Call to bring entrepreneurship into the classroom

Britain lacks the kind of education that facilitates entrepreneurship and innovation, a research report finds.

The study by Smith & Williamson, based on its ‘Unleashing British Business’ forum, notes that there has been a significant generational shift in relation to entrepreneurship, with young people now more likely than ever to set up their own business.

Sherry Coutu CBE, an entrepreneur, business angel and non-executive director who chaired a panel at the forum says, ‘It’s vitally important that children acquire skills for the opportunities that will be there for them when they graduate – the most effective way to do this is to bring entrepreneurship into the classroom.

Some 95 per cent of the delegates at the forum were in agreement that the next generation is keener to champion entrepreneurship than previous generations, concluding that establishing entrepreneurship as a career option and developing specific business training in schools, such as Sir Rod Aldridge’s entrepreneur academies, should be a priority for government.

Some of the other key themes elaborated upon in the report include giving tax incentives to companies which invest in and support SMEs through mentoring and wider collaboration, and reintroducing a small company tax rate with meaningful differentials.

Other suggested methods include encouraging SMEs and the self employed to recruit by removing harmful and costly red tape, and reintroducing relationship banking to provide additional advice and experience to SMEs.

Luke Johnson, a chair at the forum and the founder of the Centre for Entrepreneurs says, ‘Planning laws hold small businesses back and, when done at national level, the authorities’ approach to planning often seems to be ‘how can I stop this development?”

The recommendations included in the report on how the government could boost Britain’s entrepreneurial community and its contribution to business innovation and employment are based on the ‘Unleashing British Business’ forum, a discussion between 60 business leaders.

Guy Rigby, head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson says that the increasingly entrepreneurial culture in the UK has the potential to bring huge benefits to the UK’s society, but ‘things need to change’.

‘Our outdated methods of education fail to recognise the full potential of an increasingly savvy generation,’ he adds.   

‘There is also need for a supportive ecosystem for start-ups and scale-ups, which is why we are urging Vince Cable to bring back the Corporate Venturing Scheme, which proved to be the right tool at the wrong time. For the sake of the British economy, our Davids and Goliaths need to work more closely together.’

Further reading on entrepreneurship

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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