Youth and Work
Promoting entrepreneurial thinking and action
In the international debate about new strategies for bringing about more growth, employment and social cohesion, one topic has been receiving more and more attention in recent years: the promotion of entrepreneurship.
Recent research clearly suggests that entrepreneurship and economic growth exhibit a positive correlation, especially in high-income countries. Countries with a better track record of founding new businesses, moreover, tend to have lower unemployment rates. Countries that want to increase entrepreneurial initiative must do so by promoting such behavior among young people. Since cultural tendencies and attitudes take root at an early age, entrepreneurial thinking and skills must be promoted early in the educational cycle.
Educational efforts that focus on entrepreneurial attitudes not only lead to new businesses, innovative approaches and job creation, they also help young people become more creative and self-confident when working at businesses of all sorts. In addition, they increase the willingness to take on social responsibility.
Entrepreneurial thinking and initiative must thus be viewed as a key competence and must become the focus of increased educational efforts within the German school system. Only by promoting “entrepreneurial education” can schools again become viable players in the rapidly changing world of vocational training and work. Ensuring this happens, however, means restructuring teaching and learning processes. Other countries have already recognized this fact and introduced appropriate measures within their curricula. Germany needs to use such best practices as benchmarks for reform.
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As traditional job-for-life career paths become scarce, youth entrepreneurship provides an additional way of integrating youth into today's changing labor markets and improving their economic independence. This note was prepared by Dr. Ulrich Schoof, Bertelsmann Stiftung, and Amina Semlali, Children and Youth Specialist.
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YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP –
Entrepreneurial initiative as a key skill in young people’s growth, employment and self-actualization
“Society needs a more positive image of entrepreneurial thinking and behavior, in particular to encourage young Europeans to become the business leaders of tomorrow. We need a systematic approach to teaching entrepreneurship at all educational levels, from elementary school to universities.”
Günter Verheugen (2006),
EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry.
Promoting entrepreneurial thinking and behavior
In the European and international debate about new strategies for more growth, employment and social cohesion, interest has increasingly focused on one topic in recent years: The promotion of entrepreneurial initiative.
New research projects give clear signs of a positive correlation between entrepreneurship and economic growth, especially in high-income countries. Countries with a greater increase in start-up companies tend to show a more dramatic decrease in unemployment.
It is obvious that the only path to an entrepreneurial society is through the young generation. Because attitudes and cultural points of reference develop at a very early age, that is just when entrepreneurial virtues and abilities must be adequately communicated and a sense of private enterprise must be promoted.
Not only does an education that emphasizes entrepreneurial thinking and behavior lead to more start-up businesses, innovative concepts and new jobs, it also helps young people to be more creative and self-confident when undertaking anything and to act with greater social responsibility.
Therefore, German schools must give much greater emphasis to teaching entrepreneurship as a core skill. Only by promoting entrepreneurship education can schools again make a connection with developments in the business world. This means that teaching and learning processes must be designed appropriately. Other countries have long since incorporated this insight into their educational systems, and Germany must set its sights on these best practices.