From Ms Shalini Khemka.
Sir, Tim Faley’s article “Entrepreneurs are only taught half the lesson” (Soapbox, Business Education, February 6) raises important issues surrounding business schools’ failure to teach students the pre-business planning skills essential to transfer business acumen into successful enterprises. However, to see a new generation of entrepreneurs flourish in the UK I believe the key is to engage with them much earlier in their schooling.
The most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the most authoritative study internationally on entrepreneurial trends, found that the British educational system and social culture were far less conducive to entrepreneurship than those of the US or Europe’s “innovation-led” economies.
In my view, one of the most significant factors behind this finding is a lack of focus on the possibilities of being an entrepreneur in schools. At primary level, we should embed and foster the key elements of entrepreneurial behaviour – curiosity, creativity, autonomy and initiative. Secondary schools should then carry through and take greater initiatives to associate students to real companies and business people in order to give them an understanding of how enterprise works in the real world.
Educational credits should be awarded for pursuing links with business and enterprise, and schools should strive to bring in business people to the school who can share their views and inspiration as well as mentor students on projects. Careers guidance should also focus more on the possibilities offered by entrepreneurship and provide opportunities for work experience within the area.
Yes – there is still much room for improvement in terms of business school curriculums, but by engaging with students much earlier I think we will considerably enhance the chances of producing an outstanding crop of new entrepreneurs and, as every educationalist knows, the child is father of the man.
Shalini Khemka, Chief Executive, London Entrepreneurial Exchange, London W1, UK