University entrepreneurship support


University graduates have enormous potential for innovation and economic development. Mobilising them for entrepreneurial careers, enhancing their entrepreneurial skills, and providing support for business start-up are important, and often new, tasks for higher education institutions that are only now being fully recognised. In OECD countries public policy has an important role in stimulating innovative and good practice approaches by universities and supporting the exchange of lessons learned.

The LEED Programme was invited by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs in 2005 to collaborate with the six New Federal States in identifying and disseminating good practice in local entrepreneurship development and small business growth. In addition to an assessment of several local economic systems (, this collaboration included a review of entrepreneurship support provided by eastern German universities. The following universities have participated in the exercise to date: Freie University Berlin (November 2008 – February 2009); Martin Luther University in Halle (April – June 2006); Technical University Berlin (November 2008 – February 2009); Beuth Technical University of Applied Science Berlin (November 2008 – February 2009); University of Rostock (September 2008 – December 2008).

Universities in eastern Germany are actively engaged in supporting entrepreneurship. Many have established entrepreneurship professorships, departments and institutes for entrepreneurship that already feature as integral parts of the internal support structure. Dedicated start-up support services by Entrepreneurship Centres and technology transfer units offer would-be entrepreneurs and those already in the start-up process, consultation and access to networks and premises.

The results of LEED work and the eastern German case studies have led to the development of a criteria list of good practice, which shall help those designing and those in charge of entrepreneurship support in universities to self-assess and re-orient their work.

Universities across the OECD countries are invited to participate in to self-assess their current strategies, structures and practices in supporting entrepreneurship against the good practice criteria. To date, 20 universities and university partner organisations in the six eastern German Länder (Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen), England, Finland, France, Poland, South Africa and the United States underwent this exercise.



Further readings:

- International leaning model

- CFE Insight (November 2009): How universities foster entrepreneurship


For more information on the project or to participate in the self-assessment exercise, please contact Andrea-Rosalinde Hofer or Jonathan Potter.



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