Global Enterprise Project Launch

Business and education hand in hand to launch a new pan-European initiative


For Immediate Release

Industry leaders mobilise to address skills gap and youth unemployment



Brussels, September 13, 2011: The European Round Table of Industrialists, Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe and European Schoolnet are partnering to launch a pan-European initiative, the Global Enterprise Project, to promote greater understanding and awareness among young people about doing business globally and the skills required to succeed in the new economy. 

During the three-year initiative, 40,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 18 will have the opportunity to create and manage a real enterprise, discuss globalisation, develop ventures with peers in other countries, learn valuable entrepreneurial skills and apply their knowledge in new ways. With support from their teachers, they will be exposed to a variety of learning-by-doing approaches and work with professionals from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds. Over 2,000 employees from the business community will volunteer.   

“Too many young people in Europe are lacking skills to succeed in today’s global economy.  If we want Europe to continue to be an attractive place to live and work in 2025, this requires action in many different policy areas.  ERT is leading with a new project to increase young Europeans’ awareness of the skills necessary in the global workplace.  We are encouraging more businesses to actively engage in education to encourage young people to take an entrepreneurial approach to their lives,” said Tjerk Hooghiemstra, Convenor of the ERT Societal Changes Working Group and Chief Administrative Officer at STMicroelectronics.    

The project is a call to action to all businesses to get more engaged with the next generation, and to reinforce through new and existing partnerships with Ministries of Education to integrate activities like this in school and before university if they really want to ensure the best possible future for Europe’s youth. Research has already shown that participants in early-stage entrepreneurship education are 4-5 times more likely to start their own business later on. They create new jobs too. Furthermore, their teachers say students are more motivated to learn and show more self-confidence.  Longitudinal studies have shown that these students also tend to make better higher education choices and have higher rates of employability. However, the European Commission estimates that less than 5% of young people in Europe participate in entrepreneurship education in school.

 “The effect of the recession on young people has remained dramatic, despite recent stabilisation. Young people are not very aware of what is happening in the world of business and industry—they enter the workforce without many of the skills they need to be employable. Furthermore, entrepreneurship has to be part of the solution to high unemployment and poor competitiveness. Changing attitudes is key,” said Caroline Jenner CEO of JA-YE Europe. “We urgently need to scale up efforts like this and motivate young people or we risk perpetually high dropout rates and losing a generation to unemployment.”

“Partnerships between business and Ministries of Education are essential to give students a taste of the world of work during their education. This new initiative reinforces our existing activities with ERT and ERT member companies, where we encourage young people to learn more about scientific careers. Business and entrepreneurship skills are the next step in encouraging young people to plan and engage successfully in working life,” says Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet.

Notes to Editors

The European Round Table of Industrialists -ERT – ( is a forum of around 50 European industrial leaders aiming at promoting the competitiveness and growth of Europe’s economy. ERT Members are Chairmen and Chief Executives of major multinational companies of European parentage covering a wide range of industrial and technology sectors. ERT derives its strength from the commitment and personal involvement of its Members. The companies of ERT Members  are headquarted in 18 European countries and  their combined turnover is €1,600 billion thereby sustaining around 6.6 million jobs.  

JA-YE Europe ( is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, reaching 3.1 million students in 38 countries in 2010. Funded by businesses, institutions, foundations and individuals, JA-YE brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes to teach them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way. The JA-YE Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’. JA-YE Europe is the European headquarters for JA Worldwide®.

European Schoolnet ( is a network of 30 Ministries of Education in Europe and beyond. European Schoolnet was created 15 years ago to bring about innovation in teaching and learning for its key stakeholders: Ministries of Education, schools, teachers and researchers.

Livia Di Nardo

Development Project Manager

+32 2 735 9720