Inclusive entrepreneurship in Lisbon

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The COPIE methodology was tested in Lisbon, a distressed urban area in Portugal in phase one of the testing process. Their full report is available at http://www.copie.esflive.eu/ (documents). The study found that development of an overall inclusive entrepreneurship policy is at an early stage; the main support organisations still do not work well together. What entrepreneurship support there is tends to be in the context of specific projects, that are necessarily limited in time and scope.

Strengths and weaknesses of inclusive entrepreneurship in Lisbon

Although it is possible to identify inclusive entrepreneurship measures in Portugal, there is still little widespread awareness of the potential contribution of specifically ‘inclusive’ entrepreneurship to job creation amongst groups and areas disadvantaged in the current labour market.

Improving the culture and conditions for inclusive entrepreneurship and facilitating the consolidation and growth of business were identified as the major challenges. Successful experimental local projects (e.g. under EQUAL) call for a deeper understanding of the role of local inclusive entrepreneurship agencies in the national business support system and how learning from key projects can be mainstreamed

TABLE TO COME

  • The tool was tested on 4 (local and national) policy makers, 9 specialist advisers and 18 entrepreneurs (6 from projects and 12 from outside) and the animators of the two National Thematic Networks on “Entrepreneurship”.
  • Advisers autonomously filled in the tool and telephone interviews were only used when clarification was needed.
  • The tool was useful with both local and national policy makers.
  • The tool provided both a scoring procedure and a basis for semi-structured interviews to collect qualitative information on entrepreneurs’ real situations.
  • The tool helped to identify the major challenges to inclusive entrepreneurship and revealed the scattered nature of existing services.
  • It also contributed to raising awareness among all the involved stakeholders around the issues and challenges involved in “inclusive entrepreneurship”

Ways forward for COPIE in Lisbon

  • The tool needs to take into account potential illiteracy amongst respondents - similarly, questions about education are only relevant for people who attended.
  • Some people struggled to answer questions about the “wide range of financial products” because they could not even conceive what these might be.
  • It needs to be clarified that questions on entrepreneurs’ training do not simply refer to a traditional model of training in a classroom.
  • Many questions are too focused on intentions and efforts rather than results
  • Policy makers can only usefully be questioned about their area of expertise
  • It is often necessary to clarify if the statements concern entrepreneurship in general or if they concern specifically “inclusive entrepreneurship”