Young Enterprise is changing in Croydon – get involved!

By - Friday 1st June, 2018

Why working with young people on their business ideas is so rewarding

Persona – my 2018 Young Enterprise team, made up of pupils from Coloma, Croydon High and Oasis Coulsdon.
Photo author’s own.

In case you’re not aware of what Young Enterprise is, it’s a charity enabling young people to learn by setting up and running their own business. Normally the participants are in year 11 (the lower sixth, for those of us who are a certain age), but it can include year 10 students as well.

The team of students has to develop its products, raise funds, market, sell and run the business. The students learn from their successes and from their failures.

Young Enterprise in Croydon has followed the ‘team model’ for many years, in which the members of each team come from a mix of schools across the borough. The pros of this setup include:

  • A much more realistic business experience, because you rarely see businesses started by twelve mates
  • They have to learn fast, because they only really see each other for two hours a week
  • They learn to communicate effectively and quickly, often making good use of online tools such as instant messaging

The downside of this method is that the students only get two hours together each week.

The school model, which Croydon is moving to next year, has much going for it – not least the amount of time that the students can spend together if they wish. They can meet before, during and after school, whenever they want, to work on their ideas.

Every team gets a business advisor to work with. This person isn’t there to teach, but to advise. They are there to provide guidance and support, to answer questions, but also to let the students make their own mistakes and learn. Young Enterprise is always on the lookout for more business advisors, so it you’d like to volunteeer in your local community, get in touch.

Why do I volunteer with Young Enterprise? It’s a great way to give back to the community

I’ve been a business advisor with Young Enterprise for four years now. The teams that I’ve advised have progressed to the south London final twice. I hope to have a team go to London, to the UK final, and then maybe even to the European Final one day! Why do I do it? Because it’s a great way to give back to the community. It’s a lot of fun to help the teams and it’s really satisfying to see the students change and grow over the eight months of the programme.

If you would like your teenager to take part in Young Enterprise, talk to their school. If you would like more information, please get in touch with me (see my bio, below) and I will pass your details on to a local organiser. As I’ve hopefully conveyed, this is a great way for young people to learn about running a business. It really helps on their university application forms and, you never know, they might just be coming up with the next big thing!

Nigel Davey

Nigel Davey

As the owner of SME Needs, I spend my working life helping small businesses to get more clients and improve their marketing performance. Outside of that, you can find me somewhere near my kids, on my bike (push, not motor) or on the golf course

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