Young EntrepreneurDT - A firm hold on revision

10th February 2012 at 00:00
An apps company offers a model lesson in entrepreneurship

As a toddler, George Burgess sold seashells collected on the beach during a family holiday in Florida to well-heeled tourists beside the hotel pool. By the age of 7, he had a soft drinks stall set up outside his home in London - he had quietly lifted the "product" from the fridge in the kitchen.

So perhaps it is no surprise that, by 17, George had become one of Britain's youngest entrepreneurs, developing educational mobile phone apps for student revision.

Two years on and EducationApps (www.educationapps.co.uk) is poised to launch 50 new apps for Common Entrance, GCSE, AS level and A level, most featuring more than 500 multiple-choice questions with detailed on-screen explanations if students select the wrong answer.

George, now 19, began working on the business while he was an A-level student at St Paul's School in west London. "Head of geography (at the time) Will Williams spotted me working on this in class, asked me what I was doing and went on to become something of a mentor," he says. "Then I found a freelancer in Pakistan to create the first geography GCSE app and signed up some of my teachers to write others."

In his gap year George considered travelling abroad, but instead worked full-time from his bedroom, expanding the business and raising a six-figure sum through his own marketing to employ two full-time staff. He also teamed up with BBC Active - a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Pearson, the world's largest educational publisher.

"I'm not a geek who spends all day in a room, coding," he says. "I just love launching new businesses. In this instance, I just spotted a gap in the market and I was in the beneficial position of being both a user and a creator - familiar with the territory as I was at school.

"Despite the advances in technology, revision methods haven't changed much in the past few hundred years - they're all textbook-based. I was perfectly placed to design something that fits into the way technology can work for us now.

"I'd like to see schools encouraging this kind of thinking more. I was lucky to have such support, but it would have been great if there had been a basic accounting course I could have studied in my lunch hour - help to hone basic skills like that.

"I love being an entrepreneur - and in this age of social networking I get to meet such a diverse range of people who are also full of ideas."

WHAT ELSE?

For an extensive enterprise scheme of work, try anjumqureshi's range of lesson plans and resources. Or try the Thomson Local "Build a Business" project, supported by the National Schools Partnership.

Be inspired by how one community developed a link between entrepreneurs and students in a resource from StratfordCity.

IN THE FORUMS

How would you design the curriculum if Michael Gove gave you the power - that's the topic being debated in the TES DT forum.

For all links and resources visit www.tes.co.ukresources021.

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