Notes from a business – how can we encourage a culture of entrepreneurship?

Hayley Williams from Keystone in St Neots talks about the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Hayley Williams from Keystone in St Neots talks about the next generation of entrepreneurs. - Credit: KEYSTONE

In the recent Euro 2020 championships, we heard that many of our young England team had wanted to play professionally from childhood.

I am sure this will have resonated with others; thinking back to their own childhood ambitions and perhaps also wanting to be the next big striker for their country.

The confidence and belief we have in big dreams when we’re young is an incredible thing. And that got me thinking - how many young people are driven to be an entrepreneurs or business owner from a young age like they are to being famous, footballers, or astronauts?

Starting a business wasn’t on my agenda when I was a child, but it wasn’t presented to me as an option either. I can tell you that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else now – but at that young age, how could I identify with something that I didn’t even know existed as a route?

At my school, all I had was a short 121 with a careers advisor that matched possible job roles based on my interests and skills.

According to NACUE, the leading charitable organisation for engaging students in enterprise, over half of Brits believe starting your own business is a good career choice – but an understanding and appreciation of starts ups and entrepreneurship is still limited at a young age.

How can we build entrepreneurship awareness and instill start-up ambitions in our young people? Entrepreneurship is an increasingly popular and successful career choice.

Most Read

Building awareness of this and showcasing experiences to sow the seeds early on is hugely powerful.

The journey can absolutely start within education – and it’s good to see more and more that enterprise and entrepreneurship are being showcased in this environment; not just at secondary school and in universities – but at primary level too.

Whether these students go on to run their own businesses in the future or not, we have the opportunity to plant a seed with those that identify with it.

In Huntingdonshire, I’m pleased to see a growing number of initiatives working at grassroots level to showcase enterprise and entrepreneurship in our local schools.

And activity seems to have expended in recent years. What I also love is seeing local start-ups and small business owners offering their time to get involved with these in-school programmes; I can tell you there’s nothing quite like highlighting the joy of entrepreneurship to the next generation.

At the very least, showing enterprise and entrepreneurship in schools helps to enthuse, motivate and raise aspirations.