The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Teaching Entrepreneurship for Social Inclusion

Alan Bruce, Universal Learning Systems (Ireland)

Pernille Skov Sørensen, VUC Storstrøm (Denmark)


It is widely argued in the international literature that sustainable economies emerge from indigenous entrepreneurial ventures. The OECD (2008) recommended that Entrepreneurship Education in higher education should shift its focus to growth-oriented entrepreneurship. This suggests a movement away from a traditional business management approaches to Entrepreneurship Education, with more attention being given to key business growth strategies such as internationalization, exports and finance and facilitating the development of students’ skills to include opportunity identification, risk-taking, strategy-making, leadership, negotiating, building strategic alliances and Intellectual Property protection. HEIs can then produce graduates of a high calibre with the business acumen needed to recognize and foster creative potential through the creation of high-potential start-ups. Such companies would be capable of achieving high growth, high turnover and high levels of employment, servicing both national and global markets. Entrepreneurship education has been driven by national reviews, demands of a changing labour market and awareness of the impact on communities and individuals of sustained social marginalization. A significant link has been established between entrepreneurship approaches and models and the structures of social enterprise. Development of social enterprises stems from a long tradition of cooperative approaches that stretch back to the nineteenth century. Social enterprises represent a set of initiatives that address issues pertaining to social inclusion, reduced marginalization and creation of measures to ensure viability for vulnerable groups. The link established between quality of education in an increasingly competitive world and the importance of inclusion is a cogent one. It demonstrates that improved access is not simply an extraneous element to educational policy but a key driver in developing wider quality standards throughout the educational system at all levels. In that link between education and inclusion the specific role of entrepreneurship education is being forged. This is illustrated by description and analysis of the EU funded SIATE project (Social Inclusion Through Entrepreneurship). The Lead Partner is VUC Storstrøm, adult education center in Denmark. The aim is to identify models of best practice in fostering entrepreneurship for marginalized groups and to develop a European network. The paper describes the methodology, development and outreach involved in project activities to create meaningful and sustainable training courses. This has been supplemented by a sequence of major conferences in partner countries and the development of a European network on entrepreneurship education and social inclusion (ENTNET). The paper describes how SIATE seeks to improve the cooperation between existing national or regional networks of adult education providers at European level by creating a network of networks focusing on entrepreneurship in adult learning. It also describes how capacity-building for all relevant stakeholders can be constructed on specific themes of career management skills, migrant integration and social inclusion, aiming at increasing the number and enhancing the quality of providers using entrepreneurship as a specific model for Adult Education. 

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Innovation; Adult learning; Enterprise; Social inclusion


1. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2008), Entrepreneurship and Higher Education, Potter, J., ed, OECD, Paris 2008.
2. Forfás (2015), “Evaluation of Enterprise Supports for Start-ups and Entrepreneurship”, Forfás, Dublin.
3. Kinsella, W. & Senior, J. (2008) 'Developing Inclusive Schools: A Systemic Approach'. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12 (5 & 6):651-665.

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