Since 2011 it is possible for schools in Austria to be certified as an Entrepreneurship School. What is the general idea behind it and how does the process work?

Based on the priorities set by the European Union, both the Austrian Ministry of Education and the Education Directorates see Entrepreneurship Education (EE) as a particularly important component of good school education. This priority is highlighted in a certificate, which aims to make the certified school more attractive, confirms its holistic approach of Entrepreneurship activities as well as their goal-oriented and long-term implementation in everyday school life. Currently 61 schools are certified, 23 schools are in the process of being certified.

The certification serves as a measure to ensure and increase the quality of EE, which is already anchored as a general educational goal in the curricula of all vocational schools. It confirms that in the school concerned, entrepreneurship activities are implemented systematically on all levels from students to teachers to parents to companies, from classroom management to school leadership. If EE is to be sustainable, it must be integrated in the school development process and be supported and lived by all those involved. Young people should be supported in becoming innovative, sustainable and critical entrepreneurs as well as intrapreneurs. Consequently, measures to promote entrepreneurial thinking are as much an integral part of the everyday life of an Entrepreneurship School as the steady drive for personality development and education to become a responsible citizen.

Before a school decides on certification, a survey of the status quo (e.g. school culture, attitudes, authenticity) must be conducted. It is essential for a successful implementation and certification that the majority of the teachers and the school management are behind the certification. Appropriate training events should ensure that the teachers are familiarized with the principles of EE. Finally, the school formulates the goals of the certification, specifies concrete implementation measures and defines responsibilities. An entrepreneurship steering group will be set up, consisting of teachers from the various departments and actively involving the school management. The team must include a business teacher and a general educator.

The certification of an entire school usually takes a year or more and includes criteria from the following areas:

A. Activities at the school
B. Basics for teachers
C. Organizational framework
D. Additional freely selectable optional criteria

Mandatory criteria from area A – Basic Level:
– Organization of an Entrepreneurship Day
– Exploration of a company or organization
– Participation in an external competition for business ideas
– Extracurricular study groups (initiated by teachers)
– Presentation of EE measures at the open-door day
– Training Firm/Junior Company
– Commitment to sustainability, based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
– Use of challenges from the YouthStart program (
– Working with digital tools

Mandatory criteria from area A – Advanced Level:
– Activities with reference to the Global Entrepreneurship Week (in November)
– Extracurricular study groups (initiated by students)
– Debating Club
– External additional qualifications of the students

Mandatory criteria from area B – Basic level:
– Basic training on the topic of EE
– Attendance of relevant seminars on the subject of EE
– Program for directors
– Internal school cooperation of those responsible for EE

Mandatory criteria from area B – Advanced Level:
– Teamwork of teachers
– Advanced training on the topic of EE
– Working with entrepreneurs

Mandatory criteria from area C – Basic Level:
– school mission statement
– website
– Documentation of entrepreneurship activities and successes
– Social media presence
– Involvement of student representatives

Mandatory criteria from area C – Advanced Level:
– Involvement of parents
– Public Relations
– Networking with graduates of the school

A complete list with detailed description of the criteria, their objectives and evidence is available from the responsible bodies (

Authored by: Mario Vötsch, University College of Teacher Education Tyrol

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