Wales

Call to encourage entrepreneurship from primary school age

Richard Branson
Image caption AMs said being an entrepreneur is "not always about being a Richard Branson"

Youngsters should be encouraged to develop their business and social enterprise skills in primary school, an assembly committee has said.

The enterprise and business committee believes entrepreneurship should be "at the very heart" of Wales' education system.

It wants a one-stop shop to give young people a route to set up a business.

The call comes as the Welsh government is trying to encourage more people to become entrepreneurs.

Wales has a higher total of entrepreneurial activity rate among 18 to 24-year-olds than any other UK nation.

'Minefield'

But AMs on the committee said they were concerned at the gap in the number of pupils and young people who said they wanted to start a firm and those who actually did it.

They want to see entrepreneurship embedded into the curriculum in primary, secondary and higher education "rather than being a bolt-on".

And they urged ministers to create one-stop shops to help budding business people negotiate the "minefield" of striking out on their own.

Committee chair Nick Ramsay said: "Being an entrepreneur isn't going to be for everyone but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't be given as much information as possible, at as early an age as possible, in school and indeed university, so that they can make the decision whether this is right for them or not.

"We think that a one-stop shop model would also be of help so, if someone has an idea they might like to try, then they can go to that point and get all the information they need.

"We think the idea a lot of people have about an entrepreneur has to change as well.

'Over-bureaucracy'

"It's not always about being a Richard Branson. It's not always about being a millionaire, although you do get those, and that's good for the economy.

"It's also about someone making a comfortable income from something they really want to do and putting ideas out there that no-one else is thinking about.

"That should be encouraged and we think the Welsh government should do more to facilitate that."

While the AMs said they are encouraged by the Welsh government's commitment to promote entrepreneurship, they also want better monitoring and evaluation of Welsh government strategies.

Young entrepreneurs interviewed for the committee's inquiry complained of "over-bureaucracy, inflexibility and delays" in securing grants.

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