Entrepreneurs

Five Leading Global Programs Supporting The Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs

There is an untapped opportunity to promote economic growth and reduce unemployment by expanding access to entrepreneurship education to secondary school students across the world – in particular within developing countries.  

According to Educating Future Founders, our new report at The Entrepreneurs Network, the demand is certainly there from the children. A third of young people aged 18-24 worldwide intend to start a business in the next three years. Entrepreneurial intentions are strongest in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean where over half of young people intend to start a business. 

However, entrepreneurship education has traditionally taken place at universities. The report shows that there is strong evidence that earlier interventions can develop non-cognitive skills, which are key to entrepreneurial success, such as creativity, persistence, and communication. 

It’s not just about business creation. Entrepreneurial skills are also valued by employers. Entrepreneurship education programs aimed at secondary school students have been shown to reduce the risk that a young person will become unemployed later in life. And skills developed through entrepreneurship education such as financial literacy, business awareness, and an entrepreneurial mindset are becoming ever more relevant as gig economy platforms lead to increased levels of self-employment. 

The report highlights a number of programs supporting young entrepreneurs around the world: Teach a Man to Fish’s School Enterprise Challenge, the Prince’s Trust International’s Enterprise Challenge, ABE’s KidsMBA, Junior Achievement’s Company Program and VIVITA.

But, as the report argues, we must do more to ensure all young people have some exposure to entrepreneurial skills. As Rob May, Chief Executive of ABE says: “There must be a sense of urgency if we are to equip young people to thrive in the post-pandemic modern economy. If there was ever a moment to inspire a younger generation of entrepreneurs, it is today.This research takes a vast perspective by examining the case for school-age entrepreneurship education across multiple countries and cultures. They offer policymakers and educators vital context for rethinking curriculum planning.”

VIVITA

VIVITA is a global creativity accelerator for children and youth. Its goals are to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset, inventors’ spirit, and broader interest towards STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) subjects. 

The programme is targeted at 9-14 year olds who can work independently. VIVITA provides open makerspace facilities and invention labs for children to use to develop their own product ideas. They also invite in innovators and practitioners from the local start-up and design communities to provide mentoring for the children. 

VIVITA co-founder Mari-Liis Lind believes the programme fosters “the skills in children that are necessary for any future founder. We encourage each child in VIVITA to think about what product or service they would like to build and mentor them in the process of getting from the original idea to a working prototype.”

Company Program

Junior Achievement’s Company Program is the world’s largest entrepreneurship education program. Each year 464,000 school-age students spread across 100 countries take part. 

The program, which has been running for a century, takes students through the process of starting a business from idea to liquidation. Over 26 one-hour sessions (or 13 two-hour sessions) students break out into teams and develop business ideas that fill a need or solve a problem.

The process brings together teachers with volunteers from business. Over 470,000 business mentors volunteer for Junior Achievement worldwide. At the end of the process, student businesses compete in regional and national competitions.

An evaluation of the program in Sweden found participants earned on average 10.2% more from entrepreneurship more than a decade later. A further Norwegian study found participation means graduates were more likely to be employed in a leadership role.

KidsMBA

KidsMBA aims to equip young people aged 11-15 with the skills to start and run a business, while avoiding common mistakes. The course, which can be run as an intensive programme over eight days, is designed to introduce students to the mindset, know-how, and skills to run a business. 

The programme concludes with a Shark Tank/Dragons Den-style competition where students pitch their ideas to investors. Students can also compete to win a Star Performer certificate or trophy.

The idea came from insolvency barrister Professor Mark Watson-Gandy. He observed that many of the failing businesses he worked with were not failing because they were based on a bad idea, but rather because they were making the same mistakes. 

The course, which is accredited by ABE, a not-for-profit skills development specialist and awarding organisation, is available in over 30 countries. At Umubano Academy in Rwanda, where 49 students took part, four-fifths (81%) “felt the course had inspired them to run their own business.” One student said: “KidsMBA proves that even young people can have business ideas. The course helped us develop these ideas and made us feel valued, like our ideas matter”. 

School Enterprise Challenge

Students on the School Enterprise Challenge set up real businesses within school and use the profits to expand access to quality education.

Teachers at participating schools receive in-person training and online resources to help students start their own businesses. Student teams are supported to develop business ideas, complete market research, create a financial plan, and eventually run a real business within the school. 

At the end of the school year, students are invited to reflect on their experience, before handing over their businesses to a group of students when they graduate. The next group of students can choose whether to continue the existing business model or to pivot to offer new products or services.

Most (84%) student businesses are profitable, with the average business generating £204 a year. Student businesses have been used to fund scholarships for low-income students, purchase better classroom resources such as computers, and provide seed funding for future student businesses.

International Enterprise Challenge

As the international arm of The Prince’s Trust, the UK’s leading youth charity, Prince’s Trust International works with local partners in 13 countries around the world to deliver education, employment, and enterprise programs.

Enterprise Challenge uses a business simulation computer game to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career choice for young people and guide them through the basics of starting and running a business. 

As student teams play the game, their businesses are graded on how profitable, ethical, and well-known they are. Within the game, teams pick where they sell their goods, what type of goods they sell, and which overarching business strategy they pursue. 

The highest scoring team will go on to develop a social enterprise idea with a local business

mentor. They then compete in a regional final and, if successful, move on to a national final where they can gain seed funding for their business. For example, five students from the Little Angels high school in Pishin, Pakistan received £3,000 to start ‘Enterprise for Education in Pishin’ – a social enterprise where student-run canteens are set-up in schools and the profits are used to fund female literacy programmes in the local area.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Forbes – Entrepreneurs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *