Capacity building seminar: Financing business start-up by under-represented groups (Trento, Italy)


27-29 June 2012, Trento, Italy

Organised by the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme and its Trento Centre at the OECD in collaboration with the Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission 


Why / What / Who / How / Contact



The economic crisis has brought an urgency to find non-traditional policy solutions to address persistent high unemployment and to improve the labour market attachment of under-represented groups. Entrepreneurship can play a key role by supporting self-employment and local job creation, but entrepreneurship programmes have not been reaching their full potential because they are not always designed with proven practices that are supported with evidence. The upcoming funding cycle of the European Structural Fund provides an opportunity to think about new approaches to entrepreneurship programmes, building on what works well.

This seminar was part of a three-year programme of cooperation between the European Commission and the OECD LEED Programme to monitor and report on entrepreneurial activity in Europe and related public policies and actions. It focused on how public policy can create jobs through self-employment and entrepreneurship and provide better access to the labour market for under-represented groups. This project will support policy makers to design and deliver effective and efficient entrepreneurship policy support through the provision of robust data and information on public policies that bring positive results.



This seminar provided an opportunity for policy-makers to discuss policy options, objectives, design and results for programmes that support access to business start-up financing by under-represented groups. Particular focus was placed on understanding the key factors that determine why certain policies and programmes have demonstrated positive results and others have not. Participants heard from policy experts and had the opportunity to participate in group work to improve their understanding of the issues and appropriate policy responses.

The aim was to help policy-makers understand the policy issues and success factors in programmes so that they can design effective policy tools that take advantage of the new cycle of structural funding. The findings and conclusions from the seminar will be the impetus for key contributions to the project’s annual report of that will be produced in the fall.

The seminar addressed the following themes:


Knowing your clients and their needs.


Effective policy tools to facilitate access to finance for start-ups by under-represented groups.


Complementing financial support with other support the development of entrepreneurial skills.


Understanding the fundamentals and value of programme evaluation.






The OECD capacity building seminar was addressed to participants committed to the topic of SME development and policy, and willing to contribute to build a highly interactive environment by sharing their experiences and learning from each other. Participants includednational policy-makers and practitioners, experts in SME development and/or SME policy, and representatives of SMEs in the European Countries.



The 2.5-day seminar was structured around a mix of presentations by experts and OECD staff, complemented by discussion and group work that involve case studies and concrete experiences developed by participants prior to the seminar. The workshop was intended to establish a common knowledge among participants and provided them with an experience exchange platform.

New and fresh knowledge was expected to be generated through such exchanges and due to the combination of the experience and knowledge all the participants (speakers, case study presentations, attendees, etc.) will bring.




OECD LEED Trento Centre, Trento – Italy (see map).



For further information on the seminar, please contact  Alessandra Proto at the OECD LEED Trento Centre, Italy or David Halabisky at the OECD LEED Programme, Paris, France.