Enterprise UK's Tenner scheme seeks new home

Is this the end of the road for Tenner Tycoon, nee Make Your Mark with a Tenner? The enterprise education scheme's been cancelled this year as it searches for new partners.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 21 Nov 2013
Here at MT, we're behind anything which gives young people skills to start a business - so it was with sadness that we discovered yesterday the scheme formerly known as Make your Mark with a Tenner has been put off this year, after it failed to find an appropriate partner.

That's partly down to the Government's austerity measures, which shut down Enterprise UK, the quango behind the scheme, about a year ago, leaving Tenner and its stable mate, Global Entrepreneur Week, without a home. But while the running of GEW was snapped up pretty swiftly, after a brief (and apparently unsuccessful) dalliance with Dragons' Den's Peter Jones last year, Enterprise UK's trustees have announced Tenner is on hold until they can 'ensure that foundations are in place'.

Oli Barrett, one of the brains behind the campaign, told MT that the situation is 'really disappointing'. 'The Trustees took the decision that there wasn't time to deliver on the March deadline. We had one false start, although Peter Jones didn't work out for various reasons. So it's now a case of finding the right partners to work together.'

Both Barrett and the scheme's trustees were keen to stress that this isn't necessarily the end for Tenner. 'It's a case of finding the right partners to work with.'

So who is the dream partner? 'There would be a range,' explained Barrett. For a start, he reckons the scheme needs someone with a good knowledge of schools-based enterprise: 'Young Enterprise, for example, has experience in that space.' Other ideal partners would include someone from the financial services 'because it should be about money management, budgeting, and transactions'. And, obviously, a business organisation (shouldn't be hard, considering Enterprise UK's trustees include the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce). Also on the fantasy list is 'anyone with an interest in what happens beyond the tenner - schemes existing or to be created which lend young people money.'

That's quite a shopping list. And there's an argument that now Government backing has been withdrawn, the longer Enterprise UK's trustees continue the hunt for the perfect partner (and it's worth noting here that none of the trustees themselves seem to have come forward), the more kids will miss out on a great opportunity to learn what business is all about. With unemployment among the young at record levels, those lessons could be crucial.

All of which seems rather strange, considering the Government's tireless championing of entrepreneurship, through schemes like the network of Enterprise Zones and TechCity. Perhaps it only approves of entrepreneurs over a certain age.

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