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FSB: Teach kids about life in business, small firms urge PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Specialist courses which teach pupils about running their own business should be delivered in all schools across Scotland, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said. 

During the Holyrood election campaign, alongside calls to reform public procurement and business rates, FSB has pressed the parties to give all Scottish pupils a taste of life in business.

The small business campaign group argues that the next Scottish Government should deliver more funding to deliver additional enterprise education. They argue that this help could deliver the biggest economic and social boost in the poorest communities.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “If we want more people with no history of enterprise in their family to become the business leaders of the future, then we need to make changes at primary and secondary school.

“Giving students a taste of running their own business has multiple benefits. Academic evidence suggests that pupils who participate are more entrepreneurial and more likely to start a business. But perhaps more critically, it gives young people an idea of life after education.”

A European Commission study across 27 Member States with over 42,000 respondents reveals that there’s a range of benefits for young people who take part in enterprise education. Across the continent, over half of the young people involved said it had helped them develop a more entrepreneurial mind-set and about a quarter (28%) now wanted to start a business and become an entrepreneur.

Closer to home, a report from the Carnegie Trust looking at enterprise education at 17 UK colleges, and collating evidence from 1600+ students, concluded: “...respondents who had been exposed to enterprise education in and around their courses were generally more likely to think in enterprising ways about their own futures. They also found it easier to consider setting up a business in their own working lives, or working self-employed.”

Geoff Leask, CEO at Young Enterprise Scotland, said: “Young people who have taken part in enterprise activity in education are far better equipped when they enter the workforce, whether working for themselves or for someone else.”

Organisations like Young Enterprise Scotland, Micro-Tyco, Bad Idea and others already deliver enterprise education in many Scottish schools. But there’s no official data, according to FSB, about the proportion of Scottish schools and pupils that could be missing out. While the last Scottish Government committed £300,000 for more enterprise education in schools, FSB is urging the next administration to do much more.

Andy Willox added: “Obviously, it isn’t great that we don’t know how many Scottish schools and pupils are missing out on enterprise education. With an increased focus on providing opportunities for all, we believe that the next Scottish Government must make this a priority.”

The issue of enterprise education will likely be raised at FSB’s #ibacksmallbusiness election hustings taking place next Wednesday at Surgeons’ Hall in Edinburgh. The event is being held in association Young Enterprise Scotland. The Greens’ Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Conservatives’ Gordon Lindhurst, the SNP’s Keith Brown, Scottish Labour’s Daniel Johnson and the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Lord Jeremy Purvis will all make their case to Scottish business owners.

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