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How to improve children’s entrepreneurial skills

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Successful entrepreneurs come in every shape and size, but something they all have in common is a go-for-it attitude – a desire to try something new, to push the boundaries, to take a risk. But developing this skill, so key to success in the world of work, has to start early. It has to start at school.

UK plc needs employable, innovative, skilled self-starters and entrepreneurs who will benefit the economy and society as a whole. Yet we hear repeated concerns from employers that they are simply not able to recruit the talent they need.

The charity HTI (Heads, Teachers & Industry) runs the national campaign called Go4it, a long-term culture-change initiative which rewards truly innovative schools. The Go4it Awards are gaining phenomenal momentum, capturing the imaginations of teachers, local authorities and supportive businesses. Now in its fifth year, Go4it recognises schools whose pupils are freed from a cotton-wool culture and are actively encouraged to take sensible risks and be innovative and enterprising.

To date, 100 schools have earned the Go4it kite mark, with almost 1,000 more in the application process. But thousands more are still uninvolved or unaware of the scheme.

This is where we, the entrepreneurs and SMEs, can help. Firms can link up with local schools, taking joint responsibility for the delivery of extra-curricular activities as well as providing opportunities for students to understand the world of work through stimulating projects, beyond the scope of mandatory work placements. Being involved with development opportunities and activities within the school furthers the Go4it ethos while raising your company’s own profile in the local community. See www.hti.org.uk and the 2009-10 annual review for impressive school/business initiatives.

This isn’t just another feel-good project. Go4it is fast becoming recognised as the benchmark for a can-do attitude in schools and their pupils. And that’s exactly what this country needs.

Simon Woodroffe is the founder of Yo! Sushi and a patron of the Go4it Awards, presented annually to schools that demonstrate a culture of creativity, innovation and adventure for learning with a positive attitude towards risk.

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