Sir Richard Branson urges enterprise culture in schools

Virgin founder Richard Branson: "Oh dear, can we start again? She's got me!"

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Billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson has called for changes to the national curriculum to encourage an enterprise culture in schools.

Branson, one of the UK's richest men, went into business in his teens.

"It's important people do learn the difference between gross and net, and how Tesco, Virgin or Apple works," he told BBC News School Report.

"Some of the things people study at school are not particularly relevant for when they actually leave school."

Branson's success with the Virgin Group has made him one of the wealthiest men in the world, and he suggested the ability to learn the key skills of business was something that students could pick up by being given the opportunity to try their hand.

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A lot of very big businesses begin with just a very small idea”

End Quote Sir Richard Branson

"I think the best way of learning to run a business is actually to run a business," said Branson.

"As part of the school curriculum, if everybody just set up a little business within their school - it could maybe even be a fictional business, with fictional money and so on."

Speaking to School Reporters from Lincoln Castle Academy in Lincolnshire after giving the keynote speech at the 2013 Commonwealth Observance Service, Branson offered his philosophy.

"Business is simply coming up with an idea that's going to improve other people's lives and if you can do that you're enterprising and you can become an entrepreneur," he said.

"A lot of very big businesses begin with just a very small idea."

Branson, who identified former South Africa president Nelson Mandela as his inspiration, admitted that for all his business savvy, he did not know the difference between gross and net profit until his 50th birthday.

The School Reporters also asked Branson about his dyslexia and how it had shaped his career.

He said he liked "everything to be simplified" and put some of his success down to being "quite good at delegating and getting really good people around".

He continued: "I just don't think people who are dyslexic need worry because they are often really good at other things," he added.

"They'll realise they've got a problem in some areas but they'll be really good at other things."

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