ENTRUM is a youth entrepreneurship training programme that was developed by Estonia’s biggest energy corporation (Eesti Energia) in 2010 as part of its long-term corporate social responsibility initiative. It now receives public funding, and financial and in-kind support from more than 500 partners. Its mission is to promote the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set and provide free entrepreneurship education to young people in Estonia.
Estonia faces a number of economic and social challenges, including the emigration of young adults. There is also an under-developed entrepreneurial culture, particularly among youth. ENTRUM surveys show that fewer than 5% of the youth population view entrepreneurship as a career option. In response, the Estonian Government developed a new education strategy and an entrepreneurship education development plan, ‘Be Enterprising!’, to promote creativity, an enterprising attitude, problem solving skills and risk management among Estonian youth.
The training programme is implemented in collaboration with the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Economics and Communications. It relies on more than 500 partners, including local governments, businesses, incubators, regional development centres, universities, youth organisations and non-profit organisations. The project provides three modules of entrepreneurship training for students over a seven-month period as well as access to a professional network comprising business professionals and successful entrepreneurs. The first module, ‘Inspiration Hour’, aims to promote entrepreneurship using successful Estonian entrepreneurs as role models. The second module consists of seven one-day training seminars on topics such as goal setting, planning and teamwork. The third module is a team start-up project under the guidance of mentors. Following this module, the students can participate in the ‘I Am an Entrepreneur!’ competition. ENTRUM participants are selected through an application process and efforts are made to ensure that young people with disabilities and those from low income families are represented. The project is funded by the energy corporation (95%) and the Enterprise Development Foundation (5%).
In the academic years 2010-12, 1 119 students participated in ENTRUM, of which 60% were female. The participants started 59 businesses and the most successful start-up has more than 60 employees. The project has received a number of awards, including the Swedish Business Award in 2011. The scheme illustrates an approach that has effectively engaged a large number of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to organize and deliver entrepreneurship training widely. The project has also effectively used online outreach methods to raise awareness of ENTRUM and to showcase participants’ projects.
This case study was adapted from material published in: OECD/The European Commission (2013), The Missing Entrepreneurs: Policies for Inclusive Entrepreneurship in Europe, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264188167-en