Posted on April 05, 2016

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) recently led a high-level event focusing on the role of entrepreneurship in the transformation of education and tackling youth unemployment in Europe. These topics have been identified by the European Commission as key priorities for 2016. 

The panel and luncheon were hosted in Brussels by Martina Dlabajová, a Member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic. Aiming to inspire an informed dialogue, the event brought together an audience of 30 key European policymakers and industry and civil society representatives. Participants shared their views on entrepreneurship education in Europe, and their experiences of initiatives designed to create a sustainable environment for entrepreneurs to thrive and grow.

Speakers included Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO of WISE; Rodrigo Ballester, Member of the EU Commissioner’s Cabinet on Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport; Antonio Garcia del Riego, Managing Director for European Corporate Affairs at Banco Santander; and Tomi Alakoski, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Me & My City, one of the WISE Awards winning projects in 2014. The Finland-based initiative uses a 500-square metre miniature town to engage young students in basic social, civic and economic concepts.

Mr Yiannouka highlighted the opportunity for policymakers and educators to take action in transforming educational practices, by capitalising on the desire of young people to develop as entrepreneurs.“Although great numbers of youth are being shut out of the labour market due to the failure of education to provide them with relevant skills, young people are increasingly interested in entrepreneurship,” he said.

The event produced several conclusions relevant to policymaking, which the speakers are expected to share with their respective collaborators and audiences through their work, given the growing interest in adjusting education to the needs of the labour market in Europe. WISE is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). The Brussels event was a further opportunity for WISE to bring its global work as an international education organisation before a wider audience in support of QF’s mission of unlocking human potential.