Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Skills for entrepreneurship: call for participation 2009


Call for participation


BackgroundObjectives / Benefits / Methodology / Contacts



This project examines the skills needed for entrepreneurship and how they are delivered by public policy through universities, vocational training organisations and other institutions.  It works through a combination of local case study work in selected participant localities and international assessments and comparisons.

It meets a critical challenge – that of making our economies and societies more entrepreneurial.  Entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth and job creation.  It provides many people with career opportunities that better fit their preferences than waged employment.  In addition, self-employment or business start-up is a response by significant numbers of people to job losses in the current global economic crisis.

Many different inputs are required for successful entrepreneurship.  One of the most important is entrepreneurship skills.  Motivated people need the right skills to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and to turn their entrepreneurial projects into successful ventures.

In becoming successful entrepreneurs, people follow a learning journey and it is this learning journey that is the focus of the OECD ‘skills for entrepreneurship’ project.  It follows the process from when motivated people with entrepreneurial attitudes make the decision to start up.  What are the skills they need to start successfully?  What are the skills they need to help their business survive and grow in the early years?  How does public policy support the provision of these skills – through vocational training, universities, in-firm support, chambers of commerce, business associations and so on?  And what can be improved?  This is the focus of the study. 



The project responds to the growing recognition of the importance of entrepreneurship skills in recent years.  Many new training initiatives and innovative approaches are currently emerging as to “where” and “how” entrepreneurship skills are being taught. But at the same time information gaps exist on (a) what are crucial entrepreneurship skills, (b) what constitutes good practice in effective entrepreneurship skills policies, and, (c) what roles should national ministries and their local partners play. This OECD project provides a framework for identifying the good practices and exchanging information on how to strengthen entrepreneurship training.

A variety of skills development systems exists across OECD countries. Common to them is that universities and vocational training institutions are central actors. OECD/LEED has worked intensively over the past years on entrepreneurship skills development in universities, for example through the projects on Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme), Universities, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Criteria and Examples of Good Practice, and How Universities Foster Entrepreneurship.  This new project provides a gateway for further exchange amongst universities and policymakers on this topic, but also extends the analysis and exchange to the vocational education sector and other key local actors. 



The project has the following objectives:

Objective 1:

Identify the range of specific skills needed for successful entrepreneurship. 

Objective 2:

Measure entrepreneurship skills levels and the contribution of training and outreach.

Objective 3:

Set down the extent of entrepreneurship training and its locus, characteristics, set-up, scope.

Objective 4:   

Assess the appropriateness of provision to needs.

Objective 5: 

Identify promising policy options.  

Objective 6:

Establish indicators for measuring changes in entrepreneurship skills and advise on techniques for evaluation of entrepreneurship training programmes. 


Benefits for participants

By joining this review series, participants (departments of national ministries, local governments, training bodies, regional development agencies, etc.) will benefit from an in-depth analysis of entrepreneurship skills and training in their region, a comparative assessment with other OECD regions, identification of key local successes and exposure to international best practices in the field.

More specifically, expected benefits are as follows:

a) Identification of local entrepreneurship skill levels and gaps (business planning, risk assessment, team building, etc.) and of the contribution of local entrepreneurship training policies.

b) Assessment of the scope and quality of entrepreneurship training delivered locally. This will help identify which skills are being delivered and to what extent and which skills are conversely being overlooked. 

c) Understanding of how to integrate the provision of new entrepreneurship skills in training programmes originally designed to address more traditional business management competences and how to coordinate the provision of entrepreneurship training with other measures of entrepreneurship support such as incubators, spin-off schemes, business financing measures, etc.

d) OECD recommendations for future policy improvements based on an assessment of local needs and provision and an international benchmarking exercise.

e) The possibility to focus on a specific area of entrepreneurship training (i.e.  in vocational education colleges or in universities) or to keep a broader approach in which more than one target will be subject of analysis.



  • Diagnostic work, including a questionnaire on the provision of entrepreneurship training
  • Study visit by an international review panel
  • Workshop to discuss first findings and policy recommendations
  • Delivery of the final report with detailed action plan



For more information and a copy of the project framework and method document, interested local economic development and training organisations are invited to contact Jonathan PotterMarco Marchese or Andrea-Rosalinde Hofer