European Commission VP Antonio Tajani has presented an action plan to support entrepreneurs and “revolutionise” entrepreneurial culture in Europe.
The plan focuses on education to trigger the formation of new companies as research cited by the Commission suggests between 15%-20% of students who participate in enterprise programmes at school will go on to start their own business.
Mr Tajani’s outline also suggests higher education institutions can support entrepreneurialism by fostering business ecosystems, partnerships and industrial alliances.
A European market for microfinance is proposed to simplify tax structures and to allow SMEs to raise funds through direct private investments, such as mini-bonds, crowd funding and angel investments.
In addition to this, the Commission proposes to expand the markets for enterprises and remove barriers to cross-border business transfers.
A second chance for ‘honest entrepreneurs”, as the Commissions puts it, would mean a shift away from liquidation, to helping businesses overcome financial difficulties.
Mr Tajani said: "To make it very clear: more entrepreneurs mean more jobs, more innovation and more competitiveness. Becoming an entrepreneur and making a vision come true takes a lot of personal risk and effort.
“Entrepreneurs are the heroes of our time. Entrepreneurship is also the most powerful driver of economic growth in economic history. Therefore, we want to make entrepreneurship an attractive and accessible prospect for European citizen. This is the key message of our action plan. If we can unleash Europe’s entrepreneurial potential, we can bring back growth to Europe."
Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at ICAEW, said: “The European Commission is still having the same debate on entrepreneurship. These are highly challenging times for new start-ups and established businesses alike. What potential entrepreneurs need is confidence, better advice and finance, and above all a more favourable economic climate.
“The Commission’s Communication promotes cultural change to make business failure less of a stigma. Lengthy procedures on bankrupts can be a factor in discouraging entrepreneurship. People learn from past mistakes and should not be penalised if they want to start a new business in the future. However, focus also needs to be on helping businesses from failing in the first place.
“Eurobarometer surveys show that entrepreneurial attitudes have been on the rise across much of Europe in recent years. The focus should be on improving the economy to give entrepreneurs and established businesses better conditions to succeed. Real action is needed to simplify regulation and improve access to finance to improve businesses confidence and boost growth.”