Answer – Entrepreneurship poles for students in university centres – E-007714/2016

The Commission supports entrepreneurship education in higher education through policy and finance, notably Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, the European Social Fund (ESF invests EUR 2.2 billion in self-employment and business creation and EUR 6.8 billion in the labour market relevance of education and training systems) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF invests EUR 9 billion in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises business development, self-employment, business creation, web and social entrepreneurship).

Many EU universities have entrepreneurship centres for students. The ESF and ERDF can be used to develop such centres. Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and ERDF (Interreg) can fund projects for cooperation between them.

Examples for ERDF support are EXIST(1)– a German initiative that helped universities increase entrepreneurial culture and support creation of innovative start-ups — and the Biopark Charleroi Brussels South(2).

The Commission supports universities to become more entrepreneurial by involving external stakeholders in their governance and promoting knowledge exchange with partner firms. 1 in 10 Erasmus trainees create their own business(3) and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) also fosters entrepreneurship of students. Supporting students and graduates to start their own business is only one aspect of an entrepreneurial university. The Commission, in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched HEInnovate(4), a tool to support universities in assessing and developing their entrepreneurial potential. The Commission has also been supporting intensive seminars to train university professors in the most advanced methods to teach entrepreneurship(5).

(1) www.exist.de
(2) http://www.biopark.be
(3) Erasmus Impact Study, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/library/study/2014/erasmus-impact_en.pdf
(4) www.heinnovate.eu
(5) Resulting projects like the European Entrepreneurship Colloquium (EEC) and the CONEEECT International Network of Universities are likely to have a durable impact on cross-European collaboration in this field. See: www.efer.eu/faculty-training/eec/ and www.coneeect.eu/
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