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The quest of entrepreneurial youth in Europe
Europe needs more young people with an entrepreneurial mindset and skills able to turn creative ideas into innovations that make our society more liveable and sustainable. Nourishing entrepreneurial young people has been on the agenda of educational policy makers and institutions in the European Union for many years. But the addition of “Entrepreneurship” to traditional curricula and forms of teaching and learning has not generated convincing results (cf. the Eurydice report on “Entrepreneurship Education in Europe”, 2016).
A more engaging and practice-based approach is needed to equip young learners with the mindset and skills needed by innovative citizens. We suggests empowering young people through collaborative work on creative solutions for societal issues (e.g. United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals). This happens already in a growing number of makerspaces around Europe where like-minded people get together and work on innovative projects, using various digital and other productive tools. Some makerspaces have also been set up in pioneering schools.
We suggest setting up more makerspaces in schools as well as collaboration with existing makerspaces of FabLabs, universities, libraries, youth centres and other organisations. The makerspaces should enable young learners, together with teachers and other facilitators, to develop the creative and social skills needed by innovative citizens. The aim is to boost practice-based, engaging and meaningful learning for social entrepreneurship.
European research projects with programmes and materials for social innovation and entrepreneurial learning in makerspaces for young people, teachers and other facilitators have shown good results in the acquisition of competences relevant for a (social) innovator, for example increased creativity, self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intentions.
The Council of the European Union addresses practical entrepreneurial experiences in their Recommendation on Key competences for Lifelong Learning (2018/C 189/01, 22 May 2018). Under point 2.5 the Council requests that Member States should pay special attention to “nurturing entrepreneurship competence, creativity and the sense of initiative especially among young people, for example by promoting opportunities for young learners to undertake at least one practical entrepreneurial experience during their school education”.
We suggest: a social innovation experience for every young learner, with open learning material offered by various initiatives for girls and boys, 6 to 16 years old. Sign our petition to show that you wish more children around Europe experience being a creative young social innovator.