Entrepreneurship Education – in Youth Work and Non-formal Education

In the project EntreComp 360, we connect different stakeholders interested in active citizenship education and entrepreneurship education, for instance connecting them in the EntreComp Community and with guides. The latter are intended to stimulate the use of the European competence framework EntreComp for an innovative pedagogy of creative action. The focus of this guide is youth education, youth work and non-formal education.

With many practical examples.

Created in the frame of the project EntreComp 360, coordinated by Haskoli Island, supported by the Europäischen Union. www.entrecomp360.eu

With contributions of Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe, Haskoli Island, Bantani Education, Consorzio Materahub Industrie Culturali e Creative, Innogate to Europe SL, The Women’s Organisation Ltd and Not a Bad Idea Ltd.

Editor: Nils-Eyk Zimmermann DARE network, Reykjavík/Brüssel, 2021

From the Introduction

In times of fundamental change proactivity and innovation are crucial for the further development of resilient democratic societies. Civil engagement and participation are important elements of active citizenship, a basic condition for an innovative and democratic Europe. The Council of Europe‘s Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education puts this at its core, ”equipping learners with knowledge, skills, understanding and developing their attitudes and behaviour“, and enabling these to “play an active part in democratic life” (Council of Europe).

Similarly, in the labour-market context new and sometimes disruptive developments require active responses. We are witnessing different economic crises that are affecting young people in particular. Overall, digital transformation is challenging workers and enterprises to think about how they do business, how they are governed and structured and how to upskill and to innovate. Young people need to find ways to be active citizens as well as finding their way into the labour market, as employees and entrepreneurs.

Education can help with the process of active (re)orientation by adopting a holistic, human-centred and systemic approach to learning. Tailor-made instead of one-size-fits-all. Empowering and enabling. Encouraging critical thinking and problem solving.

In the New Skills Agenda for Europe the EU Commission highlighted the importance of a competence-centred understanding of learning: “Formal education and training should equip everyone with a broad range of skills which opens doors to personal fulfillment and development, social inclusion, active citizenship and employment. These include literacy, numeracy, science and foreign languages, as well as transversal skills and key competences such as digital competences, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, problem solving or learning to learn, and financial literacy” (Eur. Commission: COM/2016/0381 final).

In line with the EU concept of Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (revised in 2018) the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework: EntreComp focuses on one area of these key areas. EntreComp recognises entrepreneurship to be the important process of creating value for others, thereby requiring a level of civil engagement as part of that process. The value created may be social, cultural or financial value creation. This is in contrast to the conventional view of entrepreneurship that focuses on economic gain. In EntreComp, “entrepreneurship“ encompasses the gain of economic literacy or an economic mindset (= classic economic education), and covers other kinds of social, cultural and economic activity intending to create a value or impact in the society. The EntreComp lens also recognises active cultural pedagogy and active citizenship education as being entrepreneurial (McCallum et al. 2018, p.13).

Entrepreneurship as a competence is defined as the capacity to act upon opportunities and ideas to create value for others. The value created can be social, cultural, or financial.

EntreComp also provides a solution to a common a problem across European education and learning in that often proactivity, engagement and entrepreneurship are perceived as self-evident consequences of knowledge-centred teaching. Despite declarations of intent, it can be challenging for educators and teachers to help learners to recognise their competences , to build on their strengths, and provide opportunities for experiential learning and building self-efficacy.

“By focusing on the development of competences through the actual creation of entrepreneurial value, the model breaks down the boundaries between education, work and civic engagement.”


The EntreComp framework is a reference that can help to create learning activities and environments that acknowledge, that “creation“ is starting with “creativity“ and that “co-creation“ is a fundamental condition for social, cultural or economic innovation.


Council of Europe: Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A New Skills Agenda for Europe – Working together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness COM/2016/0381 final

Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning (Text with EEA relevance.) ST/9009/2018/INIT OJ C 189, 4.6.2018, p. 1–13

Bacigalupo, M. & Kampylis, P. & Punie, Y. & Van den Brande, L.. (2016). EntreComp: The Entrepreneurship Competence Framework. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union; EUR 27939 EN. https://doi.org/10.2791/593884

McCallum E., Weicht R., McMullan L., Price A., EntreComp into Action: get inspired, make it happen (M. Bacigalupo & W. O’Keeffe Eds.) , EUR 29105 DE, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. ISBN 978-92-79-79360-8, https://doi.org/10.2760/574864 ; JRC109128;