The continuing economic gloom across Europe is failing to dampen entrepreneurial spirit if a summit held recently in Brussels is an accurate indicator.

Outwrite PR consultant Sue Ormesher attended the summit, organised by the European Commission, and joined business people from 37 countries to discuss entrepreneurship, the different levels of support and funding available in the member countries and to generally share their experiences.

The summit, which aimed to highlight enterprise across Europe, featured discussions, specialist forums and question and answer sessions, with highlights including inspirational stories of successful business people. These ‘international champions’ included a woman who runs a large shipyard in the Netherlands; a fashion designer from Romania and a businessman running a UK-based food production, product marketing and distribution company.

“The summit was a fascinating event to attend and I was filled with great admiration for all of the entrepreneurs, especially those who have managed to build successful businesses with little or no help in terms of funding, advice or support,” said Sue.

“Particularly when we heard from a female entrepreneur from an Eastern European country where just 11% of women work. She had struggled against the odds, managing to run a successful business, employing people and securing the future for her family.

“During the summit, the importance of entrepreneurship education was discussed and it became apparent that whilst it is flourishing in schools in some European countries, including primary schools, it is virtually non-existent in others.”

The picture seemed mixed in the UK where some schools are clearly embracing entrepreneurship and producing enterprising young people who will flourish when they enter the world of work.

Sue added: “For me, the importance of encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in our young people will be fundamental in helping Europe and the world, to recover from one of the most damaging recessions of our time.”