For the global accountancy body, this blueprint is timely, and entails many constructive proposals. The challenges will however lie in their implementation and the resources allocated by Member States, as well as a mobilisation of all stakeholders to win the bet of cultural change.
As we emerge from one of the most severe economic crises of the last century, its effects continue to be profoundly felt within society. It is clear that the balance of the economy must change. New companies - especially SMEs - represent the most important source of new jobs - creating 4.1 million new jobs every year in Europe- and, as demonstrated in a study recently published by ACCA, high growth oriented entrepreneurs ( or GOEs ) in both developing and developed economies have a key role to play in driving and reinvigorating economic growth.
Rosana Mirkovic, head of SME policy at ACCA says: 'In this globalised world where adaptation and creativity are vital to the survival of businesses, ACCA fully supports the European Commission’s call on member states to create the right supportive environment to enable the millions of Europeans willing to start a business to do so. We acknowledge however that this will require a real cultural change in the mentality of EU decision-makers and citizens, accompanied by solid concrete bold measures. It is surprising to see that whilst only 11% of European citizens are entrepreneurs, 45% aspire to be their own boss. The EU lags behind its competitors in entrepreneurial attitudes.
'With this in mind, we welcome the focus placed on the shift in entrepreneurial culture. The long term initiatives set out by the Commission are essential if we are to see a meaningful change in Europe. However, while such initiatives take time and consistency, we must be careful that they do not take our attention away from the more immediate needs of today’s existing and aspiring entrepreneurs for whom the economic climate, access to finance and the regulatory environment continue to present a serious challenge,' Rosana Mirkovic explains.
ACCA shares the EU executive view that Europe needs more entrepreneurs and must build a new economy that seeks entrepreneurial solutions to our major challenges. The global accountancy body believes that the European Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan is a good step forward, namely with regard to its innovative proposals in terms of effective entrepreneurship education and training, access to finance, easier transfer of business and second chance for honest bankrupt entrepreneurs. We also welcome the willingness of the Commission to foster the better uptake of digital technologies and help connecting SMEs to the digital world, as this can significantly help new businesses to thrive. We however urge EU and national decision makers to target the right priorities and develop the right frameworks to reward innovation. All this work needs a reliable evidence base which must form the backbone of any new initiatives at both the EU and member state level.
'To bring about the entrepreneurial revolution described in the new Action Plan, entrepreneurship must be placed at the forefront of our future productive EU economy, while providing the right incentives for individuals, organisations and investors. We also urgently need to raise awareness on this crucial issue and engage the society as a whole in order to change in the public perception of entrepreneurs through practical and positive communication, while promoting the added value of entrepreneurs and showcasing the reward of an entrepreneurial career . In this vein, UEAPME and ACCA are organising a roundtable on 22 January in Brussels to discuss and exchanges best practices on how to identify and remove key obstacles to entrepreneurial activities, support entrepreneurs in in crucial phases of the business lifecycle and help them to face challenges', Rosana Mirkovic concludes.