Only a Fifth of Schools Support Would-be Entrepreneurs

Make Money, Make a DifferenceMore than half of school children aged 14 to 19 want to be their own boss, but only one fifth are encouraged to do so by their school, research has revealed.

Out of 1,000 teenagers polled in the Enterprise UK report Make Money, Make a Difference: Backing Britain’s Future, (PDF) 51% said they would like to run their own business. However, only 20% said that their school encourages entrepreneurship.

Coinciding with the publication of the report, Dragons’ Den investor Peter Jones has launched Tenner Tycoon, a competition offering £400,000 in £10 notes to young people and giving them a month to make as much profit as they can.

Jones said he was concerned that schools were not nurturing business skills:

“If we are serious about a culture of enterprise in this country, then we need to nurture them through skills and education, give them confidence through support, and inspire them by celebrating entrepreneurship.”

However, small-business owner Hannah Faulds, founder of virtual office firm Pink Envelope, said that schools should focus on teaching basic skills properly, such as reading and writing, rather than business skills.

“If children have a good education, then the rest will follow. It’s more important that they have life skills, such as being able to take responsibility and learning that they need to work hard and will sometimes have to do things they don’t want to, like homework.”

“My worry is that if they start teaching ‘entrepreneurship’ as a subject, young people will think they will be handed it on a plate and that it’s easier than it is. To run a business, you need to learn a trade or a skill before you learn how to manage the firm.”

Responding to the Enterprise UK report, a Department for Education spokesman said that it is currently reviewing the National Curriculum for both primary and secondary schools, partly to make education more vocational.

“We’re unlikely to make enterprise education compulsory, but schools should have more freedom, with the curriculum being less prescriptive. They could consider tying business skills in with compulsory subjects.”

For more information visit the Tenner Tycoon website.

Make Money, Make a Difference, Tenner Tycoon

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