Premier�s ABN AMRO Business Studies, Economics Scholarship by cUwNCpYT


									Premier’s ABN AMRO Business Studies, Economics Scholarship

Entrepreneurial initiatives and
enterprise programs
in the United Kingdom

Vivienne Szakacs
Chatswood High School

Sponsored by
If a country wishes to be competitive on a global stage, its commerce needs enterprise,
innovation, an abundance of entrepreneurs and the corresponding wealth creation.
Through enterprise programs, young people are exposed to an awareness of
entrepreneurship and its practical applications, and can eventually contribute to the
prosperity of the nation. This has been recognised by governments around the world and
they have encouraged the implementation of programs in differing ways and with varying
measures of success. I have observed a selection of these programs in the United
Kingdom and presented them in my research report. Many were run in schools, either as
part of the curriculum or outside the curriculum. One was a university partnership
initiative, and others were aimed at disadvantaged youth. I have endeavoured to extract
success stories from these programs. I also had the opportunity to attend a course,
Influencing Strategies and Skills, at Ashridge Management College in England. This
institution is one of the highest ranking business schools in Europe. The course was
invaluable to me as a teacher of entrepreneurship and as a researcher and presenter.
The government of the United Kingdom is one of many that has recognised the benefits
of entrepreneurial activity for the economy. Judging by findings of the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor 2004, the initiatives that have been put in place in the
educational and training sector of the United Kingdom have achieved a strengthening of
cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurship in that country. The Global Entrepreneurship
Monitor involves over 120 scholars and researchers in a consortium producing an annual
assessment of entrepreneurship activities in about 40 countries. It explores the role of
entrepreneurship in economic growth and grades countries by the use of various indices.
The report has implications for entrepreneurial programs at all levels in the educational
sector and for government policy.
In the following I have outlined some of the initiatives to encourage entrepreneurial
activity from the United Kingdom.
Young Enterprise Scotland
Young Enterprise Scotland is an independent, not-for-profit-company, funded by
corporate donations and through Charitable Trusts and Government. It has, since 1967,
been one of the United Kingdom’s leading business enterprise and education-for-work
providers in the 12 to 25 age group. One of their programs is the company program, in
which young people learn about the world of business through establishing and running
their own companies. They are guided by a volunteer from the local business community
and a trained teacher.
Stuart Miller, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Scotland, told me of many success
stories of students.
                                       A disadvantaged school, Lourdes Secondary School, is
                                       developing an Internet radio station in their company
                                       program. They are most fortunate to have Lori Skilling, a
                                       sound engineer, to direct and guide them. Their computer
                                       skills have developed through learning the software
                                       needed to produce the music for the jingles for the
                                       various segments of the radio show. They have produced
                                       a CD and many of the students involved are looking
                                       forward to future careers in the music industry.
                                       The High School of Glasgow is a private, fee-paying
A student at Lourdes composing music
for a radio jingle.                    school. One group of students there were producing
                                       jewellery and deciding, with their business advisor, on
packaging. He visits every two weeks to give them assistance. They were holding a
business meeting, following an agenda and working together in a collaborative fashion to
make decisions. They have signed up for the e-business program and will be building a
website and trading online. This is an extension of the company program. They will
develop a website and use web space from YES’s ISP where they can display their
website in a shopping mall. This ISP generates order forms and then sends
e-mails to the school for purchase orders. This way buyers do not deal directly with the
students. This is done for safety and security reasons. Payment is made by cheques or
money orders.
In both schools I saw students who were excited, committed, enthusiastic and motivated
giving up their own time to engage in these tasks, and teachers who were dedicated,
friendly and inspiring. The company program involves the senior students and it seems
that it is the more academically gifted that are drawn towards it.
Through Young Enterprise Scotland, I was able to attend the Learning and Teaching
Scotland Conference on Financial Education at Scottish Enterprise Buildings in
Glasgow. Delegates came from all over the United Kingdom to hear the speakers and
attend workshops on financial education in schools.
Jim Lally of the Scottish Centre for Financial Education pointed out that there is one
trillion pounds of personal debt in the United Kingdom. Taking into account the
aforementioned statistics, an increase in unemployment would have disastrous effects on
the economy. He said that the conference aimed to focus on good classroom practice, on
the ways that industry and community organisations can support schools to provide
effective financial education and on discussion of how developments in enterprise in
education can assist in developing financial capabilities.
I attended a conference workshop which described the integration of school and
industry. This described the partnership between the Pollock Credit Union and St Paul’s
High School in Glasgow. Aims of this partnership are to widen the pupils’ awareness of
credit unions, introduce wise use of money to young people, give external credibility to
the financial education given by the teachers, give external input, provide resources and
give work experience opportunities to the students. Their Money Management programs
are delivered by the credit union and supported by the teachers.
Northern Ireland
Because of the high number of government sector jobs, motivation to set up a business
has not been high in Northern Ireland, and the government have been trying to change
people’s, especially young people’s, perceptions. Invest Northern Ireland have been
instrumental in providing funding for enterprise programs and Belfast won the title UK
City of the Future in a competition run by FDI Magazine, part of the Financial Times
Group. The panel of experts who judged the competition were impressed by the level of
inward investment to the city.
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland have had a long and successful tradition in providing
business enterprise programs to schools. They run some of the same programs as Young
Enterprise Scotland, such as the company program, and others that are different, such as
the GLOBE program.
In Belfast, I met with Derek Jones, coordinator for the GLOBE program. He explained
that GLOBE was an acronym for Global Learning of the Business Enterprise. This
course is designed to show how contemporary businesses operate in a global economy. It
is designed as an add-on to the company program in which the students start up a
business, produce their products and sell them. The GLOBE program works
concurrently with this program and the students link with an overseas school and learn
about exchange rates, wages, costs such as shipping costs and targeting an overseas
market as they communicate with their overseas partners. They trade goods by bartering,
avoiding a need for credit card or bank draft transactions. The local education board
funds the teachers to go overseas to meet with their counterparts.
One school running the GLOBE program was the Belfast Model School for Girls. It had
a partnership with a school in Romania, a country where business enterprise is
encouraged by the state and is a compulsory part of the curriculum. The girls had
produced bags and were attempting to barter for the ponchos that the Romanian
students had made. Unfortunately, the ponchos were much more expensive than
expected, so the students were then considering selling the bags domestically. These
financial decisions were an excellent learning exercise for them. They also had to
consider finding ways to cut their production costs in order to make a profit on the sale
of the bags. The girls felt that they had a far improved knowledge of international trade
and awareness of a different culture through communicating with their partner students.
Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship/University of Ulster
I met with Pauric McGowan, the Director of Northern Ireland Centre for
Entrepreneurship (NICENT) and with Sharon Hayes, the Learning Development
Officer at the Jordanstown Campus of the University of Ulster. Sharon explained that
NICENT is a partnership between the University of Ulster, Queens University, and
Loughry/CAFRE and is committed to leading entrepreneurship in higher education. It
was formed in 2000, and is sponsored by the Office of Science and Technology and
Invest Northern Ireland. It is one of 13 science enterprise centres across the United
Kingdom. NICENT at Ulster University extends its brief across all faculties through
coordinators of academic enterprise. They each promote entrepreneurship in their own
faculties. The two modules are offered to all courses so students are given the
opportunity to complete them through an e-learning program unique to Ulster
University. The online environment is WebCT, which is used to embed the learning
outcomes of entrepreneurship into the curriculum.
Shell-LiveWIRE, Belfast
I met with Gerry Ford, CEO of Shell-LiveWIRE, in Belfast. He explained that Shell-
LiveWIRE is a global youth enterprise organisation operating in almost 30 countries
around the world. Shell is a global investor of this program, and in Northern Ireland
Invest Northern Ireland is a main source of funding. Invest Northern Ireland and its
partners in Youth Enterprise; Shell-LiveWIRE, Princes Trust and Enterprise Northern
Ireland, have developed a strong youth strand.
Shell LiveWIRE is an organisation that helps young people start in business. Currently
their ‘Go For It’ CD-ROM containing the Start a Business Toolkit, LiveWIRE Direct
supporting business information and research service contained in a content driven
website, and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards make up the portfolio of
products they offer to clients.
The Government markets these youth enterprise organisations through extensive
television campaigns, thus absorbing much of the cost of advertising. Potential
entrepreneurs contact a helpline and, if under the age of 30, are directed to Shell-
LiveWIRE. They are then issued with a Start a Business Toolkit. They are then directed
to an individual local enterprise agency which provides information on sales and
marketing, financial management, business IT and legal issues. In some cases, resources
such as office space and computers are provided in the centre. Plans are afoot by Shell-
LiveWIRE to track clients through all the stages of the program to provide feedback and
allow analysis of successes and failures.
The Princes Trust, London
The Princes Trust assists unemployed young people aged between 18 and 30 years old to
start a business. It operates across the UK and has a strong international presence. The
Trust provides initial funding in the form of a grant and/or loan for young people to
start-up a business. Potential recruits must formulate a business plan and present it to a
selection panel. Post start-up support offers a personal business mentor for up to three
years, 24-hour free legal helpline, designing of corporate stationery pack, IT advice and
training as well as marketing support.
I met with Patrick Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Princes Trust in London. He told me that the
Princes Trust was going through a period of change. From a focus on unemployed
graduates, it is now concentrating on the disadvantaged. This has brought with it a
multitude of challenges, from convincing financiers to lend money to the applicants to
briefing selection panels to change the set of competencies they use. New criteria have to
be put in place for selection of recruits to the program. In some cases, this has resulted in
replacing the existing selection panels with people from the community in which the
business will be situated. One successful example of this is Street Cred, a micro-credit
agency that provides low cost loans to women. The users decide who should get a loan.
Patrick said that after three years, 45 per cent of the new start-ups were still trading. I
asked about reasons for the failure of the others. He said that the London Business
School had done a study on the music industry and found that the reasons for failure
were the lack of adequate support networks, indicating a need for more business
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, London
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is an international non-profit
organisation which has become one of the primary entrepreneurship education
organisations in the United Kingdom.
Steve Alcock at NFTE headquarters explained that NFTE targets many students of
lower ability and teaches academic and life skills through an entrepreneurship curriculum.
The program is supported by student and teacher materials and trains teachers with an
initial two-day workshop on teaching entrepreneurship, strategies and resources and
business plan presentations. NFTE has been incorporated into the National Curriculum
at key stage 3 and 4 (years 10 and 11).
       NFTE students showcasing their fashion designs under their label MPower.
Steve took me to a showcase of merchandise produced by pupils in a NFTE-run
program for disaffected students from John Kelly Technololgy Girls’ and Boys’ Schools
in London. These students, previously poor attendees, love coming to the program, and
are usually there early every day. They had worked together for two months under the
guidance of a teacher who had a background in fashion design, a photographer and a
musician. The students had created their own company called Mpower and had put
designs on t-shirts and other clothes. They had produced a cd, displayed their
photographs and had a fashion parade.
CREDU is a multi-million pound project created by Canllaw Online and Fujitsu Services
to provide a network of 82 digilabs to locations across Wales. It intends to make
CREDU benefits available to all young people.
I attended a meeting between Corinna Edwards of Shell LiveWIRE in Wales and Lynne
Thomas of Canllaw. I was shown one of the digilabs, which consisted of workstations,
including one enhanced for special needs, a video-editing workstation, PCs and laptops
with wireless networking, digital cameras, colour and black and white printers, a scanner,
whiteboard, projector and speakers, a video camera, broadband router and many other
pieces of equipment. These labs are set up in any part of Wales where there is a need.
One example might be for a community project in a deprived area where teenagers work
with old people to develop gardens in derelict areas. The digilabs provide hands-on,
enjoyable interaction with information technology and the users can improve their skills,
create ideas for self employment and interact with support groups, their peers and the
My study program
Ashridge Management College

As part of the scholarship, I was fortunate to be able to attend a five-day live-in course at
Ashridge Management College in Hertfordshire, England. The course I attended was
Influencing Strategies and Skills. Negotiation, persuasion and influence have been
identified as key aspects of entrepreneurial behaviour in the ACRO model of the Youth
Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Strategy for Wales—Young People 5–25, published by the Welsh
Development Agency 2004. These are essential skills, whether for trying to get your
proposals accepted, obtaining finance for a new business or enthusing your class about a
new project. Participants came from countries around the world. Most had backgrounds
in high-level management in companies such as Shell, Pepsi Cola and ABN AMRO (the
sponsors of my scholarship). Some were entrepreneurs in their fields, and I was able to
listen to their views. Some were dubious that ‘entrepreneurship’ as such could be taught.
However, they all agreed that enterprise skills certainly could and that they were essential
for budding entrepreneurs.
After instruction in effective influencing skills, we were given a practical exercise in
which we had to persuade other members of the board to adopt our proposals. This was
videoed and our performances analysed.
The next day’s program commenced with one-on-one coaching. I was able to obtain
helpful advice on controlling my nerves during presentations. Learning breathing
techniques and awareness of body language helped.
The peer feedback session on the last day was the most worthwhile of the sessions. This
was quite confronting, and powerful, but worth hearing. Seeing us as other people do is
eye-opening, for it is not how we are, but how other people perceive us that determines
their reaction to us.
My study tour allowed me to observe enterprise programs aimed at young people in
different areas of the United Kingdom. It was obvious from these visits that ‘one size
does not fit all’. The programs of the different organisations were tailored to meet their
specific clientele. This meant that the bodies were not usually in competition with each
The various organisations were also observed working together, with potential
entrepreneurs being identified by one agency, routed to other appropriate agencies, such
as the Prince’s Trust or ShellLiveWIRE and, when ready to set up their business, routed
to a local enterprise agency.
To increase entrepreneurial awareness it was seen that it is necessary to introduce
enterprise programs into the school curriculum. Students need to be involved in actually
setting up their own businesses, not just learning the theory. This will give them the
belief that it is an achievable goal. Young Enterprise programs are currently being run
outside the school curriculum in the United Kingdom, depending on teachers and
students giving up their own time.
It was gratifying to observe the successes of the enterprise organisations as described in
my report. Implications can be made from the examples in this study for increasing
entrepreneurial activity in New South Wales schools. I have endeavoured to include
enough detail about the programs in my report to enable this to be done. I also am in
possession of some of their resources.
The course that I attended at Ashridge Management Centre put me in touch with some
entrepreneurs with whom I was able to discuss the subject. The course itself was
invaluable in improving my influencing skills.
Five weeks only allowed me to skim the surface of these programs. An in-depth
longitudinal study comparing areas where schools are successfully running the programs
with similar areas which are not involved would be beneficial in terms of gauging
changes in entrepreneurial activity in the community. These changes can be observed in
the annual reports from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
Business support for disadvantaged target groups—A transnational equal project report, European
Enterprise Network, Edition Enterprise, Berlin, 2004.
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor,
Turner, D. Employability skills development in the United Kingdom, National Centre for
Vocational Education Research, Kensington Park, 2002.
Smith, Adam, Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, in four volumes,
Edinburgh, 1776.
‘Youth enterprise and entrepreneurship strategy for Wales—young people 5–25’, Welsh
Development Agency, 2004.

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