The article actualizes the role of higher education in obtaining business skills. The purpose of the study is the analysis of the needs of higher education for entrepreneurship and the formation of entrepreneurial competence as an actual problem of higher professional education that meets the challenges of modern society and the formation of a layer of entrepreneurs. The following hypotheses were examined: dissatisfaction of entrepreneurs with higher education; limited formation of entrepreneurial competence in the conditions of higher education; the needs of second and third higher education, additional courses and trainings for business development identified in the course of business activity. A set of General scientific and sociological (theoretical and applied) research methods that complement each other are used. The first ones include methods of analysis, synthesis, generalization and comparison, which allowed us to consider the cause-and-effect relationships between the studied phenomena and the logic of their development. The second category includes methods of structural-functional and system analysis, as well as the focus-chat method used for conducting applied research. Based on the sociological research, the problems of forming entrepreneurial competence and effective application of higher education in the field of small and medium-sized businesses are analyzed. The sample included 25 entrepreneurs of medium and small businesses. Research results. These hypotheses were partially confirmed. Entrepreneurs are generally satisfied with their higher education as a basic one. The study confirmed the absence of a system in the formation of entrepreneurial competence in higher education. The study provides an opportunity to develop recommendations for the formation of entrepreneurial competencies in higher school programs.