jobsEarlier today, the latest EU unemployment figures (PDF) were published by eurostat, showing that jobless rates for Europe in December 2012 didn’t change much compared to November. Unemployment in the Eurozone has held steady at 11.7%, whilst the rate for the whole EU-27 was also stable (and not much better) at 10.7%.

Recently, we’ve looking at how best to tackle youth unemployment in Europe, as well as looking at how higher education could better help young people find jobs. Last week, we attended an event on youth entrepreneurship organised by Microsoft Europe, called “Youth, the key to Europe’s future“, and we had the chance to take some of your questions on education and entrepreneurship to the speakers for their reactions.

We started with a comment from Christos, who argued that:

We first need to reform the European education system before we reform the European economy, otherwise we will have people with too many degrees but no jobs [related to] what they studied.

We put this comment to Ciarán Cannon, the Irish Minister of State for Training and Skills:

Next, we had an idea sent in by Ioannis for easing the burden of red-tape for young people and encouraging them to start a business:

I suggest reinforcing youth entrepreneurship through ‘incubators’ (organizations providing facilities, equipment and administrative support). This will decrease the costs [for entrepreneurs] and will make it easier for young people to open their own businesses.

We put this to Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman of Microsoft Europe, who suggested that, whilst incubators are a good idea, a bigger benefit might be achieved through mentorship and coaching programs:

Next, we had a comment sent in from Professor Patricia Leighton, who argued:

We need to make self-employent/freelance working more acceptable and better supported, especially for graduate unemployment. They must stop being treated with suspicion and denied access to support structures. There must be more training and life-long learning facilities and people should be able to more easily learn about being an entrepreneur and being self-reliant.

Finally, we had a a question sent in on Twitter from @10comm suggesting “It would be good to debate why EU [Information Technology] is not visible / not there” compared to the US, which is currently the global “ICT leader”. Why are EU technology start-ups not as globally visible as their US counterparts?

What do YOU think? How can Europe encourage more people (including young people) to take risks and start a business? Should more support be offered to self-employed people through ‘incubators’ and mentorship programs? Should education in Europe be more geared towards encouraging entrepreneurship? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.



67 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. avatar
    Jude De Froissard

    in order to be motivated….we need less bureaucracy.less taxes .and protection from big business who buys or destroys whatever is affordable to them.fair competition with fair rules for everybody big and small

  2. avatar
    Martin Martino

    Make failure more acceptable. Greater access to finance. Create curious critical thinkers not sheep with the education system.

  3. avatar
    Georgel Vilsan

    Train them, show them which are the steps of starting a business, mentoring them.
    Do not put your confidence in national projects that are training people to become entrepreneurs or anything related – most of them are bullshit initiatives to spend money on nothing (and they do not prove of professionalism).
    Better create an institute for training the interested people.

  4. avatar
    Foteini Markou

    First of all, as a teacher, i would say make the children believe to themselves and their abilities and then educate them to be mind opened and criticam thinkers. Then, they could learn how to evaluate or even foresee the needs of their comunity or society and try to satisfy them through innovative ideas.

  5. avatar
    Samo Košmrlj

    not much to add to Foteini’s thoughts. The society should move toward raising children to think for themselves. I can tell from my own experience, that most of the people are waiting for Something. Note Something is written with capital S.

  6. avatar
    catherine benning

    Entrepreneurs are not trained, the ability is innate.

    Which is why we have leaders and drones. We are run by overtrained drones, who are the way they are because you cannot teach a mind to perfom, it does it without encouragement, however, what have you as Europeans done to remove this ability from our nation. Mundane thought, playing with social engineering rather than taking note of reality and what is happening on the ground. You games of social engineering is the cause of this lunacy.

    Get rid of the American advisors and go with what you know instinctively will reverse this mess.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u76GhiEap9I

    You will only be able to save Europe by refusing to buy from Corporations who manufacture goods outside of our own sphere. Block all trade from countries where the labour costs are so low they are on a slave level. It may be a hard lesson to learn, but, poiliticians were stupid enough to get rid of our ability to manufacture and produce by selling us the service industry. What a crock that was. It was useless and only fools could not have envisaged the outcome of that scam. You could start by setting up internet access from Europe. By passing the USA. Move to take over the technology of the future. Centre on what is good for us and the continent of Europe and stop worrying about elsewhere.

    The only way to save Europe, which includes the UK is to return to the trading standards of the 60’s… Hate that concept, well, then, watch Europe die. Whilst you all worry about how others will make a living. Do you believe they are worrying about how we will survive?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQyyIjwG4i8

  7. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    A Europa pode e devem incentivar as pessoas para a formação de empresários para que os futuros empresários possam criar idéias inovadoras agora os estados da UE tem um papel fundamental nestes pequenos empresários eles irão a precisar de menos impostos e ajuda finaceira para que possa desenvolver o seu negócio e assim se pode desenvolver uma económia moderna dentro do espaço da UE

  8. avatar
    Annemieke

    More focused training as children in schools, e.g. annual workshops in financial planning and management. I wouldn’t know where to begin with working out how to finance an enterprise or market a product or similar.

  9. avatar
    IgnoRantJack

    Unfortunately most new businesses go out of business within the first year so it’s hard to see how entrepreneurs, in and of themselves, will drag the economy out of recession, they’re a part of the solution, not the silver bullet. I’m not sure countries should be focusing on promoting young entrepreneurs, but rather they should be promoting entrepreneurs in general since you’re not going to cut youth unemployment by making them all businessmen and businesswomen. You will cut it through the jobs generated by those new businesses though.

    Two things I think we need to see, tax amnesties (on some or maybe even all) for new independent businesses for at least the first two years and protection for unsuccessful entrepreneurs so that the price of failure is not your home and possessions. Also many small-to-medium businesses have complained about banks who are unwilling to lend, even to profitable businesses seeking to expand. This needs to be addressed since most of it is our bloody money anyway.

  10. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    ” Should education in Europe be more geared towards encouraging entrepreneurship?” Yes, absolutely, totally agree…. and give initiatives and motives for small and medium businesses to flourish… under the current trends of austerity, the opposite happens… most of them are forced to close… so I do not see how these policies are doing any good to anybody….

  11. avatar
    Isabel Quirino

    No estou certa acerca de quererem, de facto, encontrar estratgias para diminuir o desemprego nos jovens. Penso at que h alguma hipocrisia no discurso das instituies oficiais a este respeito, em termos globais, mundiais.

  12. avatar
    Rares Lucian

    It depends. The business environment from France for example is very different from the one we have here, in Romania. There you`ve got laws and laws are equal for all citizens (or for most of all). In Romania, you can`t do anything without bribe. You just can`t deal with that huge bureaucracy without bribe some public servant…

  13. avatar
    Ana Campos

    Reducing the amount of bureaucracy that is required will definitely cause a huge impact. This will motivate young people to take the risks.

  14. avatar
    Ana Campos

    Reducing the amount of bureaucracy that is required will definitely cause a huge impact. This will motivate young people to take the risks.

  15. avatar
    Máté Parászka

    and what is with the people who don’t realy whant to start a business?for exemple, i do arts, and i think culture is important to, it is the only thing what makes stressful business people calm without taking medication and it is the only thing what remains for the future…but i have no job now, and i have to do one, but arts comes with a huge risk, university comes with a risk, and now i have to start a business for living what comes with a big risk also, i don’t know how much stress can a human mind rezist, but it seams a little to much no?

  16. avatar
    Máté Parászka

    but maybe if in politics this make people to panic strategy trend will change, then people will handle this kind of risks also

  17. avatar
    Mihai Susanu

    Hi
    I am a corporate lawyer and a consultant in EU funds and developing business.
    I think the best way to support the young entrepreneurs are providing access to investment loans for more than 10 years. This will offer a smaller reimbursement rate monthly which will make credit more attractive and in the same time will encourage them to get credit. Getting credit is the most important asset of a young person motivated to start his own business. In the same time they need easier access to services like start up free consultancy or business incubator.
    But the motor of starting remain the access to investment credit ranging to 25-30 years.
    This is what i think.
    wish you all have a nice day and good business ;)

    • avatar
      Mihai Susanu

      although I operate in Romania, I think this is a general solution for EU start-ups

  18. avatar
    Liliana Lili

    minimal ar trebui introdus ca studiu in scoala gimnaziala si apoi dezvoltata in liceu,completat cu alte cursuri

  19. avatar
    Florin Holban

    Relax… Encourage and teach all you want. As soon as you wish to take a chance on your own you’re considered well doing perhaps, and bills to pay a lot pop out straight away.

  20. avatar
    Tudor Iliescu

    Cut state regulations, taxes and bureaucracy!

    And privatise the educational system and then you’ll see real changes, including in entrepreneurship.

    Long story short, allow the free market to work its ‘magic’!

  21. avatar
    Peter Schellinck

    Our educational model needs a total overhaul! Technology, science, business and society has moved on. Like with politics, education seems to have stalled. Business has proven that 3 out of 5 jobs are not even learned at school. Hence, a closer partnership between practice and academic must be cemented. The principle of a job for a degree guarantee should be applied.

  22. avatar
    Debbie Stowe

    Powerful tax incentives, eg first two years of operations tax free. Make it worth people giving their business ideas a try. Some won’t work but others will. Plus access to mentors.

  23. avatar
    Ludovina Lopes Margarido

    I Agree. Increasingly the school has to prepare its young people for being able to take on diverse tasks, combining the theory to practice, making them more versatile and prepared.

  24. avatar
    Theodoros N Pitikaris

    No since south of Europe into extreme austerity, with Mr. Rhen new-liberal agenda, with universities to close down all over south Europe and not to mention the equality in terms of accessing funding via private banks for people living in south and north Europe ( liquidity, interest rates) … the uncertainties about whether or not a euro-area member state may or may not remain member of euro single currency make it unbearable for young people to take such risks.

  25. avatar
    Hugo Rodrigues Couto

    Entrepreneurship is for sure very important, but it can not be a “fashion mood”, something quite empty, a business of entrepreneurship itself. It needs to be treated as serious thing !

  26. avatar
    Georgi Hrisstof

    If you stood on the personal position and the state where I live, my expression would be more in the style of a funeral. There are no opportunities or incentives for honest and clan structures in unrelated people. Work program, one year, the monthly salary is € 90, ends year contract and went public again for the unemployed and for four months get a € 70, and then be signed during each month of this market, which is not your job, but and social services to all who turn does not give you a dime, and that you alive, do you have a right to life, food, a roof in this country are not respected! 90% of funds that gives Europe the pockets of dubious companies and chains built to absorb capital …
    How Europe can help young people to reduce unemployment? Messages as possible and reach a larger audience! Consolidates institutions and resembled more of a country! Analyzes problems and control! Snishoditelno not accept lies from political subjects of the so-called New members of the European family!

  27. avatar
    Vigan Vula

    One of the straight forward solution is when every country of Europe start treating every other EU citizen as their own citizen

    • avatar
      IgnoRantJack

      Unfortunately that’s not exactly ‘simple’, only when all EU economies are more closely aligned would that work.

  28. avatar
    Radu Negoita

    give them technology when they are small, link the educational system with this technology, make learning fun, do not forbid them to do anything whose potential harmful effect on them you cannot explain to them, make them feel appreciated when they do something and do not tax them in the first three years of business development… sounds impossible, right?…

  29. avatar
    Antonio Figueiredo

    Como possivel ser empreendedor, quando e se por qualquer motivo as coisas no correram bem, empreendedor perde todo o patrimonio que nalguns casos amealhou durante uma vida, e vai viver para debaixo duma ponte? Entretanto criou postos de trabalho, ajudou ao desenvolvimento do Pais, etc. etc… mas se correr mal ninguem o olha, no tem qualquer direito e perseguido pelos bancos para o resto da vida??? assim em Portugal!!! E querem empreendedores?

  30. avatar
    Vitor Cruz

    negcio sinal que alguem quer dinheiro custa do trabalho de outro igual, vivam , vivendo

  31. avatar
    Carlos Neto

    Being from a university in which entrepreneurship is encouraged and “explained” and having written my thesis on an European entrepreneurial project, I think the main problem is, as others have said before, the red tape on new businesses as well as the failure fear. Mainly this last one is underlined by every single VC or BA in Europe as a reason for no investment. On the other side of the Atlantic they understood long time ago that failure is not a bad thing, is a good thing, it teaches and makes you improve.
    Without changing the minds of European policy makers as well as Venture Capitalists, Europe will never be an entrepreneurial zone with open minded businesses, because those flew away to San Francisco bay area to look for the failure Europe was so afraid of and that will ultimately bring them success.

    05/09/2013 Rebecca Taylor MEP has responded to this question

  32. avatar
    Better Failling

    Change our attitude?
    Nowadays the mantra is ‘profit’ but we fail to realize that profit is good only as long as it reflects the ability of the company to survive in the medium and long term.
    If economic activity is geared towards short-term bursts of profitability it is nothing but bare speculation, it has nothing to do with what is currently hailed as ‘sustainable growth’ but almost never put in practice.
    Don’t take me wrong, speculation per se is not a bad thing since it provides liquidity to the market by acting as lubricant, but we should never forget that an engine is supposed to generate motion, not ‘oil pressure’, and lubrication is an essential but auxiliary process.

  33. avatar
    catherine benning

    Here is some food for thought. As the wage levels in developing countries increase. we find we are paying higher prices for the products manufactured elsewhere. So, our people have lost their jobs, but, we will be paying the same rateswe would have paid if the jobs remained in Europe. Does this not strike you as ludicrous. After all, our people are without work as the labour was outsourced to reduce costs. Yet costs are on the way up.

    They have shot us in the foot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZwCDYLClPM

    And now listen to what is really going on. Did you know the UK gave ‘Lockheed Martin’ the contract to take our national census. All our information was given to an American company without our knowledge. And they have lost or passed the information of to? Is this happening in Europe? What are we doing ousourcing our jobs? Why is it that those who exploit us all, want to enforce on us a drop in the standard of living here in Europe. Listen to this US propaganda on what takes place in Europe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXN4jEgArCk

    Then the control of politics.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqnc5EHZ80o

    Do some research. Why are we losing out as individuals who have been leaders in the world of economics?

  34. avatar
    Laszlo Nagy

    Some kind of mentorship program could be part of a solution, or rather some continuous coaching or advising by some statutory organization, chambers of commerce or something. Many of the newly founded enterprises fail, just because it is the natural flow of things. These might be reduced by that, taking into consideration, that mentoring would mean, that entrepreneurs help their concurence?

  35. avatar
    Margarida Frances

    Penso que e uma tarefa dos governantes incentivar e motivar os jovens.Claro que o governo tem que ser credivel e tem que merecer confianca.

  36. avatar
    António Castelo

    Spread the economic consequences of Europe equally for all Europeans. Then a whole european generation will have to unite and create development, sustainable and fresh economic development.

  37. avatar
    João Camacho

    Have good networks where the information can be easy accessible on legislation, programs, new partnerships, new trends, prizes, franchisings, special support cabinets, politics, social objectives, etc. Very easy: motivate people!

    • avatar
      João Camacho

      And not let for more than two years waiting for the subventions promised condemning the partners to bankruptcy…

  38. avatar
    João Camacho

    Ter boas redes onde a informao possa facilmente ser acedida sobre legislao, programas, novas parcerias, novas tendncias, prmios, franquias, gabinetes especiais de apoio, poltica, objectivos sociais, etc. Muito fcil: basta motivar as pessoas! E no demorar mais de dois anos a dar os apoios para que os projectos venham a parar na falncia condenando os empreendedores ao fracasso!

  39. avatar
    Horácio de Matos

    Defend swiftly the open, regulated and fair economic development model historically accorded.

    Impose time limits to the economic clarifications requests to the National and European Authorities

    More european integration in the justice system

    Guaranty a independent financial system to start ups

  40. avatar
    Arabela

    I wonder: do we expect the entrepreneurial initiative to lower unemployment figures? if that’s the plan, than it’s not encouragement that it’s needed but direction. Search the real need of the society, show where is the need for entrepreneurial spirit, support initiatives and voila … we could have an intelligent outcome.

  41. avatar
    Erdélyi István

    Not intervene in the things of small enterpreneurs. :-) From down to upwards development shall be allowed. Very important to prohibit picking the snow flower… very important :-) If an average German office worker has a misprint, a Hungarian enterpreneur, and its staff loses a money of an average monthly pension of phone fee. This Europe is a prison for small enterpreneurs. :-) And a small Hungarian enterpreneur can not explain any everyday thing for an ass-stupid official who has pushed the coountry into the EU. :-)

  42. avatar
    J. Abildgaard

    What I suggest is for the EU to think a little bit more like many entrepreneur’s do: KISS (keep it simple stupid)….for the simple reason we know the funds and help is here, – it’s just that to apply for EU funds and help the EU provides, very often would take longer than the entire project is taking to make or, start up which I think for many – especially young people, makes them give up before they even start!! So in other words…like many other people are mentioning…..the bureaucracy is too much..far too much, but otherwise thumbs up for the initiative – which will be much better and, more effective if you cut down the bureaucracy and simply just act human…down to Earth ;)

  43. avatar
    Elena Karantagli

    In a world that values material success and rationalism above the human heart, I strongly believe, that European Youth should be encouraged not only in taking risks in business affairs. Life is something more than money, numbers and venture, and if we are nurtured only with this values we will turn into nothing more and nothing less, than young minds boned from fancy and wonder.

  44. avatar
    Morten Lund

    Gouverment should make some proactive act against sensitive business – like Munic started the LiMux project. This very narrow geografically project (only one city in the EU) has developed to quite some succes. It is admirable that they have been able to succed. What would not have happend if it had been 100 cities in the EU that had united powers?

  45. avatar
    Morten Lund

    We should not encurage so many humanities students. We have bars and cafees enough. Need to take back some computer and electronic territory, which the education system should back up. Let it start in groundschool. Encurage startups that work in that line of business. Make clauses to prevent overtakes from foreigners (outside EU) and give it legitimacy thru some kind of privacy act or what the lawyers can figure out. Here we can also learn from the USA.
    Ps. The clauses are important because the latest trend is that huge foreing compagnies settle in our clusters, and absorb any new business that shine the smallest light at all.

  46. avatar
    Maria de Fátima Faria

    A primeira coisa a fazer, é dar segurança a quem investe, fiscalizando e defendendo justamente todos os investidores. Há que criar regras e leis claras e objectivas que limitem e distingam sem sombra de duvida quem está a investir honestamente daqueles que apenas tentam sobreviver à custa dos outros.
    Os estados devem de seguir um código de conduta igual, e homogéneo que não incentive a fuga de um lado para o outro de empresas tendo como objectivo apenas e só a fuga aos impostos ou o aproveitamento de circunstancias próprias que cada país atravessa.

    Há que ter uma economia liberal e regulada, acelerar as decisões judiciais e fiscalizar permanentemente o cumprimento da lei.

    Por outro lado é necessário que se comece a ter uma visão mais humanista da própria economia, tendo nós todos a certeza de que esta é razão de uma estabilidade social e de bem estar para todos.

    Enquanto o cidadão sentir que o maior poder está apenas em quem tem mais dinheiro e que este dinheiro consegue inverter os valores democráticos e até humanos, continuaremos a assistir a uma desmotivação completa de iniciar qualquer esforço que leve à criação de uma empresa.

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