Preface by the European Commission

Inclusive entrepreneurship refers to the range of policies helping certain groups to set up and grow their business. Women, young people and migrants face specific and often greater hurdles on the path to entrepreneurship, as do people with disabilities, seniors or the unemployed.

Major progress has been achieved during the last decades. Targeted support programmes have been put in place and mentoring and training schemes are now offered in many EU Member States. Above all, it seems that awareness of the problem has grown. Today, administrations know that several million entrepreneurs are missing from the EU labour market! I am particularly proud that the European Commission, thanks to its excellent collaboration with the OECD, has contributed to this common understanding.

Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic shows there is no room for complacency. The Report demonstrates that the crisis had a negative impact on the self-employed and even more severe for those groups for which it was difficult to access compensation measures.

Our efforts must therefore continue. More than ever we need to find ways to empower and mobilise all entrepreneurial talent, irrespective of background. I hope this Report will contribute to improving understanding about what works and what still remains to be done.

The Report is complementary to other joint work we have undertaken with the OECD. For example, our “Policy Briefs” and our joint OECD/EU website Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool are further resources to help policy-makers and stakeholders find relevant material to make their entrepreneurship policies more inclusive and social.

Progress in entrepreneurship needs to go hand in hand with social progress. In this regard, I attach great importance to the 2019 Council Recommendation on access to social protection for all. The Commission will be monitoring its implementation. It also called on Member States to further extend access to social protection, using the exceptional COVID-19 measures as a source of inspiration for structural reforms to improve the protection notably of the self-employed.

I am confident that all our actions for a more empowering environment for the self-employed will increase the number of new entrepreneurs… and reduce the number of missing ones!


Joost Korte


Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion,

European Commission

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