Programs educate tomorrow’s leaders

Norway invests in entrepreneurs of the future through associations like Young Enterprise

Photo: UE Rogaland Natalie Flesjå, CEO of Smartfood UB, spent last October 14 trailing Norway’s Crown Prince as part of JA-YE’s leader for a day program. Shown here accepting a different award.

Photo: UE Rogaland
Natalie Flesjå, CEO of Smartfood UB, spent last October 14 trailing Norway’s Crown Prince as part of JA-YE’s leader for a day program. Shown here accepting a different award.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

We have the ambition that Norway should be an international leader in entrepreneurship education. The government’s action plan for such education has had an important role in putting entrepreneurship on the agenda and also in the continuation of the government’s efforts to focus on entrepreneurship in education.

The action plan has been evaluated by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research, and Education and Eastern Norway Research Institute. Their conclusion is that it is important to continue to have a strong focus on entrepreneurship education in the future. Entrepreneurship is a key factor for change and development of the society, and expertise in entrepreneurship is a competence that should be encouraged at all levels of education.

Norway has received international accolade for its work on entrepreneurship in education. It was the first country to present a national strategy for entrepreneurship in education and training. Since 2004, entrepreneurship in education and training has been a prioritized area in our educational policy, and Norway has been a leading force in Europe.

Junior Achievement—Young Enterprise Norway (JA-YE) offers training in entrepreneurship to pupils and students at all levels of education. Their wish is to give children and young people an understanding of the significance of wealth creation and innovation in business life. Therefore they are a major partner in the government’s efforts for the promotion of entrepreneurship in education and training.

I have written about JA-YE before. Let me therefore just mention their “leader for a day program.” Leader for a day lets young entrepreneurs follow a leader for a day. In October the 18-year-old female CEO of the young enterprise Smartfood UB followed H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon through an ordinary day at work. The event was initiated by JA-YE Norway and ManpowerGroup 13 years ago. The aim is to recognize young entrepreneurs that go the extra mile, give them insight into the responsibilities and tasks of top leaders, and elevate the status of young entrepreneurs in society. Three ministers and top leaders from some of the biggest companies and organizations in Norway participated in last year’s program.

According to the evaluation, JA-YE is crucial for entrepreneurship education in Norway. They have a crucial role in offering entrepreneurship learning opportunities in our school system. The evaluators recommend that we continue the cooperation between the government and JA-YE and to increase the support to the organization. Secondly, they recommend that JA-YE should continue its work on higher education but at the same time keep up the pace of growth in compulsory education. Thirdly, they suggest strengthening the cooperation between JA-YE and initial teacher training institutions in order to increase knowledge and competence through continuous professional development among teachers.

Keep up the good work, entrepreneurs and educators!

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 12, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.