In the News - Paul Vasey
Paul, 36, is head of business studies at Read School near Selby, North Yorkshire. He has seen pupils' eyes glaze over time and again when teaching finance, so he decided to create a game to get their attention and help them to learn fast. Fortune and Venture, a board-turned-online game, helps business students get to grips with maths, finance and accounts.
Sounds like Monopoly to me ...
"Monopoly is a great game, but I wanted to do more. When I teach cash flow and start talking about money, the kids don't get it. They are not scared of money, but they are scared of cash. The game places an emphasis on not paying more money than you have. It's about the real-life problems that businesses face."
And this is your business?
"Yes. I came up with the idea in 2007, created the board game and found a student who helped me to set it up online. He writes the codes in his spare time. I realised online was the way forward, because if there are any mistakes you can change them straight away and it is more cost-effective. I found the student on Student Gems, a website for university students who have skills and are looking for work."
Does he save your holidays?
"No, when you set up a business you just don't get summer and Easter holidays. I have worked solidly on Fortune and Venture. In the short term, I miss a couple of holidays, but this is something for the future and could be a legacy. At the moment the game is in the (early) stages; it is not perfect, but it is good - and free. The kids love it. They know about loans and understand money better. They get really competitive. It's about keeping afloat and watching your outflow and your inflow."
Tempted to give up the day job?
"I've always wanted my own business - every business studies teacher should have their own business. After developing the game, I did think that I could make a living out of it and subsidise my income. I really get my teeth into it and enjoy it. If it really took off I would run the business, but I would like to keep a hand in teaching. But I'll make that decision when I reach that crossroads."
Does the Dragons' Den tickle your fancy?
"I have been told to take it to Dragons' Den and I would consider it for the address book. The dragons can just flick open their address book and say, 'Yeah, give Harry a call at Sainsbury's.' I reckon Peter Jones would invest in education, so you may see me on there in the future - who knows. I want to break down the barrier of finance, get Fortune and Venture into every school and then move worldwide. We're in a bad financial position at the moment because people don't know how to manage their finance, both business and personal."