Business studies can make entrepreneurs of deprived children

13th November 2009 at 00:00

Teaching business at school is the best way to encourage disadvantaged pupils to become entrepreneurs, according to a new report.

Teenagers would also benefit from being allowed to manage school-based businesses, such as a tuck shop or a car-washing service, the report claims.

The 370 businessmen and women were surveyed by educational charity the Aldridge Foundation to determine how pupils can best be encouraged to develop entrepreneurial skills.

One in five believed that pupils from impoverished backgrounds would benefit from lessons in business and enterprise. Others wanted to see pupils offered free business advice. And they believe that prevailing attitudes to failure need to be changed to allow greater scope for trial and error.

Rajeeb Dey, founder and chief executive of Enternships, which provides work placements for pupils, said: "Fledgling entrepreneurs need to be given encouragement to dream and pursue their passions, without fear of failure. Give them the support of business mentors, and they're more likely to succeed."

One in 20 of those surveyed wanted schools to provide more opportunities for teenagers to learn about business, such as speakers in school, lessons in design and development and the chance to run small businesses during school time.

Rod Aldridge, businessman and founder of the foundation that bears his name, said: "There is an urgent need to support young entrepreneurs who are struggling in this recession.

"There is clearly a willingness from the business world to offer help, but we need to find a way to connect them with young entrepreneurs and schools."

The survey aimed to identify the motivating factors and attributes of successful entrepreneurs.

While almost two-thirds of those surveyed had been to university, most said that academic qualifications were not necessary for success.

Instead, 56 per cent said that determination was vital, and one in five said that success was impossible without passion.

Adversity was also a motivating factor: a third of businesspeople questioned came from low-income families, while just over half grew up in middle-income families. Only 12 per cent came from affluent backgrounds.

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