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What is a Practice Enterprise?

A Practice Enterprise is a trainee-run company that operates like a real business. It silhouettes a real enterprise’s business procedures, products and services. Under the guidance of a trainer and business mentors, trainees create their Practice Enterprises, from product development, production and distribution to marketing, sales, human resources, finance and web design.

As “employees” of the Practice Enterprise, trainees are challenged, through practical experiences, to manage roles across different departments. They are responsible for its operations and performance. In addition, each company engages in national and international business activities, with other companies within the Practice Enterprise network. All procedures and processes follow standard commercial business frameworks.

Practice Enterprise is an innovative way for trainees to experience working and learning directly with trainees from other countries. Training takes place within a safe learning environment. This work-based hands-on approach helps trainees develop key competencies and readiness for the job market.

Practice Enterprise Key Players


In a Practice Enterprise, the trainees/students are the ‘employees’ and ‘managers’ of their business. They work in teams undertaking the tasks required by the different company departments. This includes finance, purchasing, administration, human resource, sales, and marketing. Once inducted into their business, they spend time in each department, or in one targeted department. They learn the business procedures, tasks, and skills required to ensure their company is viable. Like real employees, they  put to practice the tasks and responsibilities of their role. Trainees acquire transversal skills including teamwork, communication, goal setting, planning, time management, and other competences required for employability.

Training in Practice Enterprise focuses on the following areas:

  1. Ownership: Trainees take responsibility for their learning and learn at their own pace.
  2. Experience: Learning is authentic and realistic according to trainee capacities and abilities.
  3. Cooperation: Trainees practice together with their peers and learn the importance of teamwork.
  4. Reflection: Trainees experience the consequences of their decisions and apply that learning to future challenges.
Trainers and Teachers

In a Practice Enterprise, trainers and teachers adopt the role of a workplace coach or mentor. They facilitate all Practice Enterprise activities: motivating, challenging, supporting the trainees, as they take on roles and responsibilities that are often very different from their usual learning activities.

Initially, the trainer will take a strong role in directing and structuring the Practice Enterprise activities. Then, as the trainees gain more confidence, the trainer slips into a facilitator role. Consequently, trainees operate their Practice Enterprise together, under the supervision of the trainer, while taking responsibility for their learning and business development.

Practice Enterprise trainers and teachers get trained by their national network, and get guides and tools on the business procedures to run a Practice Enterprise carry out evaluations.

National Network Staff

In the Practice Enterprise world, our national networks are part of a ministry, a non-profit association or foundation, or located in an educational institution.

National networks are managed by autonomous national Central Offices. These provide the essential macro-economic functions and support that is expected to be available to the business world. This creates a complete economic simulation for Practice Enterprises in their country.

This includes offering commercial and regulatory business services, such as banking, customs, income tax, payroll tax, utilities, and registration.

The Central Office is responsible for training trainers, national database, banking system, online connections between national Practice Enterprises and those around the world. These services link trainers and trainees from across the worldwide network.

Business Mentors

Many Practice Enterprises have a mentor company from the real business world. Mentor companies serve as a model for Practice Enterprise activities. They help realistically prepare trainees  for the realities of the world of work.

These real-world companies give advice and ideas about business processes, and how international business is run. They can provide the real-world products and services for commercialisation in the Practice Enterprise economy.

By providing business reality to Practice Enterprises, mentor companies ensure that training aligns to the requirements of the business world. This better prepares trainees for future professional challenges.

Practice Enterprise Business Mentors Key Players

Worldwide Network Team

The worldwide network is coordinated by the non-profit association PEN Worldwide. Its administrative and technical team is based in Germany. The team manages the Coordination Center, which acts as the international office of the worldwide network. It ensures the promotion and support of the Practice Enterprise concept around the world.

The Coordination Center supports the commercial activities of Practice Enterprises, organises international events and competitions, and administers the association. It also partners in projects that enhance work-based skill and competency development, trainers training, and network growth and development.

Benefits and Learning Environment

The Practice Enterprise bridges theory and real-world practice, providing trainees with an immersive and realistic work-based learning experience. This environment enables them to acquire a wide array of commercial and entrepreneurial skills in administration, accounting & finance, ICT & digital, social & digital media, human resources, sales & marketing, purchasing, planning, communications, and commerce.

Lifelong Learning

Practice Enterprise fosters academic achievements and builds an interest in lifelong learning and self-improvement. Engaging actively in decision-making and learning, trainees build on transversal skills including motivation, creativity, responsibility, and other soft skills. They explore different jobs and careers, develop professionalism, leadership, communication, and teamwork. Practice Enterprise boosts employability and entrepreneurial spirit by immersing trainees in the practical demands of the workplace and economy.

Download our Fact Sheets and informative materials to learn more about the Concept.

Real-World Work Experience

Through commerce and trade with Practice Enterprises from their country and around the world, trainees gain practical work knowledge. This real-world commercial experience allows them to understand how business varies from country to country, influenced by different languages, cultures, legal environments, and other factors. Trainees experience the same working processes and environment as in a real company.

Mentor Companies

A Business Mentor is essential for guiding business activities within the Practice Enterprise, offering real-world insights into current workplace practices. They coach trainers and trainees, assist with interviews, recommend promotion strategies, and suggest organizational structures to optimize enterprise management.

Digital Skill Development

Practice Enterprise has a high impact on training different skillsets with special focus on digital skills. Digital skills and soft skills are increasingly important, however, in everyday education the curriculum is tightly knit and practical application of digital skills is lacking. Practice Enterprise allows participants to apply and develop their digital skills. The inclusive and cooperative methodology of Practice Enterprise makes learning new technologies motivating and interactive.

In-Person & Remote Training

Practice Enterprise is a flexible training concept, blending in-person and remote training to meet the mobility needs of participants. This adaptability ensures that training is tailored to fit the environment and requirements, offering future-proof training that provides flexibility of planning and reduces risks to scheduling. Blending remote and in-person participation creates opportunities for ‘internationalization at home’ within a safe learning environment.

Award-Winning Concept

The European Training Foundation (ETF) awarded PEN Worldwide and the Practice Enterprise programme their top rating, 3-star excellent practice, as an internationally recognized good practice in training business skills and entrepreneurship for youth and young adults.

International Community

The Practice Enterprise offers an international learning environment, connecting trainees across borders and continents and building their language and cultural skillsets through internationalization@home. PE provides a safe and inclusive training environment where learners can experience diverse cultures and business practices without leaving their country, fostering essential global competencies.

Work-Based Practical Training

Practice Enterprise offers practical work-based training through a learning-by-doing approach, aligning with the needs of today’s employers and workforce. This hands-on training equips trainees with essential skills, effectively preparing them for today’s job market. Practice Enterprise is a proven, forward-looking concept for inclusive practical commercial and entrepreneurial training that puts trainees at the forefront of a real-world training environment.

Transferability of Concept

The Practice Enterprise is highly adaptable and can be integrated in new countries, institutions, training centres and target groups with ease. It can be implemented on-site or remotely, and tailored to specific needs. The worldwide association supports new members with essential frameworks and guidelines as well as mentoring opportunities with our existing member networks.