The disadvantaged can succeed in business

OECD Observer Business brief
Managing Partner, ONLYGLASS GMBH
"Social perception is a prerequisite for a level playing field among all entrepreneurs."






Reinhard Cordes
Managing Partner

A promising policy to increase employment and foster social inclusion is the promotion of business creation by the disadvantaged. The potential residing amidst disadvantaged groups such as women, seniors, youth, migrants, unemployed or people with disabilities is enormous. Several methods are available to make this potential a reality. 

In many countries, such as Germany, where an ageing population is becoming a problem, the participation of the disadvantaged in the business world presents a solution. Some of these people have high qualifications–it is a waste not to capitalise on them because their integration into economic activity is relatively more difficult.

In many countries, such as Germany, where an ageing population is becoming a problem, the participation of the disadvantaged in the business world presents a solution. Some of these people have high qualifications–it is a waste not to capitalise on them because their integration into economic activity is relatively more difficult.

There are several factors needed to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of the disadvantaged. Of course, policymakers must provide stable political and legal conditions, as well as a positive climate in society towards entrepreneurs. This social perception is the principal prerequisite for a level playing field among all entrepreneurs. Furthermore, disadvantaged groups need special financial support to build confidence in their business ideas for their realisation.

Two factors, confidence and motivation, decide whether a person creates their own business. Therefore, policymakers must concentrate on how to motivate the disadvantaged to join the entrepreneurial world. Schools and universities should surely be a focus as they have a direct influence on potential candidates. Indeed, universities have the possibility of educating future entrepreneurs in a targeted manner. Television, radio and social media as opinion formers could also be a great support.

Businesses start with an idea. Through partnerships with universities, these ideas can be refined and successfully implemented. This is one reason why German start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises repeatedly succeed in generating outstanding innovations and introducing these into world markets that are dominated by large corporations. The exchange of ideas and monetary support for research and development (R&D) motivate the entrepreneurial spirit. Thus, the disadvantaged can also be encouraged to start their own businesses.

Furthermore, start-ups can be supported by sponsorships from fellow business people who have solidified their market positions. The sponsorship can be financial, such as through equity funding. In addition, management consultancy can be a valuable resource for novices. Business risks are then reduced and the chances of reaching a break-even point are increased.
During the OECD Forum 2014 (, one participant had an interesting suggestion. Organisations such as the OECD could play a key role in promoting disadvantaged entrepreneurs by, for example, creating an internet forum where potential entrepreneurs could post their ideas and solicit assistance. Investors who find the ideas convincing could get in touch with these entrepreneurs and support them. The OECD could even offer an award for promising ideas as an added attraction. Entrepreneurs’ motivation and confidence would rise tremendously. The newly founded enterprises would evolve into the next generation of SMEs forming the new backbone of national economies.






©OECD Observer No 299, Q2 2014

See other OECD Observer Business Briefs

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q4 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% Dec 2017 annual
Trade: +4.3% exp, +4.3% imp, Q3 2017
Unemployment: 5.5% Dec 2017
Last update: 23 Feb 2018


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018