Enterprise education has been proliferating in schools around the world. It aims to give students an understanding of economics and business, as well as to encourage them to be “enterprising” and to view business enterprise as “positive and worthwhile”. In many cases enterprise education involves the students running a very small business, often a virtual business but sometimes a real one.
Enterprise Insight was founded by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses, which also fund and run it. It organises a Global Entrepreneurship Week (previously National Enterprise Week) each year with over 1000 events around the country. It also seeks to “engage young people in the main spaces they occupy in their lives - work, education, leisure and media” through the use of personal stories, role models, and workshops. It has full government support.
Enterprise Insight runs the Make Your Mark Challenge, "the UK’s largest one-day enterprise challenge for students aged 14-19" on the first day of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and Make Your Mark Clubs, school based enterprise groups.
BusinessDynamics is “a business education and enterprise charity that aims to bring business to life for young people”. It runs one and two day programmes for school children on finanical skills and “understanding of business and its crucial role in the economy”. It is sponsored by dozens of companies including Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Foundation, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers and UBS.
BusinessDynamics is part of the Education Enterprise Trust, which “empowers young people to realise their potential through business and enterprise”. It claims that “To be successful, young people need an enterprising attitude to life. We develop the skills employers want, and increase students' knowledge of business, bridging the gap between school and work”.
Blue Skies is is also part of the Enterprise Education Trust. It seeks to “put Britain's most exciting young entrepreneurs face to face with students”. It utilises multimedia, video, live music and other methods of engaging students and produces an “interactive TV-style Game Show focuses on entrepreneurs, their businesses and the key business skills required for success”.
YoungBiz runs courses and workshops for students in the UK, the US, South Korea and Hong Kong, publishes classroom curricula, and trains teachers. For example its Game of Business is a ten hour program for children aged 9 to 11 that “encourages pupils to develop enterprising behaviours through play”.
Business in the Community aims to “support business in continually improving its positive impact on society”. It is supported by Cadbury Schweppes, UBS, PricewaterhouseCoopers and others. It produces The Enterprise Zone, a resource for schools that includes lesson plans.
Other organisations promoting enterprise education include:
Junior Achievement (JA) is an enterprise education program that began its operations in the US in 1919 and has since become an international organization. It claims to reach over 8 million students each year in over 100 countries on 6 continents; 4 million in the US alone.
"We are the passionate people behind a movement that seeks to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives… From this, we articulate our mission: to ensure that every child in America has a fundamental understanding of the free enterprise system."
JA’s funding comes from a variety of corporations including AT&T and Microsoft (over $5 million each), HSBC and Citi Foundation (over $2.5 million each), Barclays, Deloitte, FedEx, GE Foundation, JPMorganChase (over $1 million each) and many others.
JA’s programmes cover all school levels beginning with kindergarten. For high school there is JA Economics, a semester long course—complete with textbooks and study guides—teaching economic fundamentals such as “the nature of the free enterprise system”; “how voluntary exchange markets allocate resources” and set prices; “the role of entrepreneurs”; and the “costs and benefits of international trade”. The course is often taught by business executives from Kraft Foods and over 2000 other companies. JA also has a program for middle grades called the International Marketplace that includes a game called Trade Wins. The program teaches things like “why trade barriers inhibit economic growth” and “the roles of private ownership and markets in promoting economic growth and directing the use of environmental resources”.
JA has equivalents in over one hundred countries. In Australia, Young Achievement Australia (YAA) was introduced by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia and it is currently sponsored by BHP Billiton, Channel Ten, ANZ, FedEx, Elders, and hundreds of other corporations as well as various government departments. This amounts to some $2.5 million in sponsorship and donations each year, and together with the voluntary labour of some 1,600 businesspeople as mentors, enables YAA to offer its programs free of charge, including to “youth at risk”, the unemployed and Aboriginal groups.
YAA has state and regional offices throughout the country and claims to have reached 170,000 young Australians. It offers economics programs from primary school up and enjoyed the glowing endorsement of former prime minister John Howard.
In the UK Young Enterprise, which was founded in 1963, reaches 350,000 young people each year with the support of 11,500 business volunteers and more than 3000 businesses, that have included HSBC Bank, Cadbury Schweppes, Hewlett Packard, Nestle UK, Procter and Gamble and TNT Express. It has programs for all levels of schooling beginning with primary school. The six primary school modules teach children how to be good workers and consumers and the benefits of international trade.
For more senior students aged 14-16 years Young Enterprise’s Project Business helps students to better understand business from a business point of view. Its aims are to enable young people to, among other things, “appreciate the role of business and enterprise in our society” and “build a bridge between school and the business world”.
In NZ the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) is run by the Young Enterprise Trust in around 40 percent of secondary schools "to promote an enterprise culture amongst New Zealand School students". The Trust is funded by corporate and private sources and supported by government.
The students run a business during the school year, developing a product or service which they market and sell. Usually this is part of classroom activities, although sometimes it is run as an after school activity. Students can earn 24 credit points towards their NZ Qualifications Authority qualification by taking part. Today 42,000 students take part in Trust programmes which include a primary school enterprise program (PrEP) as well as an Enterprise Studies Programme in secondary schools.
Another international enterprise education program is the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) which was founded in 1987. It now has over “1500 Certified Entrepreneurship Teachers” in 12 countries and claims to have “reached more than 280,000 young people”. It offered an online curriculum, a textbook, various school and after school programmes, and business camps.
In the US, where it focuses on young people from low-income communities, it is supported by the Goldman Sachs Foundation (over $4 million), Microsoft Corporation (over $2million), Merrill Lynch, McKinsey & Co, Scaife Family Foundation and Koch foundations (over $1million) and many others.
NFTE-UK opened in 2000. Its advisors come from Goldman Sachs International, HSBC, the International Business Leaders Forum as well as from the education sector. Its supporters include Vodafone, Morgan Stanley, Merill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, UBS Warburg, Barclays Capital and News Inernational.
Michael J. Caslin, III, CEO of the NFTE, testified to a US Congressional hearing that 63 percent of students who had taken NFTE courses viewed the market economy more favourably, whilst 33 percent didn’t change their view.