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The Walloon Government stated in the “Mashall Plan 4.0” (2015-2019) the importance “to raise awareness of sense of initiave and entrepreuneurship”. The Government, through the Minister of Economy, charged the Agency Enterprise and Innovation, a public service, to implement this objective. Its missions are defined in the decree of 28 November 2013.
The Agency established a strategic plan, “entrepreneurship 3.15, 3 approaches 15 levers for enterprising generations” for the term 2014-2020. It details the objectives and actions to implement in order to raise awareness of sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.
The 3 main approaches of the plan are complementary and consist in:
- supporting an entrepreneurial education
- investing in future entrepreneurs
- increasing the number of young people who realise their entrepreneurial project.
The Agency targets students either directly through its communication or indirectly through teachers. It is a political choice to work with schools from primary schools to Universities.
The first approach aims at collaborating to the implementation of the European vision which considers “entrepreneurship” as part of one of the 8 key-competences for life-long learning.
The Agency understands “entrepreneurship” as a competence which includes soft skills and attitudes as well as more specialised knowledge and business skills (spirit of enterprise).
The Agency’s goal is to
- promote this competence in schools (from primary school to Universities),
- to share the philosophy of entrepreneurship and
- give the possibility to young people to think about entrepreneurial activity.
This position is in accordance with the objective of youth policies as developed in the French-Speaking Community. Youth policies through Youth Decrees focus on the promotion of participation of young people by developing a responsible, active and critical citizenship, in a spirit of solidarity. Young people are invited to have the sense of initiative in their life or at work.
With the second approach, the Agency identifies schools specialised in the entrepreneurial activity. The objective here is to develop the conditions for the appearance of entrepreneurial vocations specifically in these schools. For instance: intensive development of skills and attitudes, economic and entrepreneurial knowledge of students in lectures, connecting schools together, value student’s specific path to give value to a specific educational background which has developed entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.
Finally, the third approach of the Agency’s strategy is to “keep the flame alive”. The Agency creates the conditions to facilitate the development of young entrepreneur’s projects, provides guidance and coaching, highlights success stories and supports a Walloon network connecting young entrepreneurs and offering them opportunities.
The strategy grants importance to be inclusive and works with different school profiles in order to touch every young people. The Agency also pays particular attention to women’s entrepreneurship.
In 2007, the Agency launched for the first time the “Walloon Programme for Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship” as part of the first Marshall Plan. A call for “innovative projects” was launched. The Agency worked with students, teachers and schools (from primary school to Universities). The current plan 2014-2020 is the continuity of this first plan but it is adapted to new realities.
At federal level, the Minister of self-employed workers and middle classes has created the status “student-entrepreneur” for students under 25 years old. This law will come into effect the 1st of January 2017. This is a tax and social status which supports entrepreneur’s students who earn money thanks to their entrepreneurial activity while they are still at school. They used to be disadvantaged compare to the ones with a student job regarding the tax collecting.
The Agency charged to support Entrepreneurship in the Brussels Region is "Impulse".
The Agency makes sure that each Walloon school ensures information about Walloon economy, entrepreneurial possibilities, and entrepreneurship awareness to every student. With this in mind, the Agency works with officers in charge of raising awareness about entrepreneurship. They encounter headteachers and teachers to raise awareness about entrepreneurship, promote the entrepreneurial teaching method and the importance to bring this competence into curricula across schools. They are the ambassadors of entrepreneurship in schools.
The Agency also launches “calls for projects” for activities for students to discover the “entrepreneurship world”. For instance, bringing a professional entrepreneur in school, role-playing, e-learning on the entrepreneurial thematic, etc.
Higher education is a chosen partner for the Agency. The strategy aims at developing more concrete activities with high schools and Universities dedicated to entrepreneurial activity and economy. The Agency supports these schools financially or with actions lead by associations or private operators. The objective is to create, develop or intensify lectures focused on entrepreneurship activity (how to make a business plan, accounting, etc.). These lectures are fully part of the academic programme and are part of the ECTS system.
The Agency intends to develop assessment tools to validate skills acquired through academic curricula or through non-formal or informal learning.
Walloon Universities have developed a status for students with a specific profile. It recognises entrepreneurial, disabled, sports and artist students a specific profile which offers them more flexibility with their timetable. It is an initiative of Universities and higher education schools themselves. Therefore, the status and its features differ depending on the University.
The Agency Innovation Enterprise works mainly with formal and non-formal education.
However, the Agency cooperates with the International Youth Office. The programme “Entrechok” addresses directly young people. It offers them the possibility to travel abroad to develop their entrepreneurship project.
The International Youth Office is also a partner for a European project named “programme AKI” which aims at assessing and adding value to skills acquired by young people through an international mobility project.
The Agency considers the teacher as a key-person for the development of entrepreneurship. The teacher needs to be supported to take initiatives to develop the entrepreneurship skills and competences among its students. The AEI’s strategy focuses some of its actions in the training of teachers of formal and non-formal learning accordinf to its strategic plan. AEI offers:
- tools such as the comic 'Antoine and Laura create their company'. It is distributed to pupils with instructions for use to teachers. An other tool is a book '50 minutes to take action' which gives ideas to insert entrepreneurship in regular lectures, etc.
- specific training like working groups about entrepreneurship teaching,
- networking to connect teachers and enterprises.
There is no certification in entrepreneurship teaching.