Finland ranked number one among 50 countries in entrepreneurship education

Finland was included in the new global report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), which examines entrepreneurship. The report was published in early 2022. According to the report, Finland is the number one country in entrepreneurship education.
University of Oulu, 2019

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is a project that produces international information on entrepreneurship and the development of entrepreneurial attitudes, expectations, intentions, motivations and activities around the world every year. Entrepreneurship education is one of the matters under review. The theme of the GEM 2021/2022 report is Opportunity Amid Disruption.

Entrepreneurship education as one framework condition under review

The GEM report is based on two different surveys, one of which has at least 2000 respondents in each participating country. The second survey, aimed at experts, has at least 36 respondents in each participating country.

In Finland, the expert organisation currently involved with GEM is Suomen Yrittäjät ry [Federation of Finnish Enterprises], which has commissioned the surveys from Taloustutkimus, a Finnish market research company. According to Mika Kuismanen, Vice President, Chief Economist at Suomen Yrittäjät, 36 experts / social influencers have responded to the expert survey in Finland, representing a wide range of areas, such as finance, education and administration.

The respondents to the expert survey used 13 framework conditions to assess the entrepreneurial ecosystem in their own country. Entrepreneurial Education at School is one of these conditions describing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The statements are assessed on an 11-level scale, where 0 stands for complete disagreement and 10 stands for complete agreement.

The framework condition Entrepreneurship Education at School is described in the expert survey by the following three statements:

  1. In my country, primary and secondary education support creativity, self-sufficiency and initiative
  2. In my country, primary and secondary education provide sufficient instruction on the principles of the market economy.
  3. In my country, entrepreneurship and business creation are adequately taken into account in primary and secondary education.

The results of the Finnish expert survey and a comparison with the results from the reference countries are presented in Figure 1.

13 teemaa yrittäjyyden ekosysteemin arviointiin, Suomen asiantuntijakyselyn tulokset ja vertailu verrokkimaiden ryhmän tuloksiin.

Figure 1. Expert ratings of the entrepreneurial framework conditions. Entrepreneurship Education at School can be found in section D1. Source: Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions; Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021/2022 Global Report, p. 110

In the assessment of the framework condition Entrepreneurial Education at School (D1), Finland ranks first among the 50 countries under review. According to Finnish respondents, entrepreneurship education in Finnish schools is at level six (6). A sufficient level is considered to be level five (5), above which only four other countries are ranked in addition to Finland: the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Norway and Qatar.

Further research is needed on the good practices and significance of entrepreneurship education

According to Professor Matti Muhos, Director of the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute, the GEM report’s positive results on entrepreneurship education correlate with experiences of the practices of entrepreneurship education in Finland. In Finland, knowledge-based entrepreneurship education is carried out and systematically promoted in many areas. In Northern Ostrobothnia, for example, entrepreneurship education is guided by an entrepreneurial education strategy that covers all levels of education, and entrepreneurship education is included in the curricula.

The number of new companies also reflects the work that has been carried out. However, according to the World Bank, Finland is still lagging behind the Nordic countries, especially Estonia, in terms of the number of start-ups in proportion to the working-age population.

We need more information and social debate on the role of entrepreneurship education in order to overcome this gap. In the future, it will be important to define how entrepreneurship education can be developed and taken to the next level, Muhos says.

The GEM report provides an interesting view of the current state of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education. However, further research is required in this area. It would be interesting to compare the views of the respondents to the expert survey with, for example, the views of teachers and other experts working in schools. For example, a model for assessing entrepreneurial culture, developed by MicroENTRE in conjunction with a project, can be used for this purpose. Find out more at (in Finnish only). It would also be interesting to compare the results with other studies on entrepreneurship education and its implementation.

Heli Vaara, Project Manager, MSc (Econ & BusAdm), University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute, Micro-Entrepreneurship Centre MicroENTRE

More information:

GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) (2022). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021/2022 Global Report: Opportunity Amid Disruption. London: GEM.