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2 pages
Supporting entrepreneurs and the self-employed
European Social Fund
Employment policy
Social policy
Target audience: General public
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business into a fast-growing company with over
Healthy business
70 workers (see below).
After working as a successful
Training for success model for several years,
Radmila Petroušková from
In 1983, with money The ESF: supporting entrepreneurs the Czech Republic wanted
borrowed from friends and
a change, but quickly
relatives, Jose Salmeron
became dissatisfi ed with life
Guindos started his own and the self-employed
as an employee. She wanted
factory making car trailers and
to open a café with a friend, Small businesses and the men and women who start them are the building fi xtures. However, in
specialising in vegetarian and health foods, but
the early years progress was backbone of the EU economy, contributing greatly to wealth creation and knew they would need assistance. She found it in
haphazard. “We didn’t really
an ESF programme for entrepreneurs which employment. Entrepreneurship can also off er independence and self-run it as a business,” he recalls. “To tell the truth we
helped them get their ideas of the ground.
didn’t even really know what a business was – it fulfi lment to those who take up the challenge. Supporting self-employment
was often hit or miss.” Subsequently, after losing a The programme supplied experts who advised and entrepreneurship is an ESF priority, in particular giving help and
large client the business was on the edge of them on how to set up a café and develop a viable
guidance to potential entrepreneurs from disadvantaged social groups who bankruptcy and Jose became ill from the stress he business plan. “Neither of us had any experience
was under. in setting up a business”, she recalls, “so the often face more obstacles to setting up their own businesses.
consultants helped us a lot with the fi nances and
Taking advice, he then followed a course for
administration. They sent us to the right people.”
entrepreneurs given by a business school and
co-funded by the ESF. The course gave counselling After a year of preparation and a bank loan in the EU economy. Furthermore, micro and small Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship
and training on how to improve a company’s secured, the ‘Healthy Spiral’ café opened
enterprises comprise 99% of the 2 million start-up
The term entrepreneur covers a broad range of performance through innovative practices and for business in 2008. The venture is proving
businesses created every year; and one-third of improved networking. Applying what he learned to successful and there are plans to grow the people and activities. For example, a group of
these are launched by the unemployed. Indeed, his business, Jose transformed the way it operated business with more employees in the future.
scientists who start a company to manufacture and
and brought in new staff and processes. micro-enterprises make up 90% of all SMEs with
sell an innovative, high-technology product they
each providing work for two people, on average. Today, the company has diversifi ed and is growing The common thread to these stories is that potential have invented; new parents who set up an on-line
fast – staff numbers have doubled to over 70 full- entrepreneurs with good ideas can face large To encourage and nurture entrepreneurship is a business to work from home while meeting their
time employees and Jose plans to double in
obstacles to get their ideas off the ground. Yet with key objective of the EU and the Member States. childcare needs; or a young recent immigrant who size over the next three years. After his positive
the proper training, guidance and support these experiences, he is now evangelical about training To achieve this aim it is important to reduce or wants to use his newly acquired skills to work as
and it has become core to the company. obstacles can be surmounted, and viable, successful remove the barriers and obstacles that potential an independent decorator and perhaps employ a
businesses created. Providing such support is entrepreneurs face. The most signifi cant of these few friends to help. What links all these people is
the aim of the ESF priority on ‘Supporting self-• In the Czech Republic, the owner of the ‘Healthy barriers include the diffi culty of securing fi nance that they are self-employed, usually in their own
employment and new businesses’. As these stories Spiral’ health food café, Radmila Petroušková and a lack of information about how to set up and business that they have set up to sell the ideas,
and many others show, the right help given at the found the change of career direction she wanted run a business.products or services they off er.
right time can contribute greatly to the number of thanks to an ESF project providing consultancy
Entrepreneurship in Europenew businesses and their subsequent success. for business start-ups (see below). How the ESF supports
Entrepreneurs and the businesses they launch are
of vital importance to jobs and growth in Europe. The European Social Fund has a long history
Small and medium-sized enterprises, including of supporting people who want to start their For more information about our publications:
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/esf/library/library_en.htm micro-enterprises that employ less than ten people, own companies and be self-employed, and this
make up 99% of all companies in the EU and remains true today. Supporting self employment
For more information: contribute 65 million jobs – two out of three jobs and new businesses is one of the priorities of the
Information service of DG Employment, Social Aff airs & Equal Opportunities
in the private sector. They also contribute more European Social Fund 2007-2013 programming Communication Unit
B-1049 Brussels than half of the added value created by businesses period. Seventeen Member States have included
Fax.: +32 2 296 23 93
E-mail: esf@ec.europa.eu
EEMP10010_Microfinance_EN.indd 4-1MP10010_Microfinance_EN.indd 4-1 226/05/10 11:046/05/10 11:042 3
this priority in their Operational Programmes Estonian pose a threat to this switch. ESF funding a business, such as accountancy or employment
The European Microfi nance facility:
which set out the employment and social priorities is combating this by off ering training to new legislation. Consultancy is another way to support small loans, great expectations
they have selected for ESF funding. Overall, this entrepreneurs, putting entrepreneurship on to the budding entrepreneur – this can be particularly
Acting on a proposal from the European
priority is receiving some €2.75 billion of ESF school curricula, and taking steps to retain and helpful when designing a business plan, which Commission, in 2010 the EU ministers for
funding although the total spend will be higher as develop the pool of scientifi c talent from which employment and social aff airs and the European is often crucial to getting access to fi nance from
Parliament agreed to set up the European matching national funding is added. future entrepreneurs spring. lending institutions. Other projects concentrate on
Microfi nance Facility. This new facility provides
networking with potential and actual businessmen EU Member States and regions choose to make Much of this funding is devoted to supporting loans to people who have lost their jobs and and
and women. This helps build confi dence and for entrepreneurship a priority for support for many want to start or further develop their own micro would-be entrepreneurs according to their needs.
business. It has a starting budget of €100 million some disadvantaged groups, such as women, reasons: They can obtain training, advice and mentoring
which could leverage more than €500 million
immigrants or people with handicaps, can provide through ESF programmes which will help them set
• The City of Prague has a more highly in co-operation with international fi nancial
role models to encourage participants by showing up their companies. The administrative and legal institutions, such as the European Investment educated population than other regions in
Bank (EIB) Group. what can be achieved. Some examples of such requirements for setting up a business can be an
the Czech Republic, including many scientists
obstacle for many people with a good business projects are given in the boxes below:The initiative is part of the EU’s response to the
and technologists, due in part to a high
economic crisis and is targeted in particular idea – so support here can ensure they get off the
concentration of universities and research • Nor munds Zeps in Latvia was an unemployed at people who cannot normally obtain credit
ground quickly. Once up and running, training,
institutes. Therefore, Prague’s ESF priority on mechanic until the off er of an entrepreneurship because of the economic crisis and the current
guidance and consulting can contribute greatly to lack of credit supply from banks. The objective is the development of a knowledge economy course allowed him to realise his ambition of
the new business’ survival through the fi rst months to support starting entrepreneurs with loans of
includes a focus on supporting new businesses running a bee-keeping business (see below).
up to €25 000 each over a period of eight years. – providing the new entrepreneur with the skills
and entrepreneurs as part of the eff ort to turn
And as loans are repaid more can be made – this Business with a beeand advice to avoid common pitfalls.
the city’s innovation potential into innovative recycling of funds means that more fi nancing
Before he participated in an could be made available for investment in micro-businesses and jobs. As well as providing new entrepreneurs with the
ESF-funded training course enterprises employing less than ten people.
skills and advice they need, the ESF also helps
• Slovenia has a comparatively low share of for budding business
The target groups for these loans are people them surmount the other main obstacle many owners, Normunds Zeps business creation in the EU, and a signifi cant
who have lost, or are at risk of losing their jobs;
from Latvia was an face – access to fi nance. Several Member States
failure rate of company start-ups. In the disadvantaged and the young who want to
unemployed mechanic with deploy ESF funding to support microcredit develop their own business ideas; and existing response, an ESF priority is supporting new an interest in bees and
lending aimed at raising employment and micro-enterprises which take on unemployed
entrepreneurs, making Slovenia one of the honey. Because he found it
people or which employ disadvantaged promoting entrepreneurship. For example, diffi cult to get a steady job, despite having the most entrepreneur-friendly environments in
people including the young. These are among
right qualifi cations, he decided to turn his interest the German Mikrokreditfonds initiative off ers
the world. The programme also promotes social the groups who, in the current economic
into a business opportunity and joined a training
ESF co-funded loans to small entrepreneurs, in crisis and credit squeeze, are least able to entrepreneurship as part of its drive for social programme for the self-employed.
particular to women and people with an immigrant obtain funding from commercial banks. The
“I wanted to change my situation,” he explains. loans will be provided through local fi nancial background. Likewise, the ‘Start Programme’
“I knew I had to learn more about business and this organisations, such as banks and other providers • The mid-Atlantic P ortuguese region – the
in Latvia uses ESF funding for lending to small
programme was off ering a training course on how of microfi nance.islands of the Azores – has few, but fast-
business entrepreneurs. This ESF support received a to run a small business – so I decided to go for it.”
growing sectors: tourism and agriculture.
signifi cant boost in 2010 when the EU agreed to set Normunds is now a professional bee-keeper
To ensure their future success, ESF funding
up a new fi nancial facility to provide loans to the producing a tonne of high-grade honey a year. And Projects on the ground
is supporting management training among he is working hard to expand his business, “…the unemployed and small entrepreneurs who want to
ESF-funded projects aimed at potential SMEs to help them prosper and to create new EU has given me a good start. There is no question
set up their own business (see below). As with ESF
about it. When I started getting down to business I businesses in the tourism sector. entrepreneurs and those who wish to be self-
microcredit projects, this new initiative supports realised how useful the training course really was.”
employed take a variety of forms. The support can • A s Estonian industry turns away from low-cost- the inclusiveness of access to fi nance for groups in
involve training, either to improve the participant’s • Spanish businessman Jose Salmer on Guindos based traditional sectors towards more advanced society who fi nd it more diffi cult than others to realise
skills in the business area they plan to work in, or technologies and services, its poor business- their ambitions for self-employment and running their used an ESF-funded course for entrepreneurs
creation rate and the brain drain of skilled young own business. to pass on the management skills needed to run and managers to turn his small metal-working
EEMP10010_Microfinance_EN.indd 2-3MP10010_Microfinance_EN.indd 2-3 226/05/10 11:046/05/10 11:04

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