Youth enterprise schemes ‘backfire’

university students

Attempts to inspire young people to start businesses are backfiring by alienating would-be business owners with “outdated” views of entrepreneurship and poorly conceived schemes, according to a new report.

Support programmes for fledgling business owners are “misdirected and out of touch”, research by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) found, with too much emphasis on perceptions of entrepreneurs as “isolated, highly driven, risk- taking mavericks”.

Large, nationwide policies designed to boost youth enterprise are proving ineffective, researchers said, arguing that more emphasis should be put on “small scale support that’s built on experimentation at a [regional] grass roots level” – which the RSA said is more effective than “grand policy solutions” and the “burgeoning enterprise support industry”.

The Government has attempted to boost youth enterprise with nationwide schemes such as StartUp Loans, which offers student-style low-interest loans to young people starting companies. 

The scheme has now provided 2,000 loans to young people – with a typical loan of £4,500 complimented by business advice. James Caan, who chairs the initiative, said it is “only scratching the surface” of the demand from young people for business finance.

However, the RSA said there is too much emphasis on start-up finance, leaving the large numbers of young entrepreneurs who prefer to build the initial stages of their business on a shoestring “overlooked”.


About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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