Policy Areas

Young Entrepreneurship : Look to Norway

Norwegian results on establishing new and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have attracted attention in the European Union.

03/10/2005 :: The EU’s aim is to promote successful entrepreneurship and to improve the business environment for SMEs. These enterprises are central in the goal to achieve increased growth and employment. Norway increased the number of new establishments last year with 18 %, thus gaining acknowledgment for this in the EU.

It is in particular the Norwegian efforts in fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship in the youth which receives recognition in the rest of Europe. Mini-companies are established and run by students at school. They develop on a small scale a real economic activity or simulate in a realistic way the operations of firms. A Norwegian study presented this summer, shows that 16,6% of participants in such companies later goes on to start their own business. 7,5% of the rest of the population does the same. The study was a part of the European Commission report on “Mini-companies”, which was released September 13 this year. 

This report concludes an extensive work through EU’s program on business and entrepreneurship (MAP). Experts from EU-countries and Norway have worked on a survey on the spread of mini-companies and estimated which positive effects such companies can have on the European spirit of entrepreneurship. The report shows that the best way of learning about entrepreneurship is through direct experience and practice. By setting up mini-companies, students acquire basic business skills, develop a real economic activity, build up their creativity and self-confidence, learn how to work in a team, and become more willing to take responsibility and initiative.

Norway has together with UK and Ireland the estimated highest participation of students taking part in mini-company programmes (above 2%). In most countries the rate of students involved in these activities was below 1 % of the total. Norway is also among the countries where these programmes seem to be more widespread: around 30% of schools in Norway offer mini-company programmes. According to the report, 200,000 students in EU 25 and Norway are involved in such a programme during their education.


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Photo: European Commission