Entrepreneurship Higher Education in Europe

State of the Art and Marketing Insights to Enhance the Attraction of Foreign Students

Textbook, 2012

140 Pages



1. Entrepreneurship Education within the European Union: Assessing the Current Offer at University Level
1.1 Introduction
1.2 The higher education sector in the European Union
1.3 International students studying in the European Union
1.3 Entrepreneurship education in the European Union
1.4 An analysis of the overall offer from undergraduate level through to PhD
1.4.1 Undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship
1.4.2 Postgraduate courses in entrepreneurship
1.4.3 PhD programmes in entrepreneurship
1.4.4 Professional courses in entrepreneurship
1.4.5 Entrepreneurial leadership courses
1.4.6 Student’s extra-curricula activities
1.4.7 Entrepreneurial research centres
1.4.8 Entrepreneurial incubators
1.4.9 Industrial liaison offices
1.4.10 Spin-off companies
1.4.11 Patents and licenses

2. Entrepreneurship Education within the European Union: Excellence Cases, Shortages and Opportunities
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Excellence cases in the entrepreneurship education offer
2.2.1 Examples of excellence cases in the curricula education activities
2.2.2 Examples of excellence cases in the extra-curricula activities
2.2.3 Examples of excellence cases among the incubators
2.3 Excellence cases in the distance learning offer
2.4 Main limitations and shortages in the entrepreneurship education offer within the European Union
2.5 Key factors to improve entrepreneurship education within the European Union
2.6 SWOT Analysis of the entrepreneurship education offer within the European Union
2.6.1 Strengths of the European entrepreneurship education offer
2.6.2 Weaknesses of the European entrepreneurship education offer
2.6.3 Opportunities for the European entrepreneurship education offer
2.6.4 Threats for the European entrepreneurship education offer

3. Attractiveness of European Offer of Entrepreneurship Education: Assessing Foreign Students’ Perceptions
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Key findings from the survey in India
3.2.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.2.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.2.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.2.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad
3.3 Key findings from the survey in China
3.3.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.3.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.3.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.3.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad
3.4 Key findings from the survey in Russia
3.4.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.4.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.4.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.4.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad
3.5 Key findings from the survey in Brazil
3.5.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.5.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.5.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.5.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad
3.6 Key findings from the survey in Argentina
3.6.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.6.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.6.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.6.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad
3.7 Key findings from the survey in Singapore
3.7.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.7.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.7.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.7.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad
3.8 Key findings from the survey in Turkey
3.8.1 Interest in studying abroad
3.8.2 Destinations preferred for studying abroad
3.8.3 Knowledge of European languages and constraints against studying at EU institutions
3.8.4 Interest in entrepreneurship education abroad

4. Attractiveness of European Offer of Entrepreneurship Education: a Comparative Perspective across Seven Countries
4.1 Introduction
4.2 A comparative assessment of the findings in the seven countries
4.2.1 Interest in studying abroad and perceptions about Europe as a destination
4.2.2 Interest in studying entrepreneurship abroad and perceptions about Europe in this field of education
4.3 Attractiveness of European entrepreneurship education: final comments

5. Marketing Insights to Enhance the Attractiveness of European Offer of Entrepreneurship Higher Education
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Defining European portfolio in entrepreneurship higher education
5.3 Emerging segments in foreign countries for European entrepreneurship education
5.4 Identification of market opportunities in order to develop attractive educational product
5.5 Conclusions and marketing implications


Authors’ biographies


The ENDEAVOUR Partner Universities


Europe aspires to increase its share of the international students market, in which the number of internationally mobile students is predicted to rise to 7.2 million by 2025 (EUA, 2007). The share of such market is, at the moment, quite low for European countries, above all because they are not very known as a study destination among non-European students. Therefore, major steps are being taken to make Europe an attractive destination for foreign students willing to increase their competencies and skills. They include the creation of a comparable structure of study courses; the mutual recognition of diplomas; the assessment of academic institutions and programs based on common quality standards; the granting of financial incentives for geographical mobility of students and staff; and, more recently, the adoption of a strategic marketing approach. Significant efforts are, in fact, aimed to create a clear European “identity” in higher education, by improving the availability and accessibility of information about studying in Europe and by enhancing the attractiveness, profile, visibility and image of European higher education institutions worldwide. Coherently with the Lisbon Strategy – whose aim was to make the European Union «the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion» by 2010 – a great emphasis has been given to the promotion of the European Union as an educational destination and a centre of excellence at world level. In particular, within the Erasmus Mundus Programme several projects have been financed with the aim of promoting and rising awareness of the European higher education sector. Furthermore, within the Erasmus Mundus Global Promotion Project (GPP), a European brand – “Study in Europe” – has been built upon perceived strengths and with the aim to overcome negative perceptions; a web portal has been developed; many events to promote European higher education have been organised around the world; a media campaign and information materials (brochure, flyer, posters, DVD in seven languages) have been arranged.

Our attention is focused on entrepreneurship education within the European countries, assessing the actual offer at university level and its potential to attract extra-European students. In fact, among the different educational fields that are emerging as most attractive to young and talented students, Europe is investing heavily on entrepreneurship. Nowadays there is wide acceptance of the centrality of entrepreneurship education and, thus, there are important efforts to support the development of entrepreneurship education at university level through government initiatives in many countries. This is due to the recognition of the possibility: on one side, to influence students aspiration towards entrepreneurship through education – and particularly higher education; on the other side, to design policies and programmes in order to raise intentions towards entrepreneurial action and impact upon the conversion of these intentions into action (Clark, 2004; Gibb, 2005; Fayolle 2007; Napolitano and Riviezzo, 2008). Entrepreneurship education aims to promote creativity, innovation, problem-solving and self-employment, developing personal attributes and skills that are at the heart of entrepreneurial mind-set. In this way, the benefits of entrepreneurship education are not just about start-ups and job creation but are extended to daily life, as students become more confident in what they do. As noted by Gibb (2005), entrepreneurship, viewed as a way to deal with a rising uncertainty and complexity, has «major implications for the way in which education prepare individuals for a life involving frequent occupational, job and contract status change, global mobility, adaptation to different cultures and greater probability of self employment». This scenario translates into a need to provide individuals with (Gibb, 2005) «personal entrepreneurial capacities but also with the capability to design organisations of all kinds […] in order to support effective entrepreneurial behaviour».

Promoting entrepreneurial spirit is therefore a key issue for universities that, over the last decades, have been clearly perceived as more than higher education and research institutions. A third mission, contributing directly to social and economic development, has been recognised to knowledge-producing organizations. University is nowadays required to operate as «an economic actor on its own right» (Etzkowitz, 1998), through the capitalisation of its knowledge and the encouragement of entrepreneurship. As noted in a recent European Commission Communication (2006) «universities and technical institutes should integrate entrepreneurship as an important part of the curriculum, spread across different subjects, and require or encourage students to take entrepreneurship courses, combining entrepreneurial mind-sets and competence with excellence in scientific and technical studies». The need to support the expansion of entrepreneurship education at university level is, in fact, particularly high in Europe, where, as noted in many studies, the entrepreneurial activity is lacking behind when compared with United States or Canada. That’s why in most European countries today there is a significant policy commitment towards entrepreneurship education. The European Commission itself has taken a number of initiatives in this direction, starting from the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, that emphasised the role of education as a policy instrument for economic growth and helped strengthen a growing recognition within higher-education institutions in Europe that they can play a central part in promoting entrepreneurial mind-sets and actual entrepreneurship; it is also possible to remind the Green Paper “Entrepreneurship in Europe”, published in 2003, and its follow-up the “Entrepreneurship Action Plan”, published in 2004, that offer a strategic framework for strengthening entrepreneurship education; and, finally, the “Oslo Agenda for Entrepreneurship Education in Europe”, published in 2006, that present many proposals, from which stakeholders can pick actions at the appropriate level, and adapt them to the local situation.

As a result of such policy commitment, the diffusion of entrepreneurship education among Europe has been growing fast over the last years (Blais, 1997; Duke, 1996; Gartner and Vesper, 1994; McMullan and Vesper, 1987; Vesper, 1985, 1993; Vesper and Gartner, 1997, 1999; Vesper and McMullan,1988; Klofsten and Jones Evans, 2000; Ranga, et al., 2003; Jacob et al., 2003; Schulte; 2004; Guerrero Cano and Urbano Pulido, 2007; Wilson, 2006; Napolitano and Riviezzo, 2008; Riviezzo and Napolitano, 2010) and entrepreneurship is supposed to become a major academic discipline in Europe (Volkman, 2004). Entrepreneurship, as a relative “recent” and potentially high attractive field of study, could therefore represent a strategic subject to enhance the attractiveness of European higher education, especially towards those students coming from countries where entrepreneurship education is less developed and that could choose Europe instead of other countries with more tradition in such field as, for instance, United States or Canada.

Starting from the above considerations, this book aims: a) to present an extensive picture of entrepreneurship higher education in Europe; b) to analyse perceptions and intentions of potential target groups (i.e. foreign students); c) to design a suitable marketing strategy to improve the European entrepreneurship higher education offer and its share in the international students market, as a result of the previous analyses. To this aims, two different surveys have been managed.

On one side, primary data have been collected on the presence of entrepreneurship education activities – from the undergraduate to the post-graduate courses – within the universities of all the 27 European Union member States. The main findings of this survey are presented in the first chapter of the book. Comments and implications of the findings are discussed in the second chapter, where we emphasize some excellence cases in the European higher education offer, beside the main shortages and weaknesses.

On the other side, the real interest in pursuing some educational activities in Europe, especially related to entrepreneurship, has been assessed among students from extra-European universities. In particular, the same questionnaire has been submitted to a sample of students at higher education level in India, Singapore, China, Russia, Argentina, Brazil and Turkey. The main findings of these surveys in the different countries are presented in the third chapter of the book. Comparative analyses and general comments across the seven countries are discussed in the fourth chapter.

Finally, as a result of the two surveys, a strategic marketing framework has been developed through the definition of products and segments (i.e. “product portfolio” of the European education offer and “emerging segments” in third countries) and the identification of market opportunities in order to define attractive educational products. The developed marketing framework is presented and examined in the fifth and last chapter of the book.

The results discussed in this book are a significant part of the research activity carried out within the project “ENDEAVOUR: Entrepreneurial Development as a Vehicle to Promote European Higher Education”, co-financed by the Erasmus Mundus Programme in 2006.

About the Erasmus Mundus Programme

Erasmus Mundus is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and to promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through cooperation with extra-European countries. In addition, it contributes to the promotion of the European Union as a centre of excellence in learning around the world.

Within the new phase of the Erasmus Mundus Programme (2009-2013) (Decision N° 1298/2008/EC), it provides support to: higher education institutions that wish to implement joint programmes at postgraduate level (Action 1) or to set-up inter-institutional cooperation partnerships between universities from Europe and targeted extra-European countries (Action 2); individual students, researchers and university staff who wish to spend a study / research / teaching period in the context of one of the above mentioned joint programmes or cooperation partnerships (Action 1 and Action 2); a ny organization active in the field of higher education that wishes to develop projects aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of European higher education worldwide (Action 3).

The ENDEAVOUR project was selected and financed within the first phase of the Erasmus Mundus Programme (2004-2008), under Action 4 (Enhancing Attractiveness). The new phase of the Erasmus Mundus Programme (2009-2013) continues and extends the scope of the activities already launched during the first phase. It now includes the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window scheme, which was launched in 2006 as a complement to the original Programme. In addition, the Programme integrates cooperation activities with Industrialized Countries. As mentioned before, the new phase of the Erasmus Mundus Programme consists of three actions instead of the four first planned. The projects aiming at promoting European higher education worldwide are now financed under Action 3.

About the ENDEAVOUR project

The three-years ENDEAVOUR project aimed to increase the interest in the European Union universities as an educational destination of choice, especially for academically talented students interested in studying entrepreneurship. Secondary objective was to increase competitiveness and to promote quality offer of the European entrepreneurship higher education through improved accessibility and structured co-operation between the European and third-country institutions, implemented by means of the creation of a suitable network. The three-years project was leaded by the University of Sannio of Benevento (Italy) and involved 17 partners Institutions – representing 7 different European countries and 6 extra-European countries – with a comprehensive set of competencies, experiences and know-how.

The consortium promoting the ENDEAVOUR project was composed by: Università del Sannio (Italy), project leader; Tartu Ülikool (Estonia); Universidad de Sevilla (Spain); Université Paris Dauphine (France); National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece); Seconda Università di Napoli (Italy); Università Carlo Cattaneo (Italy); Università di Salerno (Italy); Helsinki Business School (Finland); University of Bedfordshire (UK); Marmara Üniversitesi (Turkey); Petrozavodsk State University (Russia); Lobachevski State University of Nizhni Novgorod (Russia); Universidad de Congreso de Mendoza (Argentina); Facultade de Tecnologia Ciéncia e Educacào (Brasil); Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (India); School of Economics and Management - Tsinghua University (China); Kunming University of Science and Technology (China).

More details about the ENDEAVOUR project and the partner universities are presented at the end of the book.


In conclusion of this introduction, we wish to express our real gratitude to all the colleagues involved in the ENDEAVOUR project. Their contribute to the results on which this book is based has been needful and valuable. Furthermore, the chance we had to work for three years within the multicultural and stimulating environment that they provided has been particularly inspiring for us.

We are particularly grateful to: Paula Kyro; Spyros Vliamos; Mohammad Roomi and Carmel McGowan; Catherine Leger-Jarniou and Georges Kaloussis; Tonis Metz; Francisco Linan, Josè Fernandez and Juan Antonio Martinez; Roberto Parente and Rosangela Feola; Davide Dell’Anno; Francesco Bollazzi and Anna Gervasoni; Mathew Manimala and Tripti Singh; Wen Shuhui, Duan Wanchun and Deng Gang; Fernando Pinciroli; Oksana Prokhorova and Alexander Gorylev; Monica Valeria Marquezini; Bahar Sennaroglu and Ismail Peker.

A special acknowledgement and credit is for Eugenio Corti, project manager and originator of the ENDEAVOUR project, who is for all of us not only a valid and valued colleague, but above all a real friend.

1. Entrepreneurship Education within the European Union: Assessing the Current Offer at University Level

1.1 Introduction

The main aim of this chapter is to present a detailed picture of entrepreneurship education in the European Union at higher education level. Particularly, it is aimed to provide an overview about the entrepreneurship education offer in all the European Union countries, from the undergraduate level to the post-graduate level.

To this aim, a structured questionnaire has been used to collect information about the presence of entrepreneurship education activities within the universities of all the 27 European Union Member States. This analysis has been conducted according to a “work schedule” attributing each one of the ENDEAVOUR project partners from Europe the responsibility for specific countries. A special mention is for Professor Mohammad Roomi and Carmel McGowan, from the University of Bedfordshire, who coordinated the collection of the data in the different European countries.

Primary data have been collected through website search and/or telephone/mail interviews using the same questionnaire in each country. The various researchers had a list of sixteen questions, divided into four sections: 1) number of students; 2) entrepreneurship education; 3) entrepreneurship extra-curricular activities; 4) entrepreneurial results (patents, licences, spin-offs). All four sections included closed ended questions. In order to make up for some lack of information (especially for some countries), secondary data were considered as well. Telephone interviews were used to clarify questions and to gain a better perception on their entrepreneurial culture. The same contact method was also used to aid the quantitative data in order to see why best practices were occurring in particular universities and higher education institutions within the European Union. The analysis also aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of what these particular institutions were doing differently compared to others, and of what could be learnt from them. Finally, in order to improve the overall quality of data collected and to make up for some lack of information (e.g. for those countries where some information have not been collected neither through the web sites nor through direct contacts by telephone/email) secondary data (mainly from institutional sources, like previous European Union Reports, National Education Minister Reports, etc.) have been considered.

Since the overall objective was to gain a realistic overview of the entrepreneurship education offer, we focused our attention only on courses aiming to create and stimulate entrepreneurial mind-sets – that’s to say «the willingness and capacity to turn ideas into practice, supported by the necessary skills» (European Commission, 2008a). Therefore, general economic or business courses that do not include this specific element were not considered in any country.

The sample size included all the 27 European Union Member States. Anyway, in reason of the shortage of data no statistical conclusions are possible. In fact, it’s worth to consider the limitations of this study. The main limitations are related to the following issues that it is worth to be considered: some information were not provided in English; information on websites change daily; information could have been missed or misinterpreted by any of the researchers within any of the European Union countries; not all the European partners provided quantitative data (therefore, for some countries just qualitative information were considered); some European partners did not provide any information, therefore, some the analysis was based on other sources (previous EU Reports, National Education Minister Reports, etc.); individual universities contained limited information on entrepreneurship education on their website and it was not possible to reach them via telephone/mail.

Furthermore, it is worth to consider that the figures and data presented here have been collected in 2008 and, therefore, it must be taken into account that the situation may have changed in some countries in recent years.

1. 2 The higher education sector in the European Union

Universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the European Union (EU) today vary immensely both from one country to another and in terms of the number of and kind of programmes they offer to students; this is primarily due to the size of the universities/HEIs and to their area of specialisation. Our analysis included all the institutions that offer education on a bachelor level or above. This has been the definition used to ensure that the institutions were comparable, in an educational field with great variation across the 27 countries. However no comparison can be made among different countries due to a number of reasons:

- Not all countries are the same size.
- Population in each country differ from one to another.
- Higher education may be looked upon differently from one country to another.
- Size of the actual university/Higher Education Institutions.

In order to present a picture of entrepreneurship education in EU as comprehensive as possible, firstly we tried to identify all the universities and HEIs present in the 27 EU countries. In doing that, we used mainly the information from the Project team members, but to remedy any missing information we also collected secondary data: in particular, we used a recent OECD Report on Tertiary Education[1] and other institutional Reports[2]. Of course we cannot guarantee that every single HEI has been identified, but our efforts went in that direction.

The following table (Table 1.1) shows the detailed number of universities and other HEIs present in each one of the 27 EU Member States, providing the distinction between universities and different typology of HEIs recognized at national level.

Table 1.1 – Universities and HEIs within the EU Member States

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The Higher Education Institutions – other than universities – differ from one country to others; thereby a short description of some of the national systems of Higher Education is provided in the following.

Again, the main sources of the information provided are, beside those from the Project team members, secondary data – above all the OECD Report on Tertiary Education (OECD, 2008).


The higher education system of Austrian consists of university and non-university institutions. The Austrian post-secondary university level sector consists of: public universities (Universitäten), maintained by the state; university of applied sciences degree programmes (Fachhochschul-Studiengänge) incorporated upon the basis of private or public law and subsidised by the state, with state accreditation; private universities (Privatuniversitäten), operated by private organisations with state accreditation; university colleges of education (Pädagogische Hochschulen) maintained by the state or operated by private organisations with state accreditation; universities of philosophy and theology (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschulen), operated by the Roman Catholic Church. The non-university post-secondary sector (außeruniversitärer postsekundärer Sektor) consists of academies for midwifery, clinical technical academies, military academies, the school of international studies, certain training institutions for psychotherapists, conservatories, certain business schools. Actually there are 69 post-secondary university organizations. In particular there are (Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Study in Austria, 2008/2009): 22 Public Universities, 20 Universities of Applied Sciences, 11 Private Universities, 16 University college of teacher education.


In Belgium the Hogescholen provide a more professionally orientated education. Courses are therefore practice-oriented and include periods of work placement. Education at Hogescholen has two forms: a short and a long one. One-cycle programs have been converted to the level of bachelor’s degree. Professional bachelor degrees give access to some master programmes after a “bridging course”. Since 1991, Hogescholen provide academic bachelor and master courses in association with universities. The Hogescholen/university board specifies which master degrees give access to the following specialised and advanced master programmes: Health and Welfare, Education, Humanities and Arts, Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction, Social Sciences, Business and Law, Services, Agriculture.

Czech Republic

The 2 public Higher education institutions (other than universities) are not university type institutions. They offer mostly Bachelor degree programmes; they can also offer Master degree programmes but they are not allowed to offer Doctoral degree programmes.

The 41 private HEIs were expected to meet the demand for fields of study in areas in which public tertiary education was under-represented.


The Professional Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs) are highly specialised. They offer professional higher education programmes with a length of 4 years. For graduate students it is possible to continue their studies at the Master’s level. During last years some of them have been granted the authority to provide master programmes on their own (with the cooperation with universities).

Based on the Higher Education Strategy for 2006-2015 higher education provision in Estonia is mostly limited to universities and professional higher education institutions. Almost all VET (Vocational Education and Training) institutions that provided tertiary education programs have been since mid 90 – after the accreditation procedures – upgraded into professional higher education institutions (during 2004-2007). Based on strategy document there is an expectation that tertiary provision in VET schools will remain a very limited in its size and only in regions.


The higher education sector in Finland consists of 21 Science Universities and 26 Polytechnics. The number of students is 176.061, which is very high compared to its 5,3 million inhabitants. In 2004 2.7% of students came from abroad (Europe 59%, Asia 28%, Africa 6%, North America 4%, Latin America 3%, Oceania 1%). The increase of student during last decade (1995-2005) was 31%. The structure of the degrees follows the Bologna process. At a moment there is a process going on for restructuring science universities and several merges are planned to take place in near future. For instance, in 2009 it was created the new Aalto University as result of the merging between Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and University of Art and Design.


The higher education sector in France consists of 83 universities (public sector, depend on ministry of education); 224 engineering schools (public sector, depend on their own ministry: industry, agriculture, space etc.); 228 commercial, management and sales schools (private sector, depend on the chambers of commerce or totally private); 170 “grands établissements” (special French institutions for top higher level, mostly public sector); and 102 university institutes of technology (IUT, public sector, same as universities). Other specialities are depending on their ministry (art and culture, for example). A total of 69% of the students go to universities (included IUT), which offer research and professional programmes at all levels. PhD programs can be only delivered by universities. Private schools offer only professional oriented programmes.

The French higher education system also includes about 170 institutions called “Grandes Ecoles”, providing training in engineering, management and other specialities. Some Grandes Ecoles are financially autonomous, but most of them get direct and indirect public financing, for example from Chambers of Commerce and Industry or directly from one French ministry (Industry or Agriculture, for example).


In Germany besides the 102 Universities, there are 167 Fachhochschulen (FHs). Their official English translation is “University of Applied Sciences”. This name mirrors exactly what Fachhochschulen are actually about: they stand for great practical relevance and focus with strong ties to applications in the working world. Those who study at a Fachhochschule have a better preparation than traditional university students for positions and assignments in specific industries and work fields. So the FHs above all offer degree programmes in the field of technology, business and management, social studies, media and design. On the other hand, those interested in studying for a degree in medicine, in education (school teachers) or law will not be able to study these fields at a Fachhochschule. The strong applied or practical focus of the Fachhochschulen is also reflected in the profile of their lecturers and professors. Many of them have already gained career experience in industry, business or social work. This know-how qualifies and enables them to provide students with insights into the processes, working methods and expectations of companies or social and cultural institutions. Compulsory study internships (as a rule students are required to complete one or two practical semesters) round off the transfer of this knowledge and practice to students.


Beside the 23 Universities, there are 16 Technological Institutes in Greece. The aim of the Technological sector is its participation in the overall development of scientific, applied and technological knowledge by educating students who will acquire the necessary skills to succeed in their professional life.

The Technological sector of higher education includes Technological Education Institutes and the Higher School for Teachers of Technological Education. The Technological Education Institutes are governed by Public Law and are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. They are self-administered legal entities. They are supervised and subsidised by the state. The internal regulations in each institution determine the internal structure, the organisation, the operation of the Institutes' administrative, financial and technical services as well as the procedures and requirements for employing staff. Studies at TEI have a practical focus. However, background theoretical courses are always included to enable students to adapt to the ever-changing conditions in the labour market and in society.


A public university-type higher education institution shall be established and liquidated, change its name and merge with another public higher education institution by an Act of Parliament. A university-type institution is a Higher Education Institution in which at least one organisational unit is authorised to confer the doctoral degree. The new Law of 2005 distinguishes universities, technical universities, academies and other types of TEIs based on the number of academic areas in which TEI units are authorised to award the doctoral degree. The collective boards of a public higher education institution shall be the senate and boards of basic organisational units. The single-person authorities of a higher education institution shall be the rector and heads of basic organisational units.

A public non-university HEI can provide first and second-cycle programmes, but none of its organisational units is authorised to award the doctoral degree. The state higher vocational schools are established and abolished by the Council of Ministers through a regulation upon a request by the minister of higher education or by a regional self-government upon the minister's approval. The request has to be evaluated by the State Accreditation Commission.

Non-public University-type HEIs and non-university HEIs: the establishment of a non-public higher education institution and the authorisation to provide degree programmes in a given field and at a given level of study for that institution shall require a permit from the minister responsible for higher education. According to the 2005 Law on Higher Education the collective bodies of a non-public higher education institution shall be specified in its statutes. The statutes of a non-public higher education institution may provide for another single-person authority in addition to the rector. To become the rector of a non-public TEI, a person should hold at least the doctoral degree. Statutes of non-public HEIs require ministerial approval.


There is a large number of higher education institutions in Portugal. Universities represent a relatively smaller fraction, with 14 public universities and 34 university-level institutions in the private sector. Polytechnics are more limited in scope. They are vocationally or professionally oriented and do not carry out fundamental research as do the universities. Only applied research is conducted at the polytechnics. Polytechnics mission is, mainly, to train students to be successful professionals in their working place. There are 15 of these public polytechnics and 66 private ones. In general, private institutions are smaller and with a more specialized focus. However, a substantial part of private institutions are very specialized and cannot be fully considered polytechnics.

The total number of university students in the academic year 2006/2007 was 366.729 (including doctoral students). Recent and projected downturn in enrolments has led to a marked imbalance between supply and demand for HE study programmes. The result is enhanced competition across the Higher Education system and has increased the need both for a more effective means of assuring academic standards as well as for more effective institutional management and governance. Entrepreneurship may be one instrument to compete.


Beside 4 Universities, there is in Slovenia the relevant presence of the GEA College and the International Executive Development Centre. GEA College is a joint institution set up by several institutional shareholders and entrepreneurial individuals, opened offering specialist entrepreneurial training. GEA College has developed a series of standard basic and upgraded programmes for entrepreneurs, rigorous entrepreneurial programmes for functional areas of SMEs and for SME consultants, developed a broad network of consultants drawn from experts and successful entrepreneurs and founded the first private higher education institution for entrepreneurship studies (the GEA College of Entrepreneurship in Portorož). International Executive Development Centre promote modern management training and runs an MBA programme taught by world experts in the field of management.


The Spanish university system consists of a total of 74 universities. They offer degrees, masters and doctoral programmes that are officially recognized. Apart from them, there are a number of executive education institutions. Some of them are very well-known, such as Instituto de Empresa (IE), Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) or Escuela Superior de Administración de Empresas (ESADE). Although they do not offer officially-recognized degrees, they are sometimes linked to one (usually private) university.

The majority of academic institutions (50) are public universities, whereas the remaining 24 are private ones. These latter institutions are normally notably smaller and more specialized. Thus, despite being one-third of the total number of universities, they only represent 10% of students. Although some of these private universities are relatively old (most commonly catholic ones), the great majority are very recent.

The Netherlands

Research activities are traditionally conducted in universities. PhD students are hired by universities. In recent years, some networks and partnerships between universities and Hogescholen were established. All researchers are trained by universities.

The Hogescholen (Hoger Beroeps Onderwijs - Universities of Applied Science) mainly provide professional higher education and focus on bachelors degrees. In the HBO sector, both the institutes and employers are concerned about the relations between the content of programs and the demands of the labour market. Hogescholen students spend about 1/4 of their time in practical training. A new initiative is in favour of introducing short courses leading to associate degrees in Hogescholen. Research emphasis: there is a new trend for Hogescholen to conduct practice based research. To this purpose, they have appointed lectors, whose main purpose is to create “knowledge circles” with relevant organisations like companies and organisations in the field.

The Academic medical centres have the task of providing a large number of doctors and specialists as well as renewing the system of higher education for health care.

United Kingdom

All institutions have a high degree of autonomy in terms, for example, of institutional mission, appointments of staff, admission of students and curriculum offered. TEIs (Tertiary Education Institutions) carry out the same core activities but to differing degrees. For example they may be research-intensive, or teaching-intensive. Universities conduct fundamental as well as applied research activities. Higher Education Colleges may pursue applied research and consultancy. One university, the Open University, is specialised in providing distance courses. Former polytechnics have retained a vocational emphasis in their academic programmes. In 2005, the criteria have been changed to allow universities without research degrees awarding powers (except in Scotland and Ireland). Degrees and other qualifications offered by HE Colleges have to be validated by external bodies such as a university or a national accrediting institution in most cases. Some of them have the power to award their own degrees and qualifications. These degree-awarding powers are normally restricted to first degrees and taught (not research) master’s degrees.

1.3 International students studying in the European Union

Another preliminary step of our survey has been the analysis of the percentage of international students enrolled in the EU universities. The collection of precise information has been difficult as we were only able to get data from some of the project team members. These data, illustrated in Figure 1.1, clearly demonstrate that international students signify only a small fraction of students studying in various countries.

The highest percentage of international students today can be found in the UK with 15%, followed closely by Ireland with 13%, France with 12% and all the remaining countries that contributed data with less than 10%.

Figure 1.1 - Percentage of International Students in some EU countries

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All countries surveyed had supporting mechanisms in order to attract international students, with the most consistent being: student accommodation, international office, language support, international student advisers and orientation programmes. Whereas, some universities and Higher Education Institutions had additional support facilitates which included the following: personal tutors for international students, international student handbook, social programmes, drop in sessions, international society, weekly activities for international students.

1.3 Entrepreneurship education in the European Union

Entrepreneurship education is a recent phenomenon compared with many other academic subjects. However, entrepreneurship higher education throughout Europe over the recent years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of students taking entrepreneurship related courses (Blais, 1997; Duke, 1996; Gartner and Vesper, 1994; McMullan and Vesper, 1987; Vesper, 1985, 1993; Vesper and Gartner, 1997, 1999; Vesper and McMullan,1988; Klofsten and Jones Evans, 2000; Ranga, et al., 2003; Jacob et al., 2003; Schulte; 2004; Guerrero Cano and Urbano Pulido, 2007; Wilson, 2006; Napolitano and Riviezzo, 2008; Riviezzo and Napolitano, 2010) and this number is expected to continue to grow over time and become an major academic discipline for education in the EU (Volkman, 2004).

Currently not all EU Member States are exploiting their entrepreneurial potential by teaching and encouraging innovation and creativity at university level. There are, however, many entrepreneurship related courses offered by most EU Member States (European Commission, 2000, 2008a, 2008b). However, there is still a strong need to promote entrepreneurship education more systematically throughout the EU.

There seems to be a general recognition of the importance of including two different elements or concepts within the definition of entrepreneurship teaching: a broader concept of education for entrepreneurial attitudes and skills, which involves developing certain personal qualities and is not directly focused on the creation of new businesses; and, a more specific concept of training in how to create a business.

The objectives of entrepreneurship education - to be adapted to the different levels of programmes - will therefore include (European Commission, 2004):

- promoting the development of personal qualities that are relevant to entrepreneurship, such as creativity, spirit of initiative, risk-taking and responsibility;
- raising students awareness of self-employment as a career option (the message being that you can become not only an employee, but also an entrepreneur).

After the above initiatives of EU, however, not all young people are exposed or have the chance to learn entrepreneurship, because of the number of obstacles and barriers that are hindering this process (OSLO, 2006).

The majority of all EU universities/Higher Education Institutions that have taken part in this study tend to be public (meaning, they are supported by the Government). However, there are a number of private institutions as well spread out across the EU countries, although private universities and Higher Education Institutions tend to be much smaller in size as well as being more specialised in a particular area than public universities/Higher Education Institutions.

The temperament of higher education across the EU Member States in general has undergone a dramatic change over the past 30 years with an increasing number of students deciding to attend higher education programs. Far more students today see higher education as an essential part of their long-term career plans.

An overview of the diffusion of entrepreneurship courses and other training activities and, more generally, of entrepreneurial culture inside the universities/Higher Education Institutions of all the 27 EU Member States is provided below. The synthetic overview for each country has been elaborated based both on the data and figures collected by the ENDEAVOUR Project Team and on available reports with similar aims. In particular, we considered with great attention recent surveys and analyses carried out from the European Commission in order to check the significance of the diffusion of the entrepreneurship education[3]. Our results were in such a way compared to the evidences from these other studies and confirmed if necessary. For some countries we were able to collect just qualitative information; for the other we were able to gather qualitative and quantitative information as well.


Austria over the past decade has gradually increased the support to students and alumni wishing to pursue entrepreneurship. This support has taken a number of years to reach this stage due to the autonomy on which Austrian universities and Higher Education Institutions are governed. Currently, there are 25% of entrepreneurship courses offered in Austria and the 8% of them provide student’s extra-curricula activities. Five entrepreneurial incubators have been created by varies Universities. It is therefore very clear that Austria has come a long way in terms of entrepreneurship but still has a long way to go compared to other EU countries. However, the last decade has seen a steady rise in entrepreneurial support for students and alumni. Technical Universities and faculties have begun to run optional entrepreneurship courses as well as interdisciplinary courses. The Alumni society of the University of Vienna and the Technical University of Vienna offer a series of workshops for potential new entrepreneurs (UNIUN-Programme). Within the Academia to Business Programme, business incubators have been set up to support potential High-Tech founders from universities and universities of applied science. The University of Fine Arts in Linz also offers an entrepreneurship course as an optional subject in cooperation with the entrepreneurship chair of the University of Linz. However, the question whether entrepreneurship should be a compulsory course within curricula is still under discussion.


Generally speaking, there is a lack of entrepreneurship courses and teaching for non-business students in higher education. Entrepreneurship is still mostly taught within economic studies, and to some extent engineering studies. As noted in the European Commission Reports on Entrepreneurship in Higher Education (2008), a notable initiative is an introductory course on entrepreneurship, which is organised by all universities and aims to raise awareness of entrepreneurship and self-employment. It is addressed to graduate students from all sections (business and non-business) and to researchers. The initiative has met with mild interest. Many deans of “hard-science faculties” have not included it in their programmes.


In Bulgaria only the national curriculum for vocational secondary schools includes entrepreneurship as a subject, while this is not the case for general education. Information on other initiatives are not available.


Cyprus in terms of entrepreneurship is weak; none of the Universities or Higher Education Institutions within Cyprus offer courses related to the entrepreneurship field. In fact, entrepreneurship education is limited to the few MBA programmes at the University of Cyprus and the four major private colleges. The University of Cyprus organises the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition, with a high-tech focus. Most of the participants are non-business majors. Within the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition, there are a number of seminars designed to help participants develop their business plans.

Czech Republic

Entrepreneurship education in the Czech Republic has developed tremendously over the past three years in terms of entrepreneurship education and extra-curricula activities being offered today. However, according to the findings from the European Commission Report on Entrepreneurship in Higher Education (2008a), especially within non-business studies it was found that «there is no generally accepted system of entrepreneurship teaching. Entrepreneurship education is running at some Universities, more or less on the basis of individual approaches» making therefore, no one accepted approach for teaching entrepreneurship. This is therefore resulting in the limited number of courses being freely available to students outside the Business and Management field.


Entrepreneurship in Denmark is significantly growing; there is no doubt that Danish Universities and Higher Education Institutions in recent years have expanded their list of courses they offer in terms of entrepreneurship. This progress is spread across all Danish Universities and Higher Education Institutions, but, with consistent differencies between Universities and Higher Education Institution. Courses have grown in all major departments, not just in business related subjects but also, for example, in Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural/Technical Science. The Danish Government has created in 2004 and implemented an International Danish Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) (European Commission, 2008a). The main aim of this academy was to focus on entrepreneurship teaching at all levels of study at higher education; 38 universities and colleges are IDEA partners, encompassing business as well as non-business institutions/faculties. Policy plans have been accompanied by a number of new initiatives generated or supported by IDEA, such as an International Master in Entrepreneurship Education and Training (starting March 2008) and a Diploma Course for Entrepreneurship Teachers, aiming at post-graduate training, particularly at college level (starting September 2008). In 2007 the Danish Government announced that a key objective for one of their policies was to provide students across all fields at higher education level with the access to either a course or module in entrepreneurship. This demonstrates how dedicated Denmark and the Danish Government are in supporting and developing entrepreneurship education. However, the progress has come incredible lengths but still has a long way to go until it reaches the Government objective «that all students studying within Danish Universities and Higher Education Institutions should be offered a course within their study field» (European Commission, 2008a).


Entrepreneurship education in Estonia has grown radically over the past years and is still growing today. Many Universities/Higher Education Institutions today in Estonia offer many courses and programmes in entrepreneurship and these programmes are offered on different levels, mainly diploma, undergraduate and master’s programmes. Usually non-business and technical studies include macro and microeconomics courses. Sometimes, in addition, general courses are offered on accounting and innovation. However courses genuinely targeting entrepreneurship and business (start-up, business plan, etc.) are present in almost all Universities and all curricula.


In five Finnish universities entrepreneurship is available as a major subject and thus these universities also have an opportunity to provide entrepreneurship specific doctoral studies. In other universities entrepreneurship is more or less embedded in a part of other disciplines as one theme or research direction. However in Finland all undergraduate and postgraduate students are permitted to apply to take courses at other Finnish universities. Through this JOO Agreement entrepreneurship is available at all levels of education to all students in higher education. The Government of Finland follows EU strategy and subscribes to the notion of the broad scope and impact of entrepreneurship on Finland’s future prosperity. It has defined its aims and means to advance entrepreneurship through a special policy programme for entrepreneurship and employment and by incorporating entrepreneurship education into the recent curriculum reform as one of the mainstreaming themes at all levels of education. The Education and Research Development Plan for 2007-2012 also includes goals and actions for advancing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education in higher education (Opetusministeriö, 2007). In the European landscape these activities represent pioneering work in entrepreneurship education. In 2002 only Finland among European member countries had extensively included entrepreneurship education all levels of education. The 2007 assessment of the current situation on compliance with the entrepreneurship education objective indicated that entrepreneurship is a recognised objective of the education systems and is embedded explicitly in the national framework curricula of six countries; Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Additionally six countries planned or had partially implemented it (Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Slovenia and Sweden (European Commission, 2006).


Any overview of the situation needs to consider separately the two key components of higher education in France: Ecoles and Universities. In very general terms, the Ecoles appear to be more advanced than universities in teaching entrepreneurial attitudes and business creation. At university, the situation is changing in the right direction within the scientific higher education institutions, but things are moving more slowly in other non-economic disciplines.

There are currently 260 Higher Education Institutions that have an interest in entrepreneurship in terms of teaching or accompanying projects (OPPE, 2007). Entrepreneurship courses are on offer throughout France at various Universities and Higher Education Institutions at undergraduate, masters and PhD level and a wide variety of extra-curricula initiatives have been introduced to students aimed to encourage them to develop their entrepreneurial skills. At the moment, there are 29 entrepreneurial incubators up and running in France. The French Government is currently working on a new initiative aimed to develop entrepreneurship values and initiatives within the student community (European Commission, 2008b). Two specific initiatives can be quoted: the creation of nine polytechnic schools within universities with entrepreneurial teaching; and the “house of entrepreneurs” in a few universities, offering entrepreneurial courses to students. As regards to professors, initiatives have been taken to develop exchange, training and research activities (“Académie de l’Entrepreneuriat”, “Université Européenne d’Eté” en Entrepreneuriat - Summer School since 2000 in Université Paris-Dauphine). Pedagogical experiences and tools in entrepreneurship are collected and disseminated through a national database (OPPE, 2007). The government is currently working on new initiatives to develop entrepreneurship values and initiatives within the student community.


The overall situation in Germany has grown in recent years. The number of Universities and Higher Education Institutions offering entrepreneurship education today has significantly increased over previous years and these Universities and Higher Education Institutions have become more entrepreneurial in nature. Today, there are 16 entrepreneurial incubators up and running in Germany. These incubators have proven to be very successful in promoting entrepreneurial activity in Germany. As the majority of University and Higher Education Institutions today offer students extra-curricula initiatives in terms of entrepreneurship. It is therefore, very apparent that Germany is moving towards an entrepreneurial culture. In 1998 there was only one working chair, since then it has prominently increased to 58 in 2008, while fourteen further professorships were advertised as open positions or definitely planned. There is thereby a growing impact of entrepreneurship in Higher Education Institutions in Germany.


The overall situation in Greece has grown in recent years. Entrepreneurship education has become an integrated part of University life and is seen as a strong link between industries. Since the year 2000, a series of political measures and initiatives have been introduced by the Greek Government to support and develop entrepreneurship education and to enhance the synergies between academia and industries. A New Operational Programme for education under the European Social Fund (EPEAEK) is the prime initiative at present (European Commission, 2008a). There is also a Pan-Hellenic competition and awards for the best entrepreneurial project from students.


In Hungary entrepreneurship education is not heavily integrated into the mainstream curricula throughout the various Universities and Higher Education Institutions. Hungary at present has no actual degree titles on offer or being taught in entrepreneurship at any level. However, entrepreneurship education in business related fields provides students with general entrepreneurial skills in selected compulsory subjects being part of their business degree programme as a short module. On the other hand, for students enrolled in a wide range of non-business degrees it a choice of the individual Universities/Higher Education Institutions whether to offer or not a compulsory or optional module on entrepreneurship.


Entrepreneurship in Ireland is currently growing. The majority of business degrees both in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate level now have incorporated into their programme a compulsory module in entrepreneurship – like for example the ‘New Venture Creation or Enterprise Development’ – and this trend is gradually being introduced into the Science, Engineering and Arts fields in order to provide the necessary skills and knowledge they need to act entrepreneurial and be successful. In Ireland today, 50% of all Universities and Higher Education Institutions offer a specific degree course in entrepreneurship ranging from undergraduate to a PhD programme. In total, 100% offer student’s extra-curricula activities, with the prime one being the business plan competition. There are currently 4 in-house entrepreneurial incubators. Entrepreneurship in Ireland is becoming more integrated and enhanced every day.


Entrepreneurship education in Italy has unquestionably stated to emerge over the past years. The distribution of entrepreneurship modules are on the increase and 41 Universities out of the 84 Italian universities (about 48% of the total) offer at least one chair in entrepreneurship. In the last three years there has been a significant growth in the number of entrepreneurship chairs (73 in 2008 instead of 39 in 2005, about 87% more) and in the number of universities involved (41 in 2008 instead of 29 in 2005, about 41% more). Entrepreneurship courses now have started to be offered across all faculties, not just in business. It is significant also the presence of extra-curricula training activities (e.g. business plan competition, business testimonies and visiting, business game etc.) and the presence of Incubators as well (formal Incubators have been created in 17 universities, about 20% of the total). Some of these entrepreneurship centers are connected through an important network, the “Association of University Incubators” and some cases of excellence are present. This is, for example, the case of I3P, the Incubator of the Polythecnic of Turin, world winner of the “Best Science Based Incubator Award” in 2004. The diffusion of such activities is however a very recent phenomenon and, even with all this growth occurring, there is still a significant lack of specific courses dedicated to entrepreneurship ranging from undergraduate level through to a PhD programme. The transformation process moving towards a wide promotion of entrepreneurial culture inside Italian Universities is still in progress and, at the time, it has involved only a part of the total Universities.


Entrepreneurship education in Latvia is weak. Entrepreneurship education is not integrated into the mainstream curricula. Some entrepreneurship courses have been implemented and taught in the Business and Management field but are non-existent in other fields.


Entrepreneurship education in Lithuania overall is very weak compared to other EU member countries. There are a limited number of courses available; however, these courses are only found and taught in the Business and Management field. Anyway, the low level of entrepreneurship-related abilities, knowledge and skills in the country, and the lack of consistent and innovative entrepreneurship teaching in the current system of higher education, has prompted spontaneous measures on the part of individual teachers and students. While initially such projects were confined exclusively to the departments of business and/or economics, they are now reaching non-business students as well.


The University of Luxembourg (UL) was founded in 2003 and is thus in the start-up stage, and the same goes for the teaching of entrepreneurship. However, the UL and the International University Institute of Luxembourg are now developing a range of lectures and other teaching tools geared to fostering entrepreneurial spirit and business creation. To underpin the teaching of entrepreneurship within non-business studies, related modules have been included in the curricula of the faculty of Science, Technology and Communication since 2003 and will also be integrated in the curricula of the new engineering Masters. A Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation was launched in 2007, and the creation of an entrepreneurial chair at the UL is currently being discussed.


Entrepreneurship in Malta is weak. At present there is no entrepreneurship education on offer or being offered at any level throughout Malta. However, a relatively new initiative has been introduced by ‘Malta Enterprise’ which aims to improve the level of entrepreneurship in Malta by introducing students to a number of optional modules where they have the chance to learn the basics of entrepreneurship. Although, at present, these optional modules are only available to business related students. This therefore, makes entrepreneurship still weak in non-business related fields within Malta (European Commission, 2008a).


Entrepreneurship education in Poland has grown significantly since 1990. Since then far more students are taking a degree course in entrepreneurship and this number is expected to continue to rise up. However, this increase was registered only in the field of Business and Management as entrepreneurship education is still non-existent in non-business departments as entrepreneurship education «tends to be viewed as a low priority and as a soft subject compared with hard Science» (European Commission, 2008a). As a consequence, Poland is trying to change this attitude among people and potential students and has therefore, introduced a new initiative geared towards students who are studying in the non-business field ‘Dynamic Entrepreneurship’ (European Commission, 2008b).


Entrepreneurship education in Portugal today is considered as a relatively new subject, at least, in non-business related fields. According to Redford (2006), «63.2% of the entrepreneurship courses started being offered during 2002 or later. What is more, 71% of the Universities offering these courses have, or plan to have, one or more degrees in which entrepreneurship is a required course. These degrees are mostly in the management (46.2%), engineering (19.2%) and computer science (11.5%) area».

Besides, during the 2005/2006 academic year, one master programme was offered. The Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MIETE) started in September 2004 at University of Porto, with the support with of the HiTEC Centre Team at North Carolina State University. MIETE was conceived to promote innovation and entrepreneurship through multidisciplinary teams. It seeked to adapt to the profiles of candidates from different areas, such as Management, Engineering, Biotechnology, Sciences and Design. More recently, a newer one was offered at Universidade de Beira Interior. The Master in Entrepreneurship and Business Creation (Mestrado Empreendedorismo e Criação de Empresas, MECE) has the following specific objectives: provide theoretical and practical tools for entrepreneurship and enterprise creation, encouraging entrepreneurship and enterprise; develop capabilities, practices and management tools particularly suited to the reality of Small and Medium Enterprises; and introduce the problem of entrepreneurship and creation of enterprises in the context of scientific research.


There is as yet no general framework or any other kind of guidance in the Ministry of Education for entrepreneurial education at technical universities. According to the European Commission (2008a), in the absence of such a framework, individual universities have developed entrepreneurial education “embryos” wherever there were professors interested in teaching and supporting this kind of initiative. Most of the specialised classes are taught at master rather than undergraduate level. There are no Entrepreneurial or Business Management Departments.

Slovak Republic

Entrepreneurship education in Slovakia over the past five years has grown immensely. This is due to the increase number of students wanting to study entrepreneurship. Slovak Universities and Higher Education Institutions have also responded to this opportunity by «establishing specialised faculties of entrepreneurship or, some case, specialised departments faculties» (European Commission, 2008a).


Entrepreneurship education in Slovenia has grown significantly over the past decade and is seen today as the most successful transitional country in terms of entrepreneurship education and extra-curricula activities.

Slovenia has a number of Higher Education Institutions specialising in the entrepreneurship training at all levels. The country is also developing Programmes in collaboration with some European Universities. The GEA College Ljublijana in 1990 founded the first private Higher Education Institution for entrepreneurship studies (The GEA College of Entrepreneurship in Portoroz). Since then, the GEA College have created and implemented more than 250 programmes in the field of entrepreneurship and management education by utilising their experiences and teaching methods from working abroad (European Commission, 2002). These courses range from undergraduate degrees right through the professional entrepreneurship training to businesses. The GEA College, currently have 15 lecturers and more than 15 project leaders based in a total of 35 locations spread throughout Slovenia. This indicates the extensive range of programmes currently taught and implemented today in Slovenia in terms of entrepreneurship education (www.gea-college.si/, European Commission, 2002).


Entrepreneurial development initiatives at Spanish universities are relatively recent. However, some relevant examples can be found in the 1980s. The first known start-up course was introduced in 1974 by the IESE (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa), a postgraduate business school in Barcelona offering MBAs and executive education, promoted by the private University of Navarra. The initial evolution of entrepreneurial development initiatives was based on the willingness and capacities of individual professors and universities have not been institutionally involved in its diffusion.

In the 1990s, a number of changes took place in the organization of university studies. During this process, a substantial number of business schools introduced an elective in “New Firm Start-up” for their business students. It consists nearly always on the elaboration of a Business Plan. But the availability of such courses is still very limited to students of other degrees. Still in the year 2000, less than half the universities in Spain offered a course in entrepreneurship, according to an unpublished report. At present, however, no official statistics are published in this respect. A national survey by the Directorate General for SMEs[4] identified 49 curricular activities in 23 different universities (more than 2 courses per university). Nevertheless, response rate was very low in this respect and some universities with well-known entrepreneurship initiatives did not participate in the study.


Entrepreneurship education in Sweden over the past 5 years has grown extensively, in terms of development. However, Sweden still has a long way to go until it is totally accepted as a legitimate means of creating new businesses, and in terms of fostering entrepreneurial mindsets to young people. At present, entrepreneurship education is taught in all Business Schools and Technology Universities across Sweden which are geared towards Management Studies (European Commissions, 2008a). However, entrepreneurship courses throughout Sweden vary immensely in terms of course contents and of level of study (for example, short courses/modules, undergraduate degrees, master’s programmes, etc.). Entrepreneurship education, however, in other academic fields for example, Social Sciences and Arts is non-existent.

The Netherlands

The entrepreneurship education in The Netherlands has grown overall over the past five years and has the potential to keep on growing and become more consistent over the time. In The Netherlands today 30% of all Universities and Higher Education Institutions offer an entrepreneurship degree and 50% offer their students a wide variety of extra-curricula initiatives, ranging from the traditional business plan competition to entrepreneurship events, lectures, seminars, guest speakers, entrepreneurship society and much more.


Over the past five years, the UK has seen a huge transformation in the use of entrepreneurship and Government funding has contributed significantly to this increase. According to a report carried out by Botham and Mason (2007) who state that the UK Government sees enterprise / entrepreneurship education “As one of the main drivers of innovation, productivity growth, competitiveness and therefore, long term economic growth”. This therefore, has made entrepreneurship / enterprise a major requirement of the UK future economy in terms of generating new innovative business ideas, as a vast number of entrepreneurial businesses are created each year, thus, resulting in a large number of jobs for the economy. Entrepreneurship education has also increased currently, with 69% of all UK Universities and Higher Education Institutions offering a course in entrepreneurship ranging from undergraduate level through to a PhD programme. 90% now offer a wide variety of entrepreneurship extra-curricula initiatives.

1.4 An analysis of the overall offer from undergraduate level through to PhD

Given the general trend towards entrepreneurship education across the EU, it is not surprising that more and more universities and Higher Education Institutions are offering far more courses, and the numbers of students taking entrepreneurship related courses are increasing at the same time. For example, in Spain 90% of universities and Higher Education Institutions offer a variety of elective courses in “New Firm Start-up”, although the majority of these courses are only offered to business students, for example at the University of Extremadura and the University of Cadiz Business School. While in France, entrepreneurship education is mostly delivered in management and economic universities: 90% of the universities and IUT offer a programme in French language.

Generally, across EU Member States, there is a shortage of entrepreneurship related courses, from undergraduate level right through to a PhD programme, within non-business disciplines. The majority of entrepreneurship related courses found today are taught in business schools as a stand alone subject/module to a selected number of students studying a range of business related courses, either at undergraduate or postgraduate level. As also noted in previous studies (Oslo, 2006), entrepreneurship education is not integrated into the mainstream curricula throughout many universities, with the exception of a few who have been teaching in this particular area for a number of years. Although, it is argued that entrepreneurship should not only be taught in business schools but also expanded and integrated into other academic fields (European Commission, 2008a; 2008b) like, for example, Technology and Science Departments (Oslo, 2006), where innovation and creativity is a key requirement in their working environment. A working balance, therefore, is required between their scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial skills in order for them to survive and be successful in their field today.

Hence, it is demonstrated by the European Commission (2002) and many EU Member States, that entrepreneurship courses should be offered freely across all departments at university level, not just, primary in business schools and to MBA students where the majority of entrepreneurship courses are taught.

Figure 1.2 - Curricular provision of entrepreneurship teaching in the UK, by field of study (in %)

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Source: NCGE, 2007

It is clear from the results illustrated in figure 1.2, that entrepreneurship education in the UK is dominated by Business Schools and less than 10% across other fields of study for example, Engineering and Art / Design.

In Spain (figure 1.3) entrepreneurship education is also dominated in Business Schools, however, they do have a slightly higher percentage of entrepreneurship education being offered in other faculties compared to the UK, although it is still lower than 25%.

Figure 1.3 - Curricular provision of entrepreneurship teaching in Spain, by field of study (in %)

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Source: Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade, 2006

In France there are 115 institutions IUT (100) and universities (15) that offer undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship.

All Finnish universities are signatories to an agreement whereby both undergraduate and postgraduate students are permitted to apply to take courses at other Finnish universities, provided that those courses are approved options within the student's degree program. This agreement is known as the JOO Agreement (a Finnish acronym for 'Flexible Study Rights' agreement) and has been in effect since 1 August 2004. Through the JOO Agreement students can take courses not available at their home university and thereby extend their degree.

The European Commission (2003) has announced in its final report on Entrepreneurial Innovation in Europe, that more than 90% of entrepreneurial new technology based firms in Europe today start within two University departments, Life Science and the Information Technology and not just in the Business Field. Making it critical, therefore, that entrepreneurship needs to be integrated across many academic fields and not just taught in business.

It is very clear from the research carried out on EU Member States in 2008 by the ENDEAVOUR project team that entrepreneurship education is not sufficiently integrated into other academic disciplines across the curriculum but is mainly found offered and taught in Business and Management related degrees hence, making it critical to integrate entrepreneurship education across all academic disciplines. It is clear from figure 1.4 that entrepreneurship education has grown and is growing, as more courses are being introduced and taught in this particular area. However, these courses are not widely available outside the Business and Management field.

Figure 1.4 - Percentage of Universities Offering a Course in Entrepreneurship in some EU countries

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Entrepreneurship degrees, both in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees differ significantly in terms of contents and delivery. Some emphasis more on the theoretical issues, for example, ‘management models’, whereas, some focus more on entrepreneurship practice for example, ‘business plans’.

Entrepreneurship undergraduate degrees are predominantly taught in ones home country language, for example in the University Groningen in The Netherlands where their entrepreneurship undergraduate degrees and modules are all taught in Dutch, whereas, the majority of EU universities and Higher Education Institutions at postgraduate level, for example an MBA or MSc, offer their taught courses both in English and in their local language. An example are the Technische Universitat Dresden and the Universitat Fridericiana zu Karlsruhe in Germany, where they teach postgraduate level both in English and in German. Students, taking executive education or studying a doctorate in entrepreneurship would be taught predominate in English (EFER, 2006).

1.4.1 Undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship

The collected data and figures clearly illustrate that the percentage of undergraduate courses varies immensely from one country to another. Out of the 21 countries that provided quantitative data, two countries (Spain and Slovenia) had over 50% of universities offering undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship, whereas Italy was followed with 49% (figure 1.5). Given the general trend towards a promotion of entrepreneurship in Spain, it is not strange that more and more universities are offering courses in this respect. It may reasonably be said that the great majority of HEIs in Spain offer some kind of elective course in “new firm start-up”. The majority of them are offered to business students only. This is the case of University of Extremadura. Similarly, in University of Cadiz Business School there is a compulsory course on “firm-creation project”. Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Rovira i Virgili University both have an elective for business and students, although they also offer electives to the whole campus. Jaume I University offers 2 electives in “entrepreneurial training” (I and II) at the business school, but students from other degrees may take this course. The Universities of Seville and Huelva, for example, offer firm-creation courses at the business and engineering schools. The University of Zaragoza is particular in that it only offers the course to its engineering students. The Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) is somewhat similar to that of Zaragoza, but their offer is notably wider. Thus, UPC only provides engineering degrees, but it is remarkable that they offer a firm-creation course in half their schools.

Whereas, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta, Austria, Lithuania and Romania did not have any specific undergraduate degrees in entrepreneurship, they offered and taught short modules on entrepreneurship as part of their Business and Management degrees both at BA / BSc. This, therefore, makes undergraduate degree courses an opportunity for a number of EU countries to engage in and utilise the opportunity.

Figure 1.5 – Percentage of Universities offering Undergraduate Courses in Entrepreneurship in some EU countries

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1.4.2 Postgraduate courses in entrepreneurship

The collected data and figures clearly illustrate an increase overall the EU in the percentage of postgraduate courses being taught in entrepreneurship. The highest percentage of courses has been found out in Slovenia and France with 50% then the UK with 37%, followed jointly by The Netherlands and Spain both with 30%, closely followed by Ireland with 25% (Figure 1.6). These percentages are expected to continue to grow with time in the coming years making, therefore, entrepreneurship at Master’s level stronger. This, therefore, illustrates people’s perceptions throughout the EU to entrepreneurship are changing and entrepreneurship in general is looked upon more favourably than previously shown.

Figure 1.6 - Percentage of Universities offering Postgraduate Courses in Entrepreneurship in some EU countries

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It is slowly becoming recognised as a means of creating new businesses and jobs for the economy as more people are taking courses and learning how to become entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship / enterprise education and training.

Illustrated in box 1.1 is an example taken from De Montfort University website, within the Arts Faculty where they offer a ‘MA in Design Entrepreneurship’ at Masters Level.


[1] OECD, (2008), Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society. OECD Thematic Review of Tertiary Education in Lisbon on 3-4 April 2008.

[2] For example, for Germany: Study and Research in Germany: University Rankings, Published in association with Die Zeit, accessed 18 May 2008 from: www.daad.de/deutschland/hochschulen/hochschulranking/06543.en.html; for Italy: data-base of the Ministry of Education, University and Research, accessed 22 June 2008 from http://cercauniversita.cineca.it.

[3] See particularly the recent reports: European Commission, (2008a) Best Procedure Project: “Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, Especially In Non-Business Studies”; and European Commission, (2008b) “Survey of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education in Europe”.

[4] Survey by the Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade, Directorate General for SME Policy, 2006.



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Entrepreneurship Higher Education in Europe
State of the Art and Marketing Insights to Enhance the Attraction of Foreign Students
University of Sannio
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Angelo Riviezzo (Author)Alessandro De Nisco (Author)Maria Rosaria Napolitano (Author), 2012, Entrepreneurship Higher Education in Europe, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/204563


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