Teaching enterprise in schools is one way for young people to learn about business (assuming it can be squeezed into already-packed timetables), but there’s no substitute for them getting out there and doing it for themselves. And with The Apprentice still riding high in the TV ratings, business games are even kind of cool at the moment – so it’s a good time to get the kids involved.
Or at least, that’s the thinking behind a new initiative launched by training consultancy Clearworth. ‘A Cup of Clearworth’ is a scheme where young people (primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds) are taught how to run their own business – using a Piaggio coffee cart. The kids are provided with the cart and all the materials, but they get to choose the name of the business, how they brand and price their coffee, and where to sell it - while they’re also taught how to deal with customers and competitors and draw up plans and budgets. Any money they make goes to charity.
The idea is that corporates sponsor the project, and can also get involved with coaching and training the group of young people (the scheme has already been successfully piloted with a team of 6 kids chosen by the Robert Levy Foundation in Hackney). So businesses get to make a genuine impact in the community, and kids get to pick up some skills that could turn them into the Alan Sugars of tomorrow (if that's not too scary a thought). Schools Minister Jim Knight MP says the scheme ‘shows the huge value of businesses investing in the talents of future generations.’
And if you’re thinking that kids have all the fun these days, fear not; you can even book the coffee cart as a training exercise for your own high-fliers. If you’ve ever dreamed up putting your own team through some Apprentice-style tests, this could be your chance. But don't feel obliged to shout at them all afterwards...
If you fancy getting more involved with A Cup of Clearworth, you can find out more here.