Our speaker this month is Robert Evans a trustee of Young Enterprise in conversation with our speaker co-ordinator eRotarian John Isles
John: Welcome Robert. Can we start by asking you tell us a little about Young Enterprise.
Robert: Young Enterprise was founded in 1963 and today is the UK’s largest business and enterprise education charity, inspiring young people to learn and succeed through enterprise. We offer a range of programmes for young people aged 4-25 and all our programmes are based on the principle of learning by doing. Young Enterprise offers a wealth of practical ways to help young people get a taste of the world of work and the excitement of running a business. We inspire young people to develop aptitudes and attitudes they cannot learn from a textbook or traditional academic curriculum. In 2012 Young Enterprise were awarded the coveted Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for volunteering.
John: How do you get businesses involved?
Robert: The key to our success is that we bring volunteers from business into the classroom, college or university to work with the tutor and students and overwhelmingly, our students recognise this as the vital component that brings to life the connection between education and the world of business. Young Enterprise has constantly developed to meet the needs of the each new generation of young people from whatever background and it is our dynamic, proactive approach to enterprise education that has enabled us to grow to work with more than 5,500 schools and more than 250,000 young people every year.
John: Do you give the companies and volunteers involved any training?
Robert: Yes. The business volunteers will receive comprehensive training from their local Young Enterprise Manager and will be given the opportunity to develop their mentoring and business skills whilst supporting young people. Young Enterprise is nationally and internationally recognised by employers and universities.
John: Do Young Enterprise monitor their success?
Robert: We asked Kingston University Business School to study the impact of our work on the UK economy. The results presented in the report are utterly compelling.
- • More Young Enterprise alumni end up running their own business: 42% of alumni surveyed started firms compared to 26% in the control group of non-alumni.
• Alumni firms have a larger turnover: 12% of alumni firms turn over £500,000 compared to 3% of the control group’s firms. In fact, 3% of alumni firms turn over more than £1million, compared to none of the control group’s firms.
• Alumni companies employ more people: 11% have 51-99 employees compared to 9% of the control group. Two per cent of the alumni have 100-249 employees compared to none in the control group.
• Alumni firms are more innovative: 21.2% of alumni firms were digital and ‘cloud’-based firms compared to 3% in the control group.
• Alumni firms are more likely to be limited companies: This suggests alumni have a healthier understanding of risk than the non-alumni.
• Alumni firms are more diverse: Alumni firms ranged from internet sales to advanced engineering, corrosion control and ‘retro’ tourism. Control group firms were concentrated in fewer sectors, particularly healthcare and education.
• Alumni are more likely to be serial entrepreneurs: They are less deterred by the prospect of failing than others.
• They are more likely to be resilient: 49.6% of alumni said boosting sales was the top priority in the downturn while only 5% opted for internal cuts.
• Alumni were very positive about their experience of Young Enterprise: They said the charity had helped them most with achieving objectives, coping with problems and dealing with change.
• “Alumni said Young Enterprise helped them most with improving their ability to achieve objectives, cope with problems and deal with change.”
John: Finally, how do you feel Rotary and our own Club could help and where can we find more information?
Robert: Volunteering with Young Enterprise gives you the opportunity to work with young people and have an impact on their lives. By supporting Young Enterprise with volunteers and funding Rotary Clubs in the United Kingdom:
- Support 5,500 schools
- 250,000 young people every year
- Engage with a network of over 5,000 volunteers
- Assist 3,500 UK companies
- Help underpin the creation of future businesses
- Deliver innovation and resilience in the UK economy
Further information can be found at: http://www.young-enterprise.org.uk/about-us/young-enterprise-by-region/south-west/
John: Thank you Robert for sharing this with us.