Inclusive entrepreneurship in Berlin Mitte
The COPIE methodology was tested in the pre-test phase in Berlin-Mitte, an urban area with a large number of disadvantaged groups. The full report is available at http://www.copie.esflive.eu/ (documents). Using the tool revealed telling differences in the perception of existing services amongst policy-makers, advisers and entrepreneurs, and highlighted that many of the best received services were provided in the context of specific - but temporary - projects, such as EQUAL initiatives.
Strengths and weaknesses of inclusive entrepreneurship in Berlin-Mitte
Berlin has no single written strategy and integrated structure for providing start-up support for disadvantaged groups as a means to encourage independent job creation. Furthermore, even if the entrepreneurial climate has considerably improved in Germany over recent years, the idea of entrepreneurship as an equal professional alternative has not yet reached the social institutional system.
Assessment of the COPIE process
- The wide scope of the questionnaire gave participants a chance to talk about the issues that concerned them and their own experiences
- The tool raised awareness of inclusive entrepreneurship, especially among policy makers not directly concerned with either inclusion or entrepreneurship.
- It highlighted the lack of coordination (or even the passing of responsibility) between departments on inclusive entrepreneurship
- The tool successfully identified key challenges for the support system for inclusive entrepreneurship in Berlin-Mitte
- It also highlighted revealing differences in perception between the groups
- However, the limited number of interviewees means the results are just an indication of areas for more study and not a representative survey
- The entrepreneurs who were found for interview via the EQUAL projects gave strikingly positive feedback, which is not likely to represent others’ experiences
Ways forward for COPIE in Berlin-Mitte
- The tool can serve as an important instrument to efficiently gather information on the quality of the regional start-up support structures.
- The tool should be applied to regions according to levels of political responsibility. It is not recommended to apply it to small neighbourhoods
- Groups maybe need to be sub-divided more to take into account that people working in specific services tended to rate those areas highly and users tended to rate services aimed at them less highly than for other groups.
- People should not be asked about areas they are not knowledgeable in as their ‘intuitions’ can distort the real picture, but these gaps need to be accounted for
- A wide range of entrepreneurs need to be interviewed - maybe interviews or questionnaires could be used at the time of official registration of the business
- Face-to-face interviews should be preferred to telephone interviews, focus groups or written questionnaires
- Questions should not include more than one aspect (eg asking about services in schools and universities) which might require different answers
- There should be opportunities to distinguish between quality and quantity or accessibility and affordability in the provision of information, advice, support etc.
- More common questions would facilitate comparison of results between groups
- The tool should be able to adapt to situations where a question about a specific service or approach is not seen as relevant in a particular country or region
- The analysis of the results needs to deal with the unavoidably piecemeal data gained from advisors about specific target groups.