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Entrepreneurship 2020: a three-step plan for unlocking Europe’s entrepreneurship potential

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Entrepreneurship 2020: a three-step plan for unlocking Europe’s entrepreneurship potential

The entrepreneurship 2020 action plan is a blueprint to reinvigorate Europe’s entrepreneurial culture. It focuses on education and training and creating the right environment, as well as role models and reaching out to specific groups.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Entrepreneurship 2020 action plan - reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe (COM(2012) 795 final - not published in the Official Journal)


The entrepreneurship 2020 action plan Reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe aims to support entrepreneurs, who play an essential role in boosting employment, growth and a stronger economy. Europe's new companies alone, particularly small businesses, generate more than four million new jobs every year.

The action plan seeks to change the culture and attitudes of European citizens with regard to entrepreneurship and to see it as an attractive and realistic career. It invites Member States to make entrepreneurship education a mandatory part of school education and aims to change the public ’s perception of entrepreneurs, so that they get the recognition and support they deserve. The action plan also addresses the multiple barriers faced by would-be entrepreneurs, such as the lack of appropriate education and training, difficulty in accessing credits and markets, problems in transferring businesses, fear and stigma of failure and too much red tape.

The action plan’s proposals, which are to be put into action by administrations at all appropriate levels (European, national, regional and local) and of which only a selection are shown here, are grouped under three headings.

Entrepreneurial education and training

  • Ensure that the key competence entrepreneurship is embedded into curricula across all levels of education before the end of 2015.
  • Develop a pan-European entrepreneurial initiative and assess the introduction of entrepreneurship education in the Member States.
  • Establish a guidance framework, with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, for developing entrepreneurial schools and vocational education and training (VET) institutions.
  • Offer young people the opportunity to have at least one practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving compulsory education.

Creation of an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow

  • Access to finance.
  • Support new businesses in crucial phases of their lifecycle and help them grow.
  • Unleash new business opportunities in the digital age.
  • Transfer of businesses.
  • Second chance for honest bankrupts.
  • Reducing red tape: clearer and simpler EU rules.

Role models and reaching out to specific groups

  • Entrepreneurs as positive role models through initiatives such as the EU Entrepreneurship Day during SME Week or designation of national entrepreneurship ambassadors.
  • Support groups that are under-represented among entrepreneurs or not reached by traditional business support schemes, such as women, seniors, migrants, unemployed and young people - through mentoring, advice and support schemes.

Work on the entrepreneurship 2020 action plan proposals started in 2013, with EU bodies and EU governments sharing their know-how, learning and good practices.

The action plan builds on cooperation under the Small Business Act for Europe to reduce red tape on businesses. An SME envoy is responsible for following the plan’s proposals in each country.


Entrepreneurship 2020 - EU action plan: citizens’ summary

Last updated: 10.03.2014