With the European Council looking to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to help support the strategic goal of increasing small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) activity through increased entrepreneurial education, we reflect on the challenges facing both HEIs and SMEs through the lens of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funded research and innovation staff exchange project ‘Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3’ (GETM3). This research generated data during the three-year duration of the project and through a mixed-methods approach. The effectiveness of entrepreneurial education against this strategic requirement and the barriers which need to be overcome to achieve it are considered. We observed that common ground between academia and SMEs is favoured where partnerships are interactive, agile and flexible. We finalise this paper by offering a series of recommendations and guidelines to help HEIs work more closely together to fuel further entrepreneurial activity.