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European expert NETwork established to increase uptake of entrepreneurial learning in Europe

A new EU initiative aims to promote entrepreneurial learning and make policy recommendations that can be put into effect by national school systems. The European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB.EU) will exchange information and experience, improving and creating synergies between the many initiatives in the field.

Some 50 experts from more than 40 countries, including the EU’s pre-accession region, have formed an advisory group to politicians and the EU institutions. The EE-HUB.EU will engage in outreach and awareness activities as well as policy recommendations across several work streams that include national strategies, partnerships with business, support for teachers and the role of regional authorities.

Anthony Gribben from the Turin-based European Training Foundation, and a member of the expert group, sees the hub as an essential instrument in the EU’s entrepreneurial learning drive. ‘We need to close the gap between the practitioner and policymaking world in entrepreneurial learning. And the hub establishes this interface’, says Gribben. ‘The diversity of expertise supporting the hub has huge potential not only for the EU28 countries but for its neighbouring countries as most face significant challenges in terms of fragile economies and high unemployment and where entrepreneurial learning needs to be part of the solution,’ he adds.

The European Commission’s entrepreneurship action plan states that every young person should have an entrepreneurial experience before they finish school. While much is already being done across Europe, entrepreneurial learning needs to be more systematic and rooted in the school curricula and take place on a larger scale.

“The establishment of the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork is a further milestone towards a more entrepreneurial Europe. I am confident that this new network hub will help to inspire a change in mindsets, facilitating our readiness for the knowledge society and creating an environment where new ideas can prosper.” Joanna Drake, Director for Entrepreneurship & SMEs, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The focus areas are national policy development and mobilising teacher training and support. One work stream will focus on how businesses and private associations and organizations can support the uptake of entrepreneurship education.  Another focuses on how the wider entrepreneurship eco-system can be developed to support entrepreneurship across the learning system.

Throughout Europe, entrepreneurship education is ad-hoc, varying in quantity and quality, often relying on individual teachers’ and schools’ enthusiasm and commitment. In December 2014, The European Council underlined the importance of developing entrepreneurial skills from an early age and of reinforcing links between the education system and business world, in line with the European Council's recommendation, "to promote a climate of entrepreneurship and job creation". Entrepreneurship and education are also priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA-YE Europe that leads the EE-HUB.EU initiative says that, “European stakeholders in this field are extremely committed. The situation is urgent and this is a way to leverage our strengths and work more effectively together. Entrepreneurship education cannot work unless governments and their local business and education communities are acting in close partnership with one another.” SEECEL is part of the consortiuòm which is implementing the initiative. Efka Heder, SEECEL Director, points to the opportunity of integrating SEECEL teacher and policy maker networks with those in the EU28. 'The real value is in maximising the knowledge and know-how of our networks,' says Efka, 'and it is great to see experts from the SEECEL member states fully integrating and contributing to the hub.'

The three-year project was launched on 5 May 2015 in Brussels. The partners are JA-YE Europe, EUROCHAMBRES (the association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry across 44 countries), EUproVET (vocational education specialists) and SEECEL (South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning). Additional private sector partners include: Cisco, EY, Intel, Microsoft and VISA.

EE-HUB.EU is financially supported by the EU’s SME support programme (COSME).

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