New people for new jobs – Benefits of entrepreneurial education

The Ferd’s list inducted six young entrepreneurs from as many countries to its 2018 roster of honourees. [JA Europe]

3D animation, smart TV apps, content monetisation technology, big data analysis, online education platforms. If anyone ever doubted that the future of work is already here, the list of young European entrepreneur achievements presented in Brussels on Wednesday (10 October) should be enough to convert even hardcore doubters.

“Thirty years ago, these kind of jobs did not exist, that’s how much we have moved on,” Johan Andresen, a Norwegian businessman behind the Ferd’s list project, told the event, which inducted six young entrepreneurs from as many countries to the 2018 list of honourees.

Their success stories show the impact of education that focuses on entrepreneurial skills. Though, they were quick to add, success is not taken for granted and failure is often part of the ‘learning by doing’ process.

In keeping with the increasingly dynamic business climate, some of last year’s Ferd honourees already sold their businesses and are preparing to invest in new projects.

Ferd’s List is a project run by Andresen and Junior Achievements Europe (JA), meant to highlight the innovative work of those who benefitted from specialised education organised by JA, an NGO that provides education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.

And it’s not only education, as last year’s honouree Boris Kolev from Bulgaria explained:

“One of the good things we gain from JA is the opportunity to connect with businessmen, managers. For young people, this is very beneficial. It’s not only about training, textbooks, but the opportunity to connect.”

Last school year, the JA network in Europe reached more than four million young people in 40 countries with the support of 140,000 business volunteers and 130,000 educators, all in line with the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe, which touts the idea of promoting young entrepreneurs and innovators to boost job creation and growth.

“This shows the potential of Europe,” Andresen told EURACTIV, referring to the entrepreneurial programme and Ferd’s list.

“I think this has huge implications for Europe. We need to create new jobs, we need people to create innovations in companies they own. We need entrepreneurs in the public system, it needs to become much more innovative, flexible,” Andresen said.

Human skills cannot be replaced

Despite what Andresen calls ‘exponential progress’ of technology, the entrepreneurs from the 2018 list highlighted a set of human skills that will continue to play an important role and are not really encouraged in today’s schools.

“We need to define what kind of skills can be automated and which cannot. Social skills, creativity, ownership, self-responsibility, compassion, interaction. Do schools really teach those skills today? No. They kill creativity,” said Bernhard Hofer, an Austrian who runs, an online platform that helps young people develop their potential regardless of their social or financial background.

“We should go back a little bit, think about creativity, drama classes, teaching kids to help others, basic human values. That’s also what companies tell me they need. Computers will not and cannot do that,” Hofer said.

Alicia Navarro, who has lived in Australia and London and founded Skimlinks, a content-to-content monetisation platform for online publishers, agreed.

“it’s not only about being smart, but about being able to articulate, make friends. It’s about negotiation, connection building, presentation. Human skills are the only thing that cannot be replaced,” she told EURACTIV.

She said there were still some “distinct benefits” for young startups to be based in the US, “particularly if you’re looking to achieve an exit. There are more buyers that have more money.”

“But it is getting better here, in the UK, but also there are great startup hubs in Scandinavia, Germany, Ireland. As a result, not only are there more venture capital firms, but a lot of US investors are starting to come here to find deals to invest in.”


JA Europe

The “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants’ Fund for Youth Employment. It is implemented by five Junior Achievement member organisations (JA Europe, JA Bulgaria, JA Italy, JA Romania and JA Spain), in addition to JA Norway who acts as an expertise partner.

By the end of the project in 2021, 1,600 young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) in the four beneficiary countries (Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain) will have received training and support to acquire the necessary skills to find a job or start their own business. In addition, the project aims to prevent another 1,000 students from becoming NEETs by giving them training and counseling.



1,600 NEETs + 1,000 VET students will develop entrepreneurial skills



A prevention programme on school dropout will enable better cooperation between schools and students, ensuring the integration of good practices into the educational systems

Blended Learning

Blended Learning

The programme delivered in the four beneficiary countries uses both online and live sessions

Business Development

Business Development

Entrepreneurial practice will be provided to 400 NEETs through a business incubator; 40 of them will receive financing to set up their own businesses

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