EUROCITIES has published a collection of good practices highlighting what cities are doing to promote entrepreneurship, particularly for disadvantaged groups such as migrants and women.
Their latest publication, ‘Cities supporting inclusive entrepreneurship’, shares examples of actions being taken by European cities to support entrepreneurship in general and specific groups in particular. They showcase support schemes for groups of people who may not normally consider starting up their own business, or who face significant barriers to getting their ideas off the ground. Our Cities for Active Inclusion partners, Birmingham and Bologna, show how they promote new businesses and entrepreneurs.
Companies, especially small and medium sized (SMEs), are an important source of new employment, creating more than four million new jobs every year in Europe. SMEs provide two out of three private sector jobs and contribute to more than half of the total value-added created by businesses in the EU.
Yet European citizens’ desire to start their own businesses is falling. In 2009, 45% of Europeans were willing to be self-employed, now this percentage is 37%. If we are to continue to foster job and wealth creation, the support that local governments can provide as facilitators is critical.
Local authorities can define the most appropriate strategies to encourage small businesses, providing ideal start-up community environments where inclusive entrepreneurship thrives. City authorities across Europe support start-ups and early-growth businesses. They facilitate the formation of networks and access to these. They raise entrepreneurial awareness and promote links between the public, private and knowledge sectors. These open and inclusive approaches to entrepreneurship have already had encouraging results.
Our city governments give priority to promoting entrepreneurial activity among under-represented groups or those who face barriers to business success. These include young people, women, disabled people and migrants.
Successful initiatives such as those outlined in our report are being developed in cities all over Europe. It is therefore crucial that EU level programmes and policies have a strong territorial dimension. With smarter resources, cities and entrepreneurs could make an even bigger impact on people’s quality of life.
You can read the full report here.