Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Handbook: Local youth entrepreneurship support



Shooting for the moon: good practices in local youth entrepreneurship support

April 2010


In the framework of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Governance this handbook presents a criteria list of good practice that can be read as a ‘tool’ to self-assess and re-orient current strategies, structures and practices in youth entrepreneurship support. Short descriptions of good practice initiatives from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States, and Ukraine provide useful guidance.


Very often becoming an entrepreneur is the result of a personal decision making process including assessments of opportunities and their costs (being employed, being unemployed, being one’s own boss), risk-reward relationships (what is at stake), and others. Values, beliefs and behaviours, embedded in the culture of a country and a place, influence this decision. Entrepreneurship education and start-up support, with its two-fold purpose of contributing to the creation and development of entrepreneurial attitudes and motivations and developing the skills needed to successfully run and grow a business, can play an important role in the decision making process.

Promoting youth entrepreneurship has become an area of growing policy interest all over OECD countries and beyond. This OECD definition of entrepreneurship encompasses both the act of running one’s own businesses, and being the entrepreneurial manager or employee of a firm. Over the last decade, the OECD Local Economic and Employment Development Programme (LEED) has produced policy documentation about the positive role of youth entrepreneurship in local development and gave advice on how youth entrepreneurship can be promoted and supported locally by partnerships of public and private agents, underlining the key functions carried out by schools, universities, incubators and business support agencies.

Related readings -  Putting the Young in Business: Policy Challenges for Youth Entrepreneurship (2001); Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme) (2008) and Universities, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2009).


The criteria list

The criteria list for good practice in local youth entrepreneurship support is directed to those who are designing strategies and infrastructure for youth entrepreneurship; and to those who are active in entrepreneurship education and start-up support for young entrepreneurs. The criteria list can be read as a tool to self-assess and re-orient strategies, structures and practices in youth entrepreneurship support grouped into the following three dimensions:


Opportunity creation

Making places conducive to youth entrepreneurship. The higher the recognition and appreciation for entrepreneurship in a place and the deeper entrepreneurial behaviour is embedded in society, the greater the public support for creating the necessary framework conditions, such as availability of financial, human and physical resources and information, the ‘easier’ it is to recognise opportunities and to turn them into business ventures.


Entrepreneurship education

Generating motivation, attitudes and competencies for entrepreneurship. Assisting the establishment of  new firms is a key objective for entrepreneurship education, but not its only one. Creating entrepreneurial mindsets that drive innovation in existing firms is of equal importance, yet success is much more difficult to measure.


Start-up support

Providing a helping hand in business start-up without taking away the ‘do it on your own’. It is all about making, entrepreneurship support systems accessible and attractive for young future entrepreneurs, and about rectifying market and system failures in financing and premises.


Free download

Free download of the handbook.


Contact Details

For further information on this handbook, please contact Andrea-Rosalinde Hofer.