Pitching ideas, not tents

We've long sung the praises of how beneficial it can be to young people to learn about and engage with entrepreneurship. And learning entrepreneurial skills is becoming more vital to young people now than ever before.

With one in four university graduates facing unemployment, job prospects for this generation are looking grim. Britain's youngsters need all the help they can get - and learning business skills, and especially having started a successful small business for themselves, is a stand-out addition to any CV or UCAS form.

The Scout Association isn't the only organisation recognising this: there is a growing trend in schools and youth organisations to encourage entrepreneurism amongst youngsters. Among our favourite examples is Enterprise UK's 'Make Your Mark with a Tenner' competition, which gives individuals £10 and challenges them to make as much money as they can. Its participant numbers doubled between 2007 (when it launched) and 2008.

We're also big fans of Young Enterprise, the more long-standing organisation that encourages young people in schools to start businesses and offers support while they do. People who take part in the YE scheme end up more likely to feel fulfilled by subsequent jobs, more confident, and on higher salaries.

There are countless other brilliant organisation and schemes like these all over the UK - but the point is, young people are being more entrepreneurial, and it's doing them good. And they want to learn this stuff too: it was Scouts themselves who asked for the new entrepreneurship badge to be created. They're taking control of their own futures in an evermore competitive job market.

And while the new badge may ruffle the feathers of traditionalists who believe that scouting should be no more than learning how to tie knots or make a fire with nothing but a stick and a prayer, bigger players in the organisation are realising the broader benefits to society of showing young people the entrepreneurial ropes.

As Simon Carter, assistant director at The Scout Association said: "There has never been a more important time to encourage entrepreneurship in this country. We hope this scheme and awards will foster the business leaders of tomorrow that our country needs."

Hear, hear.

Listen to TSA's Simon Carter and scout Grace Denny discuss Scout-style entrepreneurship here and find out more about it here.


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