From policy to practice: Entrepreneurship education in Finland

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has published 2017 guidelines for entrepreneurship education, entitled “Entrepreneurship for Education – Guidelines in Finland” at different levels of education. A broad range of stakeholders are included in these guidelines, for example, education providers and developers, local, regional and national policymakers in the education and training sector, and entrepreneurs and organizations that support entrepreneurship.

The Guidelines help the leadership and staff in educational institutions and other stakeholders in entrepreneurship education to evaluate and develop their activities. In addition, they provide tips and support for planning the practical work.

Education policies promoting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial society

In Finland, the approach to entrepreneurial mindsets and entrepreneurial skills is highly stressed, meaning that entrepreneurship education is not only about, for example, start-up creation. Among these, it is about creativity, innovative ability, risk management capability, ability to take responsibility, setting goals and managing activities to achieve those goals. Also, in Finland, the labour market transformation emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurial competencies. 

In Finland, entrepreneurship policies facilitate the evaluation of and development of entrepreneurship education activities by providing concrete support to the management and staff of educational institutions. These policies also offer tips and help with planning the practical work of educational institutions.

However, like in many other countries, educational institutions in Finland are autonomous institutions and implement entrepreneurship education in many ways. This also continues to challenge the education system, even though entrepreneurship education in Finland has been promoted extensively in various sectors during the decades.

SKILLOON from Finland

In response to these educational challenges, Finnish SKILLOON learning has been developed, for example, besides other varied activities in Finland, with the support of the Finnish National Agency of Education and the European Union Social Fund. SKILLOON offers non-traditional courses in, for example, entrepreneurship, working life skills, and entrepreneurial and innovative thinking. Students begin to reflect on their current activities and performance during their studies, seek and acquire new information and knowledge, plan new solutions, and implement planned activities. In SKILLOON distance-learning courses, the student completes self-developing assignments. They also make unique use of new technologies. Courses are from high school to college.

SKILLOON meaningfully integrates modern learning technology and research-based content grounded in psychology, education, and business, such as entrepreneurship. SKILLOON includes courses, assignments, mentoring opportunities, assessment tools, and gaming elements to track progress. Students also receive feedback based on artificial intelligence.

The SKILLOON learning environment has received numerous grants and notifications from the European Union and the Finnish government. It is part of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture strategy. SKILLOON has spread from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. It is also part of the Finnish government’s official education export concept operated by Not a Bad Idea Ltd. 

Written by Mirva Jalo & Jaana Seikkula-Leino, Not a Bad Idea Ltd. 

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