Education and skills: empowering Europe’s young innovators

Specific Challenge

Creativity, entrepreneurial skills, risk taking adaptability and innovation capacity, problem solving skills, skills related to effective teamwork and sharing information and knowledge, may all be key competitive advantages for Europeans, starting from young children. To make the best of this potential, it is essential that schools and educational institutions, as well as non-formal ways of learning, empower Europe’s young innovators with the skills they need from early on in life. Empowering the young through skills for innovation and entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship, is particularly important to building more inclusive societies giving opportunities to all, including young innovators from less privileged backgrounds or those with disabilities in order to address inequalities.

The challenge to be addressed by this topic is to improve learning and teaching in innovation-related skills for young boys and girls at the age of primary and secondary education through the design and piloting of new innovative ways of skills education, including technologies, processes and relations.


New approaches for educating skills need to be developed, piloted and scaled up. There is a lack of sufficient collaboration with entrepreneurial stakeholders in teaching and students practice, and a lack of inter-generational learning. Young people need to be supported with tools, resources and an open environment encouraging experimentation and the development of joint projects including based on interdisciplinary approaches. Effective supporting schemes should guide young people into their entrepreneurial journey.

Building upon existing initiatives in Europe, the consortia (which shall include entrepreneurial partners, and may include partners from civil society and the social economy) shall develop new approaches and innovative models for skills education targeted at young people.

The involvement of young people in the activities of the consortium (not just as recipients of the outputs) is essential. This may include new inter-active methods and new pedagogical modules that will be easily accessible and part of an open platform, which will aim to reach out to thousands of schools and learning sites across Europe. The innovative schemes and new modules will enable the young, future innovators, to develop new capabilities and experimentation attitudes and turn their ideas into successful entrepreneurial and social projects.

Promising new models combining technologies with organisational change and building new participatory relations in learning processes - can be tested and adapted in different regions. The innovative models shall be piloted through the schools and/or other businesses and communities, providing young people with a practical set of creative and entrepreneurial skills that will open them up to a world of new possibilities and future jobs.

Within the scope of the action is to develop new models, to investigate and to test new mechanisms that the young generation is engaging in, for addressing societal challenges coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit as well as effective ways and mechanisms for collecting and promoting innovative ideas from the young people. Particular attention should be paid to gender issues.

The action should take into account and coordinate with, where appropriate, with other EU and national initiatives in the field, such as those supported in the context of Erasmus+ strategic partnerships and policy experimentation.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The action will pave the way for innovating learning and teaching practices, so that innovation skills are part of a person's education, formal and informal, at schools and interacting communities as well as on-line. This will boost innovation and entrepreneurship capacity, bringing together many stakeholders including from education, traditional business, the social and service economy and volunteering schemes. It will thereby empower young innovators across Europe, provide for innovative business models and give them tools to engage in society and channel their energies to create opportunities for the future. In the long run the topic contributes to higher youth employment and to creating new markets and new jobs.

The knowledge generated as a result of the actions should be disseminated across Europe to benefit the largest numbers of young innovators.

Application date
Social sciences