Europe's youth need an entrepreneurial state of mind

Emilian Pavel, Member of the European Parliament

I believe that youth entrepreneurship is not only an opportunity, but also a duty for Europe.

It is our chance to pull young people out of a desperate situation created by a devastating economic crisis, and give them not only the means to find employment, but also the means to generate more quality jobs and drive growth all over Europe.

It is of course, our duty not to let the young generation down. Firstly, because they did not generate the crisis, yet still have to confront it. Secondly, because by encouraging youth entrepreneurship, we give Europe a fighting chance in an increasingly competitive global economy.

But, promoting youth entrepreneurship in Europe also demands a shift in mind-set. It is crucial that we integrate entrepreneurship into education, growing Europe’s entrepreneurial spirit in every classroom. The success of such initiatives depend heavily on this mind-set change.

For these reasons, promoting, encouraging and supporting Europe's youth to take the (long and difficult) road of entrepreneurship is a duty, and one of the top priorities of any policy maker.

My objective, as a young progressive politician, is to see more and more young people get involved in economic activities across Europe. It is my strong conviction that in order to create more quality jobs in Europe, we need to support as many job creators as possible. And they must be, for the most part, young people. It is their time, it is our time, to have a say in the European Union.

There are two main aspects that I consider very important when talking about (and doing!) youth entrepreneurship in Europe, both of which represent my vision in this area.

First, there is a growing opinion in Europe, of which I am a part of, which advocates the need to create a risk-taking culture in our countries. In fact, one of the most common points amongst successful individuals is their willingness to take risks and embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

We do not have, or we have partially lost, that risk-taking culture in Europe and our current attitude towards failure is totally opposite to that of our competitors across the Atlantic. This needs to change. Young people who have the courage, drive and ideas to start new businesses and employ other people, need to be given not only second chances, but also third and fourth chances! They are not failing if they don't succeed the first time, and we will all surely benefit if they try a second or third time. Young people need to know that!

Secondly, however unfortunate it may be, young entrepreneurs don't just ''happen'' – they are groomed. They are a product of their community and that environment needs to be just right if we want to see more young entrepreneurs, more quality jobs and more growth in Europe. It is unbelievable that such an important part of our population, young people, who could contribute so much to taking our Union forward, are not being given enough support or credit!

If we want to see risk-takers in Europe, we need to foster entrepreneurship and give young people the right tools. We need more entrepreneurial education in Europe. We need to educate and boost entrepreneurs and create a healthy start-up environment ready for them to blossom. We need a real and strong entrepreneurial mind-set in our countries.

With all this need for change, I am also bringing good news. The things I have mentioned here are not just thoughts, there are more people like me in the European Parliament working together to make more and better things possible for our young European entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, I worked on a report from the European Parliament focused on "Promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training". Together with other political groups, we have fought to use available EU-level resources to support initiatives that offer entrepreneurship education to young people. Furthermore, we have asked the EU Member States to put in place a regulatory environment and fiscal incentives that encourage the development of youth entrepreneurial initiatives and boost job creation. We have also advocated for a transformation of current educational systems, including vocational training programmes, to emphasis the development of transversal entrepreneurship skills and competencies, effectively delivering hands-on and real-life experiences.

In conclusion, I truly believe that youth entrepreneurship can contribute to reducing youth unemployment and generate quality jobs, as well as lead to valuable innovations for our future. It is therefore vital that together, through perseverance and concrete measures, we foster a European entrepreneurial state of mind.

Facebook: Pavel Emilian
Twitter: @PavelEmilian
Category : entrepreneurship education Posted : 17 December 2015 08:13 UTC
About the Author
Emilian Pavel, Member of the European Parliament

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