By Lea Pachta
Over 70 percent of young people in Britain believe there is a lack of inspirational green entrepreneurs for them to look up to, according to research released by Make Your Mark.
The research also revealed that Britain’s youth are failing to recognise future “green” job opportunities with more than a third underestimating career and self-employment prospects in the “green” jobs sector. With almost a million people in Britain employed in this sector and the Government’s recent pledge to create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs in this area (1), the research suggests that the lack of inspirational green role models is having a detrimental effect on Britain’s future entrepreneurs.
The survey was commissioned to launch the Make Your Mark Challenge, the UK’s largest one day enterprise competition for 14-19 year olds, taking place during Global Entrepreneurship week on 16 November 2009. This year the Challenge will have a low carbon theme.
One third of those surveyed thought Sir Richard Branson was the “greenest” entrepreneur but couldn’t identify any of Virgin’s green initiatives and practices. Only 6 percent of young people identified environmentalist and green campaigner Zac Goldsmith as an inspiring green role model. 25 per cent of young people voted Victoria Beckham the worst green role model due to her jet-setting lifestyle.
The IT sector was identified as offering the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity with 35 percent of young people agreeing that the low set up costs and global opportunities presented by the internet offered more potential than the manufacturing, media and environmental sectors.
Make Your Mark spokesperson, Hannah Bourne, commented; “It’s clear that young people have not yet cottoned on to what the green jobs of the future might offer. Through this year’s Make Your Mark Challenge they will be given inspirational green models to look up to and will consider the environmental impact of their business ideas. We hope this will begin to open their eyes to new possibilities and future career paths.”
This year’s Make Your Mark Challenge will encourage thousands of students in schools and colleges to come up with green business ideas, and to consider their environmental impact. The UK’s largest one-day enterprise competition takes place during Global Entrepreneurship week on the 16th November and is open to 14- 19 year olds nationwide. Free to enter, it offers teachers a fun and rewarding way to engage their students in an enterprising way.