Inclusive Entrepreneurship in Europe - COPIE e-news 03/January 2012

The Community of Practice on Inclusive Entrepreneurship (COPIE) is a learning network of ESF Managing Authorities and Implementing Bodies at national and regional level in Europe. The COPIE partners share a common concern to widen entrepreneurship and make support systems work better across diverse populations. They have developed and tested a set of tools to analyse and improve their support structure for inclusive entrepreneurship. This will help regional and national policy makers as well as ESF and ERDF Managing Authorities from across Europe to design and deliver successful inclusive entrepreneurship support.

New COPIE Story of the Month: Quality management and inclusive entrepreneurship support

Process OverviewEurope’s start-up support market is still characterised by a lack of a recognised professional profile for business advisors and, as a consequence, by a lack of transparency in service provision. This is particularly critical for the context of inclusive entrepreneurship where many people start-up as sole-traders and in search of alternative employment opportunities.
Over the course of the last two years, COPIE partners from Germany, Spain, the regions of Andalusia, Extremadura and Galicia have worked on a new COPIE standard for quality management in business advice. Read more about this work and the suite of new tools that were developed in COPIE’s new Story of the Month.

Technical Workshop on COPIE Manual on Access to Finance held in Brussels on Dec 15-16, 2011

Technical WorkshopOn December 15-16, 2011 members of the COPIE Thematic Working Group on Access to Finance met in Brussels for a technical workshop on its key product, the ESF Manual on Access to Finance. The Manual aims at delivering more information for ESF bodies to implement microfinance and self-employment as useful tools to combat exclusion in the new programming period under the strategic framework of the “Europe 2020” strategy. Its structure reflects the needs of the ESF bodies in designing and implementing microfinance support schemes, following a step -by-step approach relating to the overall policy cycle.

The group of 24 workshop participants included Managing Authorities from Sardinia, Lombardy, Calabria, Lombardy, Sardinia, Basilicata, Latvia and Greece. Presentations from Sardinia and Latvia on their experience with microfinance schemes funded through the ESF can be found here. The COPIE Manual on Access to Finance will be finalised by mid-February and presented at the COPIE Policy Forum in Berlin in April 2012.

COPIE Entrepreneurship Education Diagnosis Tool available for testing – call for interested regions

COPIE Diagnosis ToolBased on the successful COPIE Diagnosis Tool which has so far been applied in 18 geographic locations across Europe, COPIE has now finalised a diagnostic tool for assessing national or regional entrepreneurship education systems. The COPIE Entrepreneurship Education Tool aims at gaining an insight into the state-of-the-art of entrepreneurship education in a given location by taking into account perspectives from different stakeholders. Regions and countries in Europe who work with entrepreneurship education through the European Structural Funds as well as selected representatives from the EU Commission have provided crucial input to the development of the tool. The tool is now available for testing. In case of interest please find details of the COPIE member to contact here.

New COPIE Guide on Resources Map for Integrated Business Support

COPIE GuideCOPIE’s Thematic Working Group on Integrated Business Support has published a new guide on how to use their central tool of the ‘Resources Map’. This aim of this tool is help policy makers and ESF Managing Authorities to achieve an integrated and inclusive support service for entrepreneurs in their regions and countries. It allows regions to identify organisations, clarify services provided and detect available resources to organize all existing business support services in one area.

As a result, policy-makers are able to better plan future actions and programmes to promote entrepreneurship in their area and address respective gaps in the support infrastructure.
The guide is available for download here.

Save the date: date for final COPIE Policy Forum now confirmed!

COPIE Policy ForumThe COPIE Policy Forum will be held in Berlin on April 16-17, 2012. It is the final event of the current COPIE partnership as financed through DG Employment’s ESF Learning Network programme. Its format will be based on the successful COPIE Mid Term event in March 2011. COPIE partners invite policy-makers, ESF and ERDF Managing Authorities and business support intermediaries from across Europe to discuss the results of COPIE's work. The Policy Forum will showcase the COPIE Toolkit for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and it provides an opportunity for interested partners to obtain a more detailed insight on the modes of implementation and the added value of individual COPIE tools to support inclusive entrepreneurship through the Structural Funds.

Inclusive Entrepreneurship in the City of Vienna – new report available for download on COPIE website

New Report available for downloadThe City of Vienna is the 18th geographical location where the COPIE Diagnosis Tool has been applied. The final report on the results of this report is now available in German for download here. It provides an assessment of existing support structures as perceived by policy-makers, advisors and entrepreneurs and gives recommendations for future action. An executive summary in English will be provided shortly.

Access to Finance in Germany – new website on German Microfinance Fund launched

Acess to Finance in GermanyThis month, the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Economy and the GLS Bank have launched a brand new website on microfinance in Germany Business starters can get a comprehensive overview on conditions, partner institutions and processes to obtain a loan. In addition, they can read about case studies from those who have succeeded in receiving a loan. A short image film on six credit stories also features prominently on the new site.

The German Microfinance Fund was set up with funds from the European Social Fund by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs together with the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology two years ago. Since then, it has provided security for more than 6600 small loans with a total volume of almost 40 million EUR. More details about the Fund can also be found in our previous COPIE Story of the Month.