Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones looks to expand enterprise teaching to all schools

Entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones CBE is today inviting schools to host the country’s first school-based Peter Jones Enterprise Academies.

The announcement comes as a new poll reveals almost three quarters of people believe schools and colleges should embed enterprise education as a key part of every young person’s education.

The survey also found that 70 per cent of UK adults thought a practical education in enterprise and entrepreneurialism “empowers” young people to build or join successful businesses – potentially helping to improve their job prospects and succeed in the world of work.

Some 72 per cent of people also thought “good and meaningful” enterprise education and experiences in schools improve social mobility, which has the potential to transform young people’s life chances.

Peter Jones CBE founded the Peter Jones Foundation in 2005 because he believes that with the right mix of support and opportunity, every young person has the potential to achieve great things and deserves a brighter future. His Foundation run a range of successful programmes that support young people around the world, but one of his key goals has been to empower young people across the UK through delivering excellent enterprise education.

A key part of this is the announcement today that schools can apply to host one of the first wave of new Peter Jones Enterprise Academies, with up to 20 in the initial group.

The Academies will act as hubs of outstanding enterprise provision, with students receiving pioneering support to start businesses and achieve globally recognised qualifications in business, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

They will also receive funding to enable their students to start their own business while at school – and today’s poll found that 60 per cent of people believe all children and young people should be given the opportunity to do just that.

Peter Jones CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Peter Jones Foundation, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to announce today this opportunity for schools to host a Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, and to help young people across the country develop the real-world business skills that will help them succeed in life.

“I believe all young people deserve a bright future and I started the Foundation with a clear goal – to improve young people’s lives. Good enterprise education is an essential element of this and should be part of all schools. We already run a number of successful enterprise programmes and offer high-quality qualifications, helping students fulfil their potential through a range of pioneering educational activities that encourage, educate and empower students, at all times championing enterprise.

“Now we are building on the success of our work to date and expanding our charitable provision by working in partnership with leading education providers through the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy Programme. Today’s launch of the first school-based Peter Jones Enterprise Academies will further help us create the next generation of business leaders, entrepreneurs and young people with the skills to succeed in the world of work.”

Jonathan Sobczyk, Chief Executive Officer of the Peter Jones Foundation for Enterprise, said: “We are excited to be launching the first school-based Peter Jones Enterprise Academies. It has the potential to transform how schools think about and deliver enterprise education, giving them the opportunity to become pioneers in this field.

“We look forward to working closely with the first 20 schools to sign up as Peter Jones Enterprise Academies – and the next wave after them – to inspire young people and to give all their students the opportunity to start and grow a business, gaining practical experience and developing invaluable life skills that will pay dividends whatever path they choose. We have run the programme successfully in FE for several years, and supported over 3500 graduates of the Enterprise Academy. It is great this opportunity will now also be available to school children for the first time.”

Sir John Townsley, Chief Executive Officer of The GORSE Academies Trust, said: “The Peter Jones Foundation for Enterprise is a fantastic organisation that we are absolutely delighted to be supporting. We are honoured that one of our schools is one of the first school-based Peter Jones Enterprise Academies, and look forward to seeing the benefits that the programme will deliver for our students.

“As a Trust we have a strong commitment to ensuring that our students have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the world of work, and to improving social mobility. We see enterprise education as a hugely important part of this. The Peter Jones qualifications allow young people to accrue practical experience of the real world of business, setting them up for the next stages in their life, whether that’s going to work in a business or one day starting their own.”