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Enterprise in the UK

Tue, 12 November 2013

Contributed by Jamie Dunn, Director at Spark Global Education
Over the past two years I have spoken at events across 12 countries and met young people in each and every single one of them. When speaking to young people across schools, colleges and Universities in the UK, the talk is well received, (I hope!) and in an average class of 30 pupils, around 3/4 will approach me at the end to ask for my card, my details or ask further questions. When speaking in all of the other countries, to the same age group, the response is so much greater and I'm delivering the same sort of things.
Now, this just could all be coincidence but I think that there is something in it. In Malaysia, there seems to be a hunger about the young people over there, they want to achieve and want to better themselves, almost because if they don’t, there is no financial support like the benefits system to sustain them. Education over there is seen as a privilege and something that’s crucial to development - it seems in the UK it’s taken for granted and the value perceived isn’t what it should be. 
So, does this mean that young people in the UK are lazy? Or does it simply illustrate the fact that people in developing countries still have a hunger that is brought out of them due to the system being the way it is? It’s weird, I have noticed that here in the UK we have all the resources, the finances, the opportunity to really develop but it seems that people lack that fire, that raw ambition to really make use of the resources, whereas in Malaysia for example, it seems the people have all the passion, the hunger and the raw skills, but miss the materials and the opportunity to really shine. 
As a nation, the UK is certainly entrepreneurial; we have often punched above our weight considering our size as a country and the fact that we are practically an island in terms of our geography. However, when it comes to breeding a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, we are more advanced than a lot of countries, but we still certainly have a long way to go. We need to really embed practical enterprise programmes into our education system. 
We already have a number of enterprise initiatives within schools, but the majority are theoretical and based around concepts like “imagine if you had £1,000 to start a business”, when really they should be far more practical and provide a sense of real responsibility and real failure. If we begin to breed enterprise within education, we will see the impact in the next 10, 20 and 30 years because young people will be growing up with a sense of passion, responsibility and most of all, a positive get-up-and-go attitude. And this can only be good for society, regardless of whether everybody becomes an entrepreneur or not.

About Jamie Dunn (Director of ‘Spark Global Education')

Jamie is a 22 year-old Entrepreneur that has previously been short-listed as one of the Top 20 Young People in the World 2012, a title once held by former US President, John F Kennedy. 
Jamie started in enterprise aged 12 selling unwanted items at school. By the time he was 15 he was making around £500 per week from 5 market stalls across Birmingham. At the age of 16, Jamie left school with little qualifications but won a place on the Peter Jones Pathfinder course as one of 28 from nationwide applicants, with this he moved to Buckinghamshire for 6 months. 
Aged 18, Jamie Co-founded the printing organization, Made By Young People that eventually held clients such as, Aston Villa, Ikea and Asda. Jamie successfully exited this business aged 20. Since then, Jamie has gone on to work with Governments and Educational Organizations from around the World on developing Youth Entrepreneurship eco-systems. Most notably, Jamie was an adviser to the Malaysian Government office surrounding enterprise education. During this time, Jamie also co-founded a multi-million pound investment fund, which provides mentoring, office space, finance and support to young people in the West Midlands who are setting up in business. 
Jamie now spends most of his time as a Director, Shareholder in Spark Global Education, an educational consultancy with operations globally. As an investor, Jamie has equity interests in different sectors ranging from Recruitment to Technology. Jamie also sits on, and advises many different boards and trusts including the BMET Enterprise Academy, Arrive Alive, TechMinsk and Arden Forest FC. Jamie also writes regular columns for, Shell LiveWire and various other publications and websites.

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