Entrepreneurship education at the centre of attention

Tuesday 19 November Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum hosted the recurring event Swedish Economic Forum. The authors and knowledgeable commentators discussed, among other things: Is it possible to learn entrepreneurship? How can entrepreneurship education provide the keys to facing the future? Is entrepreneurship education profitable?

Entrepreneurship education

Saras D. Sarasvathy, Professor at University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, began by arguing as to why it might be a sound idea to teach entrepreneurship to a wider audience. Furthermore, she criticised policymakers for implementing policy with a quite narrow approach, whereby entrepreneurship is viewed as an end in and of itself as opposed to a means to an end.

Entrepreneurship should be taught to a wider audience. Indeed, teach entrepreneurship to pupils and students, but also to decision-makers and politicians.

Saras D. Sarasvathy


Entrepreneurship education should take inspiration from the scientific method to teach a systematic approach on how entrepreneurs can shape the world. Science is a method of predictive control whereas entrepreneurship is a method of non-predictive control. It builds on science, but is not the same as science. Saravathy’s own model effectual entrepreneurship seeks to co-create new futures, even in the face of multiple uncertainties and a variety of resource constraints.

History does not act on autopilot. Entrepreneurs are important actors who navigate the plane towards our future destination.

Saras D. Sarasvathy


Entrepreneurship education for social change

Niels Bosma, senior lecturer at Utrecht University School of Economics, argued for society’s vital role to encourage and enable entrepreneurship. Especially during times of rapid technological change, societal challenges, and a growing uncertainty regarding the future of the labor market.

The world calls for individuals that embrace the ever-increasing uncertainty.

Niels Bosma


Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education is key to unlocking success in our future endeavors. Bosma strongly favored the emergence of social entrepreneurship and argued that it plays a pivotal role to create novel solutions to some of today’s most pressing concerns. Especially concerning UN:s Sustainable Development Goals which necessitate entrepreneurial solutions.

We must feed the narrative that enable entrepreneurs to reclaim their spot in the limelight, to continue to push the envelope.

Does entrepreneurship education work at university?

Niklas Elert, PhD at the Swedish Research Institute for Industrial Economics, has studied whether or not entrepreneurship education actually pays off in the end, if the benefits outweigh the costs. Elert presented studies that show divergent results. Nonetheless, he emphasised that a crucial factor to whether or not entrepreneurship education pays off is how much capital is allocated to the education.

The answer could be to allocate a smaller amount of money per student.

Whereby Elert highlight that the initiative Junior Achievement is very successful, despite being relatively low-cost.

Pernilla Heed, Niklas Elert and Gustav Hägg


Gustav Hägg, PhD at Sten K. Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship, Lund University, point out that previous research show how entrepreneurs learn from experience, which is a prime reason as to why entrepreneurship education is oftentimes particularly hands-on. Hägg argue that a hands-on approach is indeed important, as it teaches valuable competences. Although, he simultaneously contend that entrepreneurship education need to incorporate additional theoretical components in order to capitalise on the practical knowledge, and thereby turn entrepreneurship education into successful entrepreneurship. Hence, successful entrepreneurship education necessitates a balance between both practical and theoretical elements.

My policy recommendation is to design entrepreneurship education that teaches theoretical knowledge which enable individuals to develop practical experience into entrepreneurial competence.

Pernilla Heed, Niklas Elert and Gustav Hägg


Does entrepreneurship education work in Swedish schools?

Rasmus Rahm, PhD at Stockholm School of Economics and CEO at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, Karin Di Luca, development leader and teacher in Huddinge municipality and Pontus Ekstam, quality manager at Junior Achievement Sweden, all concurred about the importance to educate Swedish pupils in entrepreneurship. Although Rahm interposed by stating that it is not always that straightforward.

One of the reasons is the plethora of different definitions on entrepreneurship, which entail that Swedish schools teach entrepreneurship in different ways.

Pernilla Heed, Rasmus Rahm, Karin Di Luca, Pontus Ekstam


Di Luca agreed with Bosma and took a positive stance on the emergence of social entrepreneurship and its increasing influence within entrepreneurship education. Furthermore, she suggested how the entrepreneurship education within Sweden could be improved.

Revise the curriculum and give the subject of entrepreneurship the recognition it deserves.

Moreover, Di Luca asserted that teachers must be continuously educated about entrepreneurship.

Rasmus Rahm, Karin Di Luca, Pontus Ekstam


Pontus Ekstam called for a clearer connection in the curriculum between entrepreneurship and other subjects.

Albeit entrepreneurship is included in the curriculum, it has moved into the background. We should strive to integrate entrepreneurship education as a component within all the other subjects.

How do we develop the prospects to educate entrepreneurs?

Tobias Krantz, Head of Policy for Education, Research, and Innovation at The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, argued that social entrepreneurship is no longer a branch within entrepreneurship, it has progressed into a phenomenon in its own right.

Entrepreneurship policy must not always be grandiose. It can just as well be small-scale. The politicians themselves might do well to think more entrepreneurial and implement policy experimentation.

Tobias Krantz and Gunilla Svantorp


Gunilla Svantorp, (S), insisted that we should frame entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education as a lifelong process that permeate throughout the entire life, not only during the education itself.

Interdisciplinary efforts in school is a prerequisite that enable young entrepreneurs to implement entrepreneurial solutions.