The role of entrepreneurship as an instrument to improve employability levels, promote competitiveness, growth and job creation as well as to achieve the goals set in Lisbon strategy is stressed (The Annual Growth Survey 2013). Despite various initiatives and programmes, it is emphasized that Europe is still lagging behind these goals. This is because of the lack of entrepreneurship mindset and skills of young people (European Commission, Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, Entrepreneurship and Higher Education, OECD 2008) which are put as key competence in the European Framework (The Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 key competences for lifelong learning).
The role of education in promoting more entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors and developing entrepreneurship competence is viewed as crucial. It is declared that entrepreneurship education can help foster an entrepreneurial and innovative culture in Europe by changing mindsets and providing the necessary skills. One of the key policy issue for Member States and higher education institutions is to stimulate the development of entrepreneurial, creative and innovation skills (European Commission, Supporting growth and jobs-an agenda for the modernization of Europe’s higher education system, 2011; Bologna process documents; Europa 2020). Developing entrepreneurial education and training is set among the three main pillars in Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. It is stated that investing in entrepreneurship education is one of the highest return investments Europe can make (European Commission, Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan). It is emphasized that young people who benefit from entrepreneurship learning, develop business knowledge and essential skills and attitudes including creativity, initiative, tenacity, teamwork, understanding of risk and sense of responsibility. Education for entrepreneurship makes a difference, as young people who go through entrepreneurial programmes and activities start more companies. Studies show that university students who had received entrepreneurship education founded businesses 0.7 years before graduation, while those without an education in entrepreneurship founded enterprises 2.8 years after graduation. Entrepreneurial skills are essential for independent, responsible life, self-development, positive thinking, future career paths and also significantly increases employability.
Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan declares that universities should become more entrepreneurial and invites Member states to ensure that entrepreneurship competence is embedded into curricula.
Pursuing this aim depends mostly on the competence and motivation of teachers and researchers (European Commission, Supporting growth and jobs-an agenda for the modernization of Europe’s higher education system, 2011). Surveys show (OECD Education at a Glance, 2012; European Commission, Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economics outcomes, 2012) that it is teaching that primarily influences student outcomes, enhances graduate employability and raises the profile of higher education institution. Research conducted by the European Foundation for Entrepreneurship Research as well as other mentioned documents states that teachers at higher education institutions across Europe lack knowledge, competences and experience for providing entrepreneurship education and developing students’ entrepreneurial skills (Entrepreneurship and Higher Education, OECD 2008). Most educators do not have a clear picture of entrepreneurial skills as well as lack entrepreneurship mindsets themselves and often relate entrepreneurship skills only with Economics and Business studies.
This highlights the need for developing entrepreneurial educators able to create the right learning experience for students.
The project is aimed to improve entrepreneurship education at universities and in such way to contribute to better quality of higher education and its’ potential to produce entrepreneurial graduates. The project focuses on promoting entrepreneurship education based on interdisciplinary, cross-curricula approach, relating entrepreneurial skills not only to business and/or economics studies but with other disciplines as well. These objectives will be pursued by developing a set of instruments that will support educators in deepening knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship and empowering them to incorporate entrepreneurship education into their curricula.