Dragons' Den star Peter Jones CBE is calling for the UK to champion entrepreneurial skills in children as young as five, to equip the UK’s next generation for a post-EU economy.
The entrepreneur is launching a new campaign to foster a start-up culture in young people from an early age, by rolling out his ‘Tycoon in Schools’ competition into primary schools across the UK for the first time.
Tycoon in Schools is a free national enterprise competition, which aims to encourage the UK’s budding entrepreneurs by giving them experience of running a business whilst at school or college. The competition – first launched in 2012 – will be rolled out in primary schools across the UK, for children aged 5-12.
Peter Jones said: "As the UK embarks on an uncertain post-EU economic path we need to equip the next generation – from as young an age as possible - with the confidence, business acumen and practical skills they need to thrive. Our children will play a critical role in defining Britain’s future prosperity. I want to inspire children to ‘dream big’ and believe in their creative potential. We must do this across the country now by putting enterprise at the heart of the UK’s education system."
He added: “Primary school children are naturally more creative and free-thinking than most adults. They are refreshingly honest, fearless and see things without boundaries. However, these entrepreneurial instincts are often tempered as they grow up and society conditions and constrains their thinking.”
Since the competition began in 2012 the number of schools taking part in Tycoon in Schools has tripled. Over 900 new businesses have been created by young people as a result of Tycoons in Schools so far, and these schoolchildren have received almost a quarter of a million pounds in Tycoon in Schools start-up loans.