MT Expert - People: Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs

Alice Barnard explains why fostering an entrepreneurial attitude among the new generation is more important than ever.

by MT Staff
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
If you read the papers at the moment, it’s easy to believe that the next generation is disenchanted – but the opposite is true. Young people today are, in fact, very much enchanted, with real prospects and real opportunities.

The problem is that in the UK, there’s a tendency to create a ‘one size fits all’ model, shaping our young people into the same mould. But if we believe that all young people are the same and that there is just one way to decide the future, then we, as a nation, are failing the next generation.

It’s not all bad. Some of it is very good: take enterprise and entrepreneurship, for example. The Government and business leaders are beginning to see the importance of encouraging the next generation. This message needs to filter down, though: our young people need to understand that they have choices when it comes to education and career decisions.  

So it’s our role to free the next generation to make their own decisions, to encourage and enable more of them to consider making a job, rather than just taking a job.

We shouldn’t be asking the question ‘how do we manage the next generation?’ but ‘how do we empower the next generation?’, so they can achieve their business dreams, manage their own future and prove their potential.

We need to inspire, encourage and support young people to have self-belief and go-getting attitudes. By empowering them with the confidence to take informed risks, they can learn through experience and succeed as an entrepreneur.

The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy was set up with a mission to unleash the potential of young people in Britain. The Academy offers students a different career path – an entrepreneurial one – one that allows them to thrive and realise their true potential.  

We need a nation of doers, and this must be at the heart of Britain’s culture.

If we continue to foster a mindset that has failure at its heart, we are denying our young people the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions and secure their futures.

In Britain, the biggest danger is talking about this generation as having lost out when they have so much to gain – they are Britain’s ‘enchanted youth’, and we need to stop selling them short.

- Alice Barnard is the chief executive of the Peter Jones Foundation

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