from upper secondary schools to create virtual cooperative enterprises to experience what running a business means
  • The Spanish FLORIDA Universitaria, training center affiliated to the University of Valencia, enhances the development of an entrepreneurial mindset among students in order to facilitate their employability according to today’s market needs. Innovative methodologies such as business simulation games are included in the learning.
  • The EU-funded project LIFE2: key competences in life skills, bringing together vocational education organizations from Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK has developed a “train the trainer pack”, aiming at helping teachers and trainers to assess and include life skills in vocational learning and encouraging entrepreneurship skills such as creativity and innovation to set up in business.

Entrepreneurship education is not a new concept, but its implementation is still lacking of coherence. The Cyprus meeting allowed the partners to reflect on new approaches leading to innovative project ideas, notably concrete tools and needs analysis for trainers in this field.


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Entrepreneurial education – Non-formal training case study in France

After the post about non-formal training programs on entrepreneurship in Bulgaria, we continue our trip accross the world of entrepreneurship education meeting Hanna el Hadi, a girl who followed a non-formal training program on entrepreneurship in France.

Hey Hanna, could you introduce yourself and your educational path in few words, please?

Hey! My name is Hanna. I have graduated high school with a sciences specialization. Then I went during two years in a preparatory school because I wanted to integrate an engineer school to work in the environment field. I managed to integrate it and I was therefore able to study environment management.

Do you plan to create a business or take over a company in the next coming years?

No, it is not in my plans for now.

A moment of entrepreneurial education with non-formal training in France. Source:

During your educational experience, did you have any training about entrepreneurship?

I had some interaction with professionals who had, or not, created their own businesses but I didn’t have a dedicated course on this topic. It was however possible to choose courses about subjects such as start-up creation but I didn’t. I have participated in some campaigns to raise awareness about enterprises’ issues such as working and hiring disabled people or corporate social responsibility but nothing about entrepreneurship strictly.

Did you experience a non-formal training about entrepreneurship?

In May 2014, I had a training course about entrepreneurship during which we were taught about how to create a business, difficulties dealing with that challenge, necessities to share about your project… But it was still very general. This training was organized by E-Seniors association in cooperation with an entrepreneur. It was very interesting to see how to plan and create a start-up, the importance of planning early stages and to deal with unexpected issues.

I also participated in a Youth in Action program organized by E-Juniors about creativity in entrepreneurship and its importance in the realization of a project. It was really interesting since all participants came from different backgrounds and countries and, therefore, had different way to approach a topic. We had several workshops to think together about these issues. It was great.

We thank very much Hanna for her testimony, wishing Hanna good luck for all her projects.

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Entrepreneurial education – Non-formal training in Bulgaria

On 3 March 2010 The European Commission presented Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM (2010) 2020), whose key initiative “Youth on the move” is aimed at improving the performance of education systems and facilitating the entry of young people into the labor market.

Two key priorities for future policy and action of the Bulgarian Youth strategy 2010-2020 emerged: promoting entrepreneurship and innovation with regards to young people.

Despite the successful models and best practices in project “JOBS – Job Opportunities through Business Support”, project “Promotion of innovation activity among young people in Bulgaria – Technostart” and project “Creating Competitive Start-ups -Project 100″, the access to information, advisory services and financing for setting-up , education and development of entrepreneurial initiatives of young people is still limited.

Some young bulgarian entrepreneurs. Source:

Preparing ICT students to start a business

The projects “Education of young people in entrepreneurial skills to create a competitive small and medium businesses” and “Establishment and Development of Centers to promote entrepreneurship in higher education in Bulgaria” were implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.

The project aims are to prepare students from the technological universities to start a business; assist in assessing the realization of technological ideas; study the market demand for their product and provide financial resources and support to companies of the newly graduated students.

In their work centers on entrepreneurship well aware that isolation from the problems of the real business and closing only in the academic environment and training will not lead to the achievement of their goals. Therefore, each center on the basis of their experience and vision of development has its own system for connection with a real life.

Business centers to increase employment

Project “JOBS Job Opportunities through Business Support” is implemented as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the JOBS business centers. Its main objective is to surmount the high and increasing level of structural unemployment in Bulgaria and to increase the level of employment throughout the country by developing business centers, registered as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which will provide technical and financial assistance to the emerging private sector. The Project aims at demonstrating a replicable model for employment generation through stimulation and creation of micro and small enterprises.

Students submit business idea to win a grant

The Project “Promotion of innovation activity among young people in Bulgaria – Technostart” is implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism in cooperation with the United Nations development and JOBS Business Centers. The project aims to encourage young entrepreneurs – students, phD and graduates in the earliest stage of the entrepreneurial cycle – they have the chance to submit a business idea and win a grant of up to 20 000 BGN. In order to obtain the funding for the project, each applicant, after approval of his business plan, must register a company at the Registry Agency.

In addition, non-formal education in Bulgaria is in the process of development.

Other actions to increase students motivation to start a business

At the end of 2014 in Bulgaria will start system for the recognition of formal and informal knowledge, skills and competencies developed and tested within the project “New opportunities for my future”, implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science (Ministry of Education) and funded by the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development”.

For the successful implementation of the activities in the process of preparation are attracted representatives of key stakeholders – the social partners, the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

The system allows to issue a document to prove the acquired outside formal education professional knowledge and skills. This will:

  • Increase the motivation of the workforce to maintain and enhance skills, and hence – to increase its competitiveness in the labor market;
  • Facilitating labor mobility – both within the country and abroad;
  • Improving the process of recruitment;
  • Achieving a high degree of objectivity in the evaluation of staff and career development;
  • More effective implementation of systems of differential wages;
  • Reduce the time and cost of organizing further training.
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