The challenge for teaching staff is how to fit enterprise into the overarching educational ethos of the school. There are some obvious ways to get enterprise off the ground; cake sales, cookie sales and sweet sales are all popular and relatively easy to organise, but go against efforts to engage children in healthy living and combating obesity. Another popular isolated project is to give children £10 and see what they can turn it into – with some soap suds and a bucket they can generate a profitable return from a successful car washing venture. The excellent profit margin, elbow grease, and entrepreneurial skills of the car wash are all to be celebrated, but when set alongside long term school based initiatives, the £10 Car Washing venture will be significantly less effective in developing numeracy, literacy, and employability skills.
The company I run is an enterprise provider offering a range of sustainable business projects to primary and secondary schools, where the pupils take the reins of the business and turn a profit along the way. The key lies in engagement, in selling popular products that the pupils love and where demand will therefore be sustained: pure fruit smoothies, eco friendly stationery in funky colours, and delicious snacks that add to your 5 a day. The enterprise team have so much fun rising to the challenges of their business that they don’t notice the real learning that’s taking place.
Our goal is simply to unlock ambition in every member of the enterprise team, helping them to understand they each have a valuable contribution to make, whether as an employee or as a next generation entrepreneur.