From the top · 1 November 2016

Peter Jones begins search for next generation of young entrepreneurs

Peter Jones
Tycoon in Schools has generated over 1,250 new businesses since starting in 2012

Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones continues his mission to put “enterprise education” at the centre of the British school system, as over 2,000 schoolchildren across the UK go head-to-head to with their own businesses as part of a scheme backed by the investor.

The Tycoon in Schools programme – launched on 1 November 2016 – will see over 300 hand-selected student enterprises receive a startup loan, backed by a fund of over a quarter of a million pounds from the Peter Jones Foundation.

The student competition has generated over 1,250 new businesses since starting in 2012.

In a statement, Jones said that he was “thrilled” to see the initiative extend to primary school students for 2016, giving a head-start to future entrepreneurs up and down the UK “who will experience their first taste of enterprise”.

Jones praised the “innovative and creative business ideas” that the young entrepreneurs have produced each year as part of the competition.

“We should never underestimate the ambition and potential of our young people,” Jones said in a statement.

“Watch this space – we could have the next global business tycoon in the making!”

The serial entrepreneur has previously spoken out about the government’s responsibility to create opportunities and foster skills that prepare potential young entrepreneurs for the world of business as a viable route post-education.

In August, Jones urged education secretary Justine Greening to create paths to enterprise for young people alongside traditional routes of higher education, following the decline in GCSE pass grades in core subjects.

In a statement, he called on the UK to “open our children’s eyes to the way they can take control of their own destiny by starting a business”.

“By encouraging young people to think entrepreneurially, to seize opportunities and learn the basics of business, we give them the confidence to succeed and inspire them to be the best they can be,” Jones said.

Tycoon in Schools appears to succeed in its aims to create a hunger for enterprise amongst young entrepreneurs – in a survey taken after last year’s competition, 70 per cent of students that took part felt that the initiative made them one day want to start their own business.

Since 2005, the Peter Jones Foundation has helped young people achieve their potential by working with national educational bodies and delivering a range of activities and initiatives to support young entrepreneurs. The charity launched its Ignite Apprenticeships scheme alongside Tycoon in Schools in 2013.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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