54 per cent of entrepreneurs think enterprise education should start at school

65% of more than 1,000 adults surveyed by Enterprise UK and YouGov think there's a need for more corporate investment in educating the next generation of future entrepreneurs, and that a lack of entrepreneurial acumen among teachers is the number one issue schools need to address.

The buck falls to all of us: we need to be campaigning for better enterprise education, schools need to be better at providing it, and the private sector needs to realise that planting their stake early on will benefit them long-term.

Yet we know that there will be many among you reading this who will side with the 'entrepreneurship can't be taught' argument. That entrepreneurialism is innate: you can't teach someone how to embrace risk as opportunity, how to be confident enough to believe in a business idea, you can't make them able to spot the next big thing.

But you know what? You can teach children how to understand a profit and loss sheet and how to manage their money. You can build young people's confidence and interest in business by getting them involved with programmes like Young Enterprise. You can inspire them with stories of how the biggest names in business, who make the products and toys they like best, started out. You can teach them that failing Biology GCSE doesn't mean they're a failure. You can encourage them to grow their pocket money by starting a tuck shop. You can showcase business as something fun and fulfilling.

And, actually, if more schools took this approach, we'd wager that a lot more young people would act a lot more entrepreneurially. We don't just mean more would start their own business at some point or another - we also think they would understand more about business, think more innovatively in the workplace, and have increased confidence (having, say, already run a profitable T-shirt design company themselves aged 16). And wouldn't that be an amazing thing for the UK economy?

As Tom Bewick, CEO of Enterprise UK, says: "If we are serious about making this the most entrepreneurial decade in our history, we must create the conditions to help more entrepreneurs get started as well as helping existing businesses to grow.

"Without the active engagement of college leaders and staff, the UK will continue to fall behind our international competitors in terms of the number of young business owners. The number one challenge for any educator in the next decade is simply this: how do I help my students make a job, rather than just take a job?"

What do you think? We'd love to hear your comments below.

Read our special report on young entrepreneurs and check out our student entrepreneur section

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