ESADE: Entrepreneurs are Key to Spain's Future

With unemployment at more than 26 percent, Spain needs to do something to pull its economy out of its five-year slump.  ESADE, the Spanish business school, has some ideas.

For one, Spain needs more entrepreneurs, but that’s not going to happen without creating an environment that supports entrepreneurship, says Eugenia Bieto, director general of ESADE.

“A society needs entrepreneurs capable of innovating and creating wealth,” she said at a gathering of political, academic, and business leaders in Catalonia on Oct. 1, “but to achieve this, we need to create an ecosystem that favors their emergence and development.”

Bieto proposed that business schools take responsibility for educating people on how to start businesses, teaching students as early as elementary school about entrepreneurship, linking entrepreneurs to existing companies that might buy their startups, and creating a “startup visa” that would allow foreigners to create and maintain businesses in Spain.

Luisa Alemany, director of the school’s Entrepreneurship Institute, says such a visa would make it easier for the many foreign students who attend ESADE to start businesses in their adopted country.  “Unless they are European, they are forced to leave,” says Alemany. “This is a pity, because this talent could also help our economy to grow.”

ESADE is already instructing teachers and directors of primary and secondary schools in creating educational programming on entrepreneurship. As a business school, ESADE has a responsibility to turn Spain into an “entrepreneurial nation,” says Alemany.

“This means that people are not scared of failure, they take risks, they like challenges, and are optimistic about the future,” she adds. “Right now, it is very much the opposite. To get out from this crisis, a new mentality is needed.”

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