The 25 trail-blazing finalists include:
a 15 year old who runs an online advertising service while still at school (and works with big hitters like William Hill and MySpace to boot) and a 19 year old who set up a swimwear boutique using her own personal savings.
At a time when the UK desperately needs more promising young people to view entrepreneurship as a viable career, it is refreshing to see such initiatives seeking to instil a sense of enterprise, resourcefulness and business nous amongst our school pupils.
This is an area close to my heart, as both a father and advisor to start-up and fast growth small companies. We desperately need more kids and students to consider alternatives to the mainstream accepted path of higher education followed by a graduate job. We need more entrepreneurs and for this to take shape we need a change of attitude and policy for training the minds of our brightest kids at school.
I remember we had a ‘tuck shop’ in our school which sold (teeth-rotting) sweets – healthier alternatives might be more appropriate today! – however, it provided an opportunity for its volunteer pupils to gain a valuable glimpse of hands-on business enterprise. But there must be opportunities for all schools to encourage its pupils to get involved e.g. collaboratively run one large school enterprise or run a variety of targeted smaller businesses within the safe confines of the school?
Meanwhile, we should be encouraging our students to set up businesses alongside a University degree course (particularly if their degree is remotely linked to business) given that the barriers to entry of running a start-up business is getting lower and lower – after all, if a 15 year old can compete with William Hill and My Space on a tenner whilst balancing with school work, then surely there’s hope for the entrepreneur in all of us…..?