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Is an entrepreneurial mindset something you can teach and learn?

Dr. Friederike Sözen, Senior Advisor, Department of Educational Policy for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ)

Yes, we are convinced that you can teach entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurship is all about attitudes, skills and competences.

Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is about learners developing the skills and mindset to be able to turn creative ideas into entrepreneurial action. This is a key competence for all learners, supporting personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability. EE is relevant across the lifelong learning process, in all disciplines of learning and to all forms of education and training (formal, non-formal and informal) which contribute to an entrepreneurial spirit or behaviour. At European level, EE is defined within the 2006 key competence framework:

A sense of initiative and entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives*.


It can therefore be appreciated that EE supports individuals, not only in their everyday lives at home and in society, but also in the workplace. For employers it is surely desirable that employees understand the context of their work and are able to seize opportunities, as a foundation for the more specific skills and knowledge needed by those establishing or contributing to social or commercial activity. It is also important that our citizens have an awareness of ethical values necessary to promote good governance.

The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass is a joint initiative of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) and Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Europe. The project, working with nine countries and other important partners, aims to bridge the perennial gap between classroom and the world of work.


The initiative is expressly designed to consolidate the unique strengths of both partner organisations.

WKO has extensive experience of work with employers and education with an integrated and coherent programme on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. JA-YE Europe for its part is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes. Its JA Company Programme at secondary level, recognised as best practice in EE by the European Commission DG Enterprise, provides the students with the possibility to set up and manage a real mini-company, by learning about all the steps of a business cycle and by taking part in trade fairs and regional-national-European competitions. An exciting dimension of the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass is the development of an online examination able to certify students competences and measure the impact of the entrepreneurial experience on students‘ attitudes regarding entrepreneurship, self-employment and active citizenship. It is hoped that the use of the online assessment will serve to afford an invaluable basis for continuous improvement aligned with the EU approach to Evidence Based Policy Formation.

A high level launch event for the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass was held in Brussels on March 4th. An indication of how seriously policy makers view developments in entrepreneurial learning can be gauged by the attendees at the launch where organisations as diverse as members of European Parliament, EUROCHAMBRES, OECD, VISA, Accenture, Microsoft, CSR Europe and Digital Single Market EU Commission were all in attendance. The unique mix of multilevel stakeholders from global companies to local players, from European Commission to national chambers, education initiatives and committed sponsors was an implicit acknowledgement of this promising approach to raise employability and an entrepreneurial mindset for Europe's youth.

*This is based on a framework definition agreed by an international working group on entrepreneurial learning in Geneva on 18 January 2012. The working group comprised representatives from ETF, GIZ, ILO, UNESCO and UNEVOC.

Category : Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Education, Policy & Research, Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP), EE-HUB.EU Posted : 10 March 2015 09:59 UTC
About the Author
Dr. Friederike Sözen, Senior Advisor, Department of Educational Policy for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ)

Friederike Soezen is a Policy Advisor in the Educational Policy Department of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Austria.

Friederike holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Vienna and has been working with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber’s (WKO) Educational Policy Department in Vienna since 2008.

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