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Homepage > Training > Innovative Entrepreneurial Experiences at Schools

This module focuses on initiatives and training to stimulate entrepreneurship among students, suggesting ideas to train entrepreneurial teachers, presenting entrepreneurial projects carried out in schools and proposing methods to create a network and to find funds.

Innovative Entrepreneurial Experiences at Schools

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Chapter 5: Best practices
Examples of best practices initiated at the national level (in UE countries)
On the national level, we observe school initiatives as well as support programmes and educational tools developed by education authorities, universities, specialised associations and business alliances. Belgium (Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles)
In the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, the association “Les Jeunes entreprises (LJE)” (member of the JA-YE Europe network) aims to stimulate entrepreneurship among 8-25 year old people. It is based on the “learning by doing” method.

It consists in learning “in and through action”, putting experience at the centre of learning. Young people become actors of their project and have the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial competences such as team spirit, creativity, confidence, perseverance, sense of responsibilities, initiative or communication.

LJE develops programmes adapted to different education levels, such as:
  • “Notre Commune”: playful awareness of the world around me
  • “Junior achievement”: creation and management of a small-sized company in a few months during the school year
Other programmes are developed by:
  • “Step2You”
  • “Agence pour l’Entreprise et l’Innovation – AEI”
The following European initiatives are all described in the guide for educators

Spain (Catalonia)

“Projecte Emprenedors” (entrepreneurs project in secondary school). In Catalonia, entrepreneurial schools are a rather new concepts, the activity is fostered by teacher continuing training provided by the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education has a key role, in so far as it helps teachers share their experiences and educational material, in particular for those who provide this education for the first time.

Activity In concrete, once per trimester about ten teachers of different schools that propose entrepreneurship education meet at the Ministry of Education to discuss and share documents, experiences and ideas.
The documents help teachers guide students in projects focussed on the creation of an (imaginary) enterprise. For instance: “To launch an enterprise: to write a business plan”.
Lesson plans, lesson notes and sheets for students are provided, as well as information on key aspects of Catalan legislations, useful links, videos on the topic and examples of projects from the previous years.
The Ministry of Education also provides contact information of enterprises. It emphasises that it is useful for entrepreneurs who succeed to go to schools in order to motivate students at the beginning of the projects.
Al teachers share their experiences and discuss the results of entrepreneurship promotion in their schools.

Croatia (Slavonia)
The project of Matija Antun Reljković school located in Slavonski Brod in Slavonia.

This school located in a renowned agricultural region seeks to develop its students’ entrepreneurial competences, including their flexibility, their creativity and their taste of risk through the production of agricultural products.

Its aim is to create a school adapted to the needs of both the students and the local economy.

The key to his approach was the modernisation and diversification of the school infrastructures, with the help of European funds. The school now has the following infrastructures:
  • An orchard, vines and a vinification laboratory
  • A vegetable laboratory
  • A forest research laboratory
  • A veterinary laboratory
  • A chemistry laboratory.
These laboratories and gardens are now classrooms. Students practice among other “micro-propagation” (plant cloning), fruit culture or silviculture.

Besides, the school recently created a biotechnological development centre, which will be an excellent learning environment for students and will stimulate the Slavonski Brod economy in general.

Away from traditional teaching methods, the school has adopted project-based work, group, work and research work as well as practical training and workshops.

The school has relations with the employment service of the Brod-Posavina County, with the chambers of commerce, agriculture colleges and research and development institutes. The school also pays attention to the offer and demand of the local market.

The results are excellent.

Not only the number of graduates is important, but also the quality of production. Students cultivate, for instance, tomatoes and lavender, which they sell to the local community. This result is particularly positive because the Slavonski Brod region is famous for its agriculture.

Students acquire competences in many working methods (e.g. they are able to take and analyse blood samples). Some students have then university training, but what is most satisfying for the school is to witness the development of entrepreneurial competences and entrepreneurship in all students.

UPI project (“upi” means “hope” in Slovenian) is a series of workshop on creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation organised by the Chamber of crafts and small enterprises of Slovenia in primary schools.

The project was carried out in two phases.

The first technical phase was dedicated to preparing projects/programmes. The Chamber of crafts and small enterprises designed training programmes and brochures for mentors and other participating children.

During the second phase, workshops took place in schools. Every workshop was conducted by two mentors, one from the school, the other from the private sector. In every workshop, the pupils produced enterprise projects (such as plan and flower retail). The pupils thought about their enterprise organisation, their customers (particularly the family), marketing, unique selling points and potential risks (such as forgetting to water the plants). The different groups adopted creative and varied planning and advertising methods. For example, a group posted a short video of its enterprise project on YouTube, while another created a brochure that is now available online and at the National Library of Slovenia.

Following the workshops, regional events were organised where children could present their enterprise project.

The Chamber of crafts and small enterprises also organised a survey to identify the factors that prevented young people from becoming more creative or, on the contrary, those that encouraged them.

Generally speaking, the pupils drew attention to the following points:
  • Teachers do not use ICT sufficiently in class;
  • An increase use if ICT would make education more interesting;
  • The main factors influencing children’s creativity and innovation spirit are the environment, family, and the person’s personality.
It also observed that most schools participated in the workshops because they wanted to find new and interesting methods to make children participate actively.

Children from 31 primary schools participated in 87 workshops, during which they produced 84 enterprise projects.

  • The project helped create technical educational tools for mentors and to integrate a mentorship programme in the national programme
  • The project promoted several professions among primary school children. It developed their entrepreneurial spirit and ideas
  • Teachers became more acquainted with the use of ICT in their teaching methods, which made the lessons more interesting for the pupils.
The UPI project was the object of an in-depth review in the “Entrepreneurship Education: A road to success” (Case Study 6) research, presented in the introduction to the chapter.

United Kingdom
Manchester Academy is a school with 11 to 18 year-old students. It is located at the heart of a Manchester neighbourhood renowned for its gangs and arm and drug dealing. It receives an extremely diversified population, including many young refugees and asylum seekers.

This school specialised in trade and entrepreneurship aims to develop entrepreneurial qualities in students using different formal and informal learning contexts.

It is part of a larger organisation: United Learning-UL ( UL encourages entrepreneurship education in all schools appointing an enterprise coordinator in each one of them. UL also organises teacher training, good practice sharing and a common production of new programmes.

The teams of Manchester Academy make sure that employers’ and enterprises’ participation is integrated in the programme and the subjects. Indeed, the employers’ involvement is key to improve success.

A global and personalised professional training programme is proposed to all years: thus students make for themselves a portfolio of professional experiences from the seventh year (12 years old) to the eleventh (16 years old).

The school organises several entrepreneurial activities for students, such as:
  • Lessons focused on career, during which the following questions is asked to students: “Why is my discipline going to help me find a job?”
  • “Areas discovery week” to make students know the different activity sectors and their professions
  • Quizzes and competitions to make students discover different areas
  • A “skill scale” that shows students the necessary skills for one profession, as well as salaries
  • Cooperation with various local partner enterprises.

Success rate noticeably increased at Manchester Academy.

Once failing, the school is now considered as good by educational authorities. In this school with a mixed population (over 70 languages are spoken here), with many low-income families, 94 % of students have good marks for the General Certificate of Secondary Education, against 12 % previously.

The school emphasises several elements that have contributed to its success as an entrepreneurial school, including:
  • The efficiency of partnerships with local enterprises
  • Entrepreneurship education is not addressed like a separate subject, it is at the heart of the curriculum and imbedded in all subjects
  • Everybody, from the headmaster to the students, the teachers and even the catering staff, stick to the concept of entrepreneurial school

“Enterprises-schools” are simulations of real enterprises, with all the documentation, systems and processes used in a real company. The Bulgarian Centre of “enterprises-schools”, which is part of the Ministry of education, Youth and Sciences organises training for teachers. Its aim is to implement and manage an “Enterprises-schools” in every school.

The training is 30 % theory and 70 % practice, with activities such as brainstorming, group and team practical works, company simulations and debates.

Generally, this training leads to the formation of a team of teachers who can provide and promote entrepreneurship education in a school. After the training, every teacher knows the legal processes and creation and management practices of a company. Teachers also learn techniques to motivate students to participate in the “enterprise-school” course. They are able to apply new knowledge and skills to the disciplines they teach.

“Enterprises-schools” give students who do not have the possibility to acquire experience in a real company the opportunity to acquire first-hand experience in the creation of a small enterprise, in trade and in business. Students discover the work, learn how to manage a sale service/office, organise the staff, manage accounts and stocks and work with administrative systems. Thanks to the dynamic and realistic environments of an “enterprise-school”, students achieve many positive results: applying theory to practice, work team and communication and planning skills, entrepreneurship.

This programme achieves many successes:
  • It has a wide reach: in every school it is in contact with, it reaches between 10 and 20 teachers and between 500 and 1,500 students
  • It is durable: training sessions take place every year since 1999 and teacher continuing training is in development.
  • It has contributed to develop an “entrepreneurship education” mentality in many schools the creation of interdisciplinary pedagogical teams that guarantee the durability of entrepreneurship education and the learning environment.
  • It is based on many partnerships: the key to success is the cooperation between schools, government institutions and companies. This cooperation is made easier by the Bulgarian Network of “Enterprises-Schools”.
  • It gathers partner companies: they provide their expertise and advice to the Bulgarian centre of “Enterprises-schools”. They also do a follow-up and evaluation and participate directly in teacher training in schools.
Online Resources
  • Notre CommuneThis programme aims to make 3rd to 6th year primary school pupils discover, from an economic and social perspective, the responsibilities and opportunities offered by a municipality as well as the related duties. Five playful activities are proposed to pupils: discovering the various jobs at the municipality, the production process in a bakery, the new allocation of a store through collective choice the role of public service and the notion of taxes and money circulation.
  • Les Mini-entreprisesMini-entrepreneurs, upper secondary school students, will manage their project in team: thinking of a product or service, creating the product or service, figuring out its retail price, developing strategies, advertising, selling and making profits. They will develop skills occupying key positions in human resources, financial, technical, commercial sectors and cooperating to management, advertising, marketing, accountancy, and sales techniques. The process is supervised by a coordinator of the association “Les jeunes entreprises” (junior achievement) and volunteer advisors. Management tools, training sessions, a competition, international exchanges… are proposed to students to boost their mini-company. This “company programme” is described with more details in “Best practices developed at the international level”.
  • Step2YouSection of ICHEC (association with the same name as Brussels Management School), specialised in developing entrepreneurship among young people from ten years old ( Step2you offers teacher for free 3 initiatives with educational tools for them and their students: o “Cap'ten”: be your project captain ( o “Explor'ado”: explore your creativity ( o “Dream”: passion, the best job in the world (
  • Agence pour l’Entreprise et l’Innovation – AEI AEI informs young people and education stakeholders since 2007. ( -
  • Entrepreneurship education: a guide for educatorsContains a description of all the European initiatives mentioned in this paragraph. Entrepreneurship 2020 Unit, Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry European Commission, Brussels, 2013

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Comments on this section

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Date: 2016.08.03

Posted by S. Cabrerizo - Spain

The e-learning guide is very useful. Module 4, Innovative Entrepreneurial Experiences at Schools, provides easy examples for teachers.
The negative side is is that there is a lot of information in English, and sometimes it is difficult to follow it if you have an intermediate level of English. Moreover, as a suggestion, I think it could be a good idea to have it in a download version to print the most interesting parts.

Date: 2016.07.07

Posted by Didier Cahour - France

This module is a little bit complex and theoretical. Good practices at the end are relevant.

Date: 2016.07.06

Posted by Gabriela Vrabie - Romania

This module highlights a very important aspect of education: entrepreneurship education in schools, vocational schools and universities, which will definitely have a positive impact on entrepreneurial dynamism in our economies, on young people’s employability.
To this end it not only raises teachers and counsellors’ awareness about the benefits of enterprise projects but also provides them with invaluable tips on how to implement such enterprise projects at their own school. Teachers and counsellors will find practical advice on the necessary steps in creating an enterprise project at school, how an enterprise works or how to search for funds such as crowdfunding. The module also proposes teachers, educators or guidance counsellors a series of best practices to get inspired from.

Date: 2016.07.05

Posted by Martine Prignon (AEDE-EL) - Belgium

The choice of topics and the study of them provide a valuable source of information to teachers, trainers, counselors...
The best practices and online resources add a useful complement to theory, by presenting concrete examples of experiences, projects, exchanges between peers...

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.