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Entrepreneurship mission and content in Finnish policy programmes

Jarna Heinonen (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Ulla Hytti (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Pori, Finland)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 15 February 2016




The purpose of this paper is to understand the roles and mission assigned to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs in Finnish entrepreneurship policy, and how they are reflected in policy actions.


A discourse analysis of policy missions and content was conducted based on selected policy documents related to the government entrepreneurship programmes run in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011.


The analysis identifies a clear evolution in the policies over the years, but no radical changes; indicating that policies develop incrementally by adding to previous schemes. In addition, the analysis reveals the changes in focus, measures and key actors involved in the policies. In general, the documents emphasise the need to create more jobs of better quality, to stimulate economic growth and recently also to foster a more sustainable society. There is a limited role for entrepreneurship in introducing innovation and change to society.

Research limitations/implications

Besides analysing entrepreneurship policy there is a need to develop a better understanding of policy entrepreneurship, that is, the promotion of significant policy change. In addition, research evidence needs to be better incorporated into the formulation of policies.

Practical implications

Policymakers should be critical of policy development in order to create truly entrepreneurial policies. In order to promote entrepreneurship, more emphasis should be placed on developing incentives and measures supporting the identification and discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities, not merely on facilitating exploitation.


The paper contributes to entrepreneurship policy discussions by offering fresh insights into where entrepreneurship literature, policies and actions, and social reality intersect. The paper’s main contribution is to clearly show what is being promoted by the entrepreneurship policies and how, and the pitfalls of the current approaches compared to the understanding of entrepreneurship as a phenomenon.



Heinonen, J. and Hytti, U. (2016), "Entrepreneurship mission and content in Finnish policy programmes", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 149-162.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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