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World Economic Forum survey: Europe needs to boost its entrepreneurial culture if it does not want to lag behind other regions

54% of young European entrepreneurs surveyed say it is the entrepreneurship education that prompted them to launch their own business

Brussels, 26 June, 2014: With only 40% of survey respondents saying that conditions in their country are favourable to start their own business, the ecosystem for developing start-ups in Europe needs an urgent overhaul if Europe is serious about leading global innovation, concludes a new report by World Economic Forum (WEF) Fostering Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe. Facilitating access to entrepreneurial education from an early age and fostering entrepreneurial culture must be part of the solution, concludes WEF.

The report also reveals that there is a tremendous appetite from the private sector to help solve this problem -   87% of respondents from private sector across Europe said they would finance and coach young prospective entrepreneurs. Policy makers also join calls for tailoring existing curriculum to the needs of entrepreneurial careers.

Daniel Calleja-Crespo, Director General, DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission: “By 2020 every pupil across Europe should have had an entrepreneurial experience before leaving secondary school”.

The paper, based on a survey of more than 1100 young entrepreneurs from all across Europe, examines what steps can be taken to boost the continent’s competitiveness and scale up its entrepreneurial potential and what hinders growth of EU-based innovative SMEs.

Facilitating access to entrepreneurship education from an early age and fostering entrepreneurial culture must be part of the solution, says the report.  Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA-YE) Europe, Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurial education programmes, helped the WEF research by conducting a survey among alumni of its educational programs.  

“Innovation-driven entrepreneurship in Europe depends in large part on how well we can prepare this generation of digital natives to turn their ideas into action. We have to reach them while they are still in school. Entrepreneurship is not just a mindset, it is a set of important skills and competences that can be learned,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO JA-YE Europe.

Entrepreneurial education has proved to be a powerful influencer of future entrepreneurial activity: in a joint study, JA Sweden (member of JA-YE Europe) and the Stockholm School of Economics demonstrated that “mini company” programmes have a significant positive effect on creation of new firms (alumni are 20% more likely to start a business) and on firm survival. This is strongly reinforced by the WEF research, which reveals that entrepreneurship education was one of the most meaningful forms of prior exposure to entrepreneurship for 54% of the respondents.

The report’s findings are based on an online survey conducted among 1,132 entrepreneurs across Europe, a series of interviews including European high-level politicians as well as interactive workshops featuring top policy-makers and business leaders over the past year in Davos, London, Berlin, Geneva and Dalian, China.


Notes to Editors

Read the report here

Read Caroline Jenner’s piece at the World Economic Forum blog here


For more information, visit


Or contact:

Elina Konstantinou

Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe

Phone: + 32 2 735 97 20


About Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise Europe

JA-YE Europe is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, reaching 3.2 million students in 39 countries in 2013. Funded by businesses, institutions, foundations and individuals, JA-YE brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with experiences that promote the skills, understanding and perspective that they will need to succeed in a global economy. The JA-YE Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’. JA-YE Europe is the European Regional Operating Center for JA Worldwide®