(Dublin, Ireland): Only a fraction of young Europeans interested in becoming entrepreneurs actually go on to do so, according to Eurofound’s new report ‘Youth entrepreneurship in Europe: Values, attitudes, policies’. The report looks at factors that could unlock this entrepreneurial potential, and that influence young people’s decision to become self-employed. The report will be launched today Wednesday 29 April at a lunch-time discussion with EU-level social partner representatives in Brussels, Belgium.
Fostering greater participation of young people in the labour market has become a priority in Europe, and there are a number of different strategies in place at national level to increase youth entrepreneurship. The report analyses selected policy measures aimed at fostering youth entrepreneurship, organised around three main support pillars: fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and culture among young people; providing the right information and support to young would-be entrepreneurs; and removing perceived practical and logistical barriers.
The report shows that almost half of young Europeans are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and over 40% believe it is feasible. However, only 6.5% of young people in work are self-employed, and there are significant national and gender differences in Europe when it comes to the amount of young people that actually set up their own business.
There are significant differences between EU Member States, and the share of youth self-employment varies from 15% or more in Italy and Greece to 3% or less in Germany and Denmark. Youth self-employment is also a predominantly male activity as just 33% of young self-employed people in the EU28 in 2013 were women. There is also an issue with the overrepresentation of young self-employed people in sectors with low barriers to entry, such as construction, where there are issues with ‘bogus’ or false self-employment.
Although youth entrepreneurship is not a panacea for youth unemployment, a long-term strategy for supporting the creativity and ambition of Europe’s entrepreneurial minded young people can produce positive results. Tailoring policies and initiatives to those with the right skills, values and ideas, and encouraging the creativity and ambition of young people could significantly impact the economic and social landscape of Europe in the future.
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The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working conditions (Eurofound) is a tripartite European Union Agency, whose role is to provide knowledge in the area of social and work-related policies. Eurofound was established in 1975 by Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1365/75.
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