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Entrepreneurship Action Plan: motivating potential new entrepreneurs the no. 1 priority

09 January 2013
by EUROCHAMBRES -- last modified 10 January 2013

While fully endorsing the Entrepreneurship Action Plan’s aim of re-igniting entrepreneurial spirit, EUROCHAMBRES called for implementation to focus heavily on the challenge of motivating and equipping more young Europeans to become entrepreneurs. The many other objectives set out in the communication – which cumulatively resembles a second Small Business Act - must not undermine the pursuit of this primary objective.

Entrepreneurship education: the key element

The communication initially highlights the issue of entrepreneurship education, which Chambers consider crucial to exposing young people to the positive option of self-employment and developing creativity, initiative, confidence and other key entrepreneurial competences.  EUROCHAMBRES supports this and welcomes several of the specific measures, notably the recommendation for member states to ensure that entrepreneurship is embedded in primary, secondary and tertiary education curricula.

"Too many Europeans are reluctant entrepreneurs, not through some genetic characteristic, but because they have been conditioned to aspire to a 'safe' employment position," said Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES.  "The Commission is right to emphasise that national education systems must promote entrepreneurship as an appealing and viable alternative and prepare young people to take this career route."

Entrepreneurship Action Plan I, not Small Business Act II

However, EUROCHAMBRES regrets that the Action Plan does not stop after this first chapter on entrepreneurship education and instead goes on to address a wide range of issues that relate to the general business environment.

Mr Abruzzini said: "Chambers certainly do not want to discourage policy makers from pursuing vital improvements in business conditions, such as streamlining company transfers and cutting regulatory burdens.  However, we argue that these should be tackled via established procedures, such as the Small Business Act and Single Market Act follow-up."

By biting off more than it can chew in the action plan, the Commission risks undermining the delivery of targeted measures to stimulate entrepreneurship and diluting the overall impact of this important exercise.

EUROCHAMBRES - The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry represents over 20 million enterprises in Europe - 93% of which are SMEs - through members in 44 countries and a European network of 2000 regional and local Chambers.