It’s hard to argue with the ambition for Scotland as a "start-up nation". Historically, we can be proud of the many home-grown inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs that have emerged over the years. Today, we can be proud of the ongoing commitment to nurturing an entrepreneurial ecosystem through a collaborative approach.

Supporting the launch of the recent EcoSystem Fund, Chief Entrepreneurial Officer to the Scottish Government, Mark Logan, invited us to think about ourselves and our organisations as "ecosystem builders".  If we are building an ecosystem, where do we start? Nothing brilliant and lasting has ever been built on rocky foundations.  Creating the conditions to maximise the chances of success is where Young Enterprise Scotland comes in.

The inventors, innovators and founders of the future are currently in schools and colleges, still learning, still exploring their skills, starting to make plans and decisions about their futures. These are the young people we work with every day.

We know that change starts with mindset. Developing enterprising mindsets in young people of all ages has a lasting impact: this is irrefutable. Of course, not every young person will go on to become an entrepreneur. Some will, but enterprise education is the crucial vehicle for building the confidence and aspiration needed to be successful and realise your potential, whatever career path you take.

We also know that "entrepreneurship" isn’t reflected as an achievable career path for young people within the traditional education framework. This is especially true for learners with additional needs or those facing barriers linked to poverty and inequality.

What this tells us is it’s not just the mindset of young people that we need to consider here. It’s also educators, policymakers, employers and investors.

If we are serious about our ambitions for Scotland as a start-up nation, we have to set the tone at the earliest possible stage of the journey. There needs to be a shift in narrative to dispel the myth that enterprise education is an "extra" subject to be added to an already burgeoning curriculum. In reality, the skills developed in enterprise education will enhance virtually every curricular subject and can be embedded into lesson plans with almost no additional burden for educators.

Young people have everything to gain from developing skills like problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, confidence, communication, resilience, innovative thinking, collaboration, emotional maturity, financial capability.

When we ask young people who have undertaken our SCQF-accredited Company Programme, they can easily reflect on all of the skills just mentioned, but they also tell us that at some point in the programme some or all of it went wrong. That they had to start again. That they argued and had to find ways to work together to find a solution. That they almost gave up. That it was harder work than they thought it would be. Ask any successful entrepreneur to tell you their story and you’ll hear the same.

So let’s start at the beginning. Build the foundations. Set the tone. These are the building blocks of the ecosystem and a thriving entrepreneurial nation.

Emma Soanes is Chief Executive, Young Enterprise Scotland