Schooling Scotland's young people in the limitless possibilities of entrepreneurship is high on the business agenda for public agency South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) — who have just confirmed their first funding deal with enterprise education charity Young Enterprise (YE) Scotland.

The economic and community development organisation officially launched last year and has now  committed a total of £150,000 to working collaboratively with YE Scotland in developing a  sustainable model for the delivery of enterprise education programmes across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries &  Galloway.

Crucially, the commitment extends over three years, breaking the traditional mould for single-year funding agreements.

Jane Morrison-Ross, SOSE's CEO said, “SOSE's success in approaching hey issues such as innovation and growth will be hugely dependent on the young people we have in of our region - whose new way of thinking will push us to delivering the bold and  ambitious outcomes we strive to achieve.

“Providing three years of support instead of one demonstrates our long-term commitment to providing educational opportunities for the young people we believe are so essential to the success of our economy in the South and beyond.”

The impact of three-year funding is quite profound. It brings stability after the uncertainties of the past 18 months, while it takes away the annual scramble for funds that just about every charity has to endure.

It is also another important step to embedding enterprise education into the school curriculum and teaching mindset for the long term.

Geoff Leask, CEO for YE Scotland said: “SOSE has created a model for the way forward. Instead of the usual stop/start approach that undermines what we know we can achieve, we have certainty to  plan ahead.  What we do is not a “nice to have” — it is a “need to have” as evidenced by the fact that we help 16,000 young people every year. Not only does it benefit the economy, but we can also show a long-term social impact.

“A three-year funding cycle allows long-term thinking with everyone committed to making a meaningful difference to the school careers of 
our young people.”

Enterprise education is proven to build agility, flexibility and confidence to solve problems.

For supporters of YE Scotland, who include Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Strathclyde University, it is the big investment that is needed in our people who will drive Scotland's future economic growth.

“Enterprise and entrepreneurship in schools should be established as a long- term commitment to  create generations of people who will drive business success and build future companies,” he said.

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CEO of the international business, PG Paper, Poonam Gupta OBE agrees that there are no short-term fixes. She says, “We have to look carefully at how we create the leaders of tomorrow. Enterprise education is the key to unlock this. It takes away the fear of business creation and develops the leadership qualities we need for the future.

“Teach children an entrepreneurial mindset and they are likely to succeed in whatever they choose to do — all of which enhances both the economic and social environment.”

Sir Jim McDonald, Poonam Gupta and Peter Proud, the founder and CEO of Forrit, are YE Scotland Ambassadors. They, like many other Scottish business people and entrepreneurs, willingly pass on their knowledge and experience,  often personally providing financial support, to help the next 
generation of young leaders. All also believe that government  must embed enterprise education into every child's school life.

“It has to be part of the education policy, part of the curriculum — just as much as any academic subject,” says Ms Gupta. “Children learn biology from the ages of eight, to begin a process that one day might lead them to become doctors. If you teach life or enterprise skills in the same way,  you equip them with the means to become business leaders because that path seems entirely possible.”

HeraldScotland:

Sir Jim McDonald points out that because the world of work changing so rapidly as a consequence of digital technology enterprise skills are an “educational imperative”.  “Our young people need different skills and a different mindset for this tuture workplace. It is vital that the education sector prepares them. The education content and journey should be multi-stranded, with each strand entwined — think of a rope, the more strands the stronger it is.

“For that reason, enterprise  has to be part of the education experience. It is not a bolt on and is not to be added at the expense of academic studies. These arecomplimentary  commitments.  The value of entrepreneurial thinking is that it is about problem solving. It also enhances diversity of thinking, encourages different views and by embracing this we can add real value.”

Enterprise education offers opportunity for all students, with YE Scotland able to point to particular success in areas of social deprivation and where academic achievement less certain. Its programmes create a ladder of enterprise including its circular challenge for primary schools and flagship Company Programme for senior phase pupils, through to Bridge to Business 
partnerships with Elevator and Scotland's FE Colleges. All embrace learning by doing to build confidence through practical tasks and have been developed specifically for Scottish schools and Scottish circumstances.

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Peter Proud sums up the argument for continuous learning from primary
onwards. “Consider how a child who lives in a multi-language household will become fluent and pick up a language with the natural accent — the older you become the more of a chore it is,” he says. “Make the enterprise spirit a part of the DNA. When I was at school there was no opportunity 
showcased  to me for enterprise  — It was the dockyard at Rosyth and the role was dependent upon the level of your educational attainment. That has to be a change to our approach to the school curriculum.”

yes.org.uk