Entrepreneurship and Schools – a resource for improving practices

Young entrepreneurs sitting around a table

The E360 project was a recent joint initiative between the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to examine entrepreneurial learning in primary and secondary education and in vocational education and training. Experts and representatives from across Europe shared examples of good practice and helped to create guiding notes for policy makers and educators to help encourage and improve the practice of entrepreneurial leadership, culture, teaching and learning in schools and VET institutions. 

E360 by country – examples of successful entrepreneurship education initiatives

flagAustria (pdf)
flagBelgium (pdf)
flagBulgaria (pdf)
flagCroatia (pdf)
flagCyprus (pdf)
flagCzech Republic (pdf)
flagDenmark (pdf)
flagEstonia (pdf)
flagFinland (pdf)
flagFrance (pdf)
flagGermany (pdf)
flagGreece (pdf)
flagHungary (pdf)
flagIreland (pdf)
flagItaly (pdf)
flagLatvia (pdf)
flagLithuania (pdf)
flagLuxembourg (pdf)
flagMalta (pdf)
flagNetherlands (pdf)
flagPoland (pdf)
flagPortugal (pdf)
flagRomania (pdf)
flagSlovakia (pdf)
flagSlovenia (pdf)
flagSpain (pdf)
flagSweden (pdf)
flagUnited Kingdom (pdf)

For background to the project, see the OECD's recent paper 'Entrepreneurship in Education: what, why, when, how?'

Key findings from the E360 project

Creating an Entrepreneurial School

Schools are the main learning environments for students, and teachers and school management are the key defining factors shaping this learning environment. Embedding entrepreneurship in the culture and values of a school helps foster the development of entrepreneurial competences and creative individuals. 

An entrepreneurial school can adopt school-wide approaches to promote entrepreneurship. It can involve students in different ways in the promotion of entrepreneurship, for example through encouraging participation in competitions, awards and prizes. 

More flexibility within the school helps to implement innovative activities and elements in the curricula, which can be supported by funding and/or human resources to achieve sustainability. 

Engaging parents and partner organisations in the activities of the school and providing incentives for teachers to promote entrepreneurship as a key competence are also often included as successful approaches in entrepreneurial schools. 

Good practice examples in this area can be found in the country examples for:

flagAustria (pdf) flagBelgium (pdf) flagCroatia (pdf) flagGermany (pdf) flagSweden (pdf)

If you would like to read about this in more detail, see the OECD's paper 'Entrepreneurial Schools' (pdf) on entrepreneurial learning environments and a changed role for teachers.

Entrepreneurship Education 

Entrepreneurship education is most often embedded as an alternative, extra-curricular subject in primary and secondary level education. It is promoted in the classroom environment in many schools, often through the introduction of less traditional teaching and learning methods, including creating practical experiences of team-working, problem-based learning, entrepreneurship opportunities alongside project work, and learning outside the classroom. 

Key issues include making the learner curious and the learning relevant to the life-world of the learner.

Whilst some teachers may have first-hand experience of business environments, inviting representatives from local companies into classrooms can provide alternative and engaging role models.

Good practice examples in this area can be found in the country examples for:

flagDenmark (pdf) flagPoland (pdf) flagSlovenia (pdf) flagSpain (pdf) flagUnited Kingdom (pdf)

To explore this topic further, see 'Entrepreneurship Education in Practice' Part 1 - The Entrepreneurial Mindset (pdf) and Part 2 - Building Motivations and Competences (pdf)

The Outward-Looking School 

Schools are an integral part of their local ecosystem; they do not exist in isolation. Relations and interactions between the school and its external environment affect all internal and external stakeholders directly or indirectly. Understanding these relations and maximising the possible benefits of outward-looking cooperation are key to supporting entrepreneurship initiatives.

Outward-looking approaches by schools can ensure that the learning experiences have local relevance and provide students with the possibility to carry out project work addressing societal issues and everyday problems. Relations between schools and their partners do not have to be formal and long-term to deliver benefits. 

When a school becomes active in an ecosystem, it can result in a more responsible and responsive community, in many different ways, and they can more easily encourage and guide students to engage with their environment. Involving local entrepreneurs in the design or delivery of entrepreneurship-related activities and initiatives, inviting former alumni as inspirational speakers or business leaders as role models for the students to talk to are often used modes of engagement.

For good practice examples of schools working in partnership see in particular:

flagEstonia (pdf) flagFinland (pdf) flagItaly (pdf) flagMalta (pdf) flagThe Netherlands (pdf)

To explore this topic further, see The Outward Looking School and Its Ecosystem (pdf) (OECD).