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Colm O’Gorman and Declan Curran

Encouraging entrepreneurship is a central component of industrial policy in many countries. This chapter investigates how Irish policy-makers have sought to influence the extent and nature of entrepreneurship in Ireland. The authors describe Ireland’s industrial policy and Ireland’s entrepreneurship policy, focusing on the period since 1958. They review critiques of Irish policy. Using data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) they present evidence of the outcomes of entrepreneurship policy. They conclude with a discussion of how the Irish policy experience might inform policy-makers in the ‘new’ Europe. They argue that lessons for policy-makers include: (1) do not pursue stand-alone entrepreneurship policies; (2) target entrepreneurship policies; (3) measure the success of entrepreneurship policies in terms of the impact of entrepreneurship, rather than in terms of increases in the rate of entrepreneurship; and (4) be patient, as industrial development takes time.