Enterprise does not mean Business, stupid!

‘Enterprise education is about the next generation of entrepreneurs’ claimed one of the speakers at the LEGI conference in Leeds yesterday.  And judging from most of the contributions that is a widely shared belief.

Which is bad news for me – because I think it profoundly wrong.  And it is bad news for our economy too because it needs people with enterprising minds in every conceivable area of life.

And by an enterprising mind I don’t mean one that can put a price on the school  magazine and sell advertising (and we wonder why proper educators fail to engage?) but one that is always looking at opportunities to improve, to innovate, to push boundaries and challenge limitations.  A mind that believes it can help it’s owner to take some control over their future.  To make good things happen.

Not a mind that thinks if I just keep my head down, do as I am told, be a good ‘team player’ (few entrepreneurs are good team players – this something they often have to work at) and work hard, the teacher will give me an ‘A’.

Enterprise education is NOT about the next generation of entrepreneurs.  It is about the next generation of active, engaged, committed, creative and passionate citizens.

I love enterprise.

I love entrepreneurship too!

I am also passionate about education. (I taught  secondary Science and Outdoor Ed for years).

But if you tried to engage me in enterprise education on the basis that it is about running businesses and selling the school magazine you would get short shrift from me too.

No wonder so many bleat about how hard it is to embed ‘enterprise’ in the curriculum.  Surely few teachers want to be utilitarian agents of the employers, economists, politicians and The Treasury?

So let us offer a broader conception of enterprise.  One that is about helping students to find their future and helping them to gain the powers that they need to make it a reality.

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  1. Mike,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Our campaign at Common Purpose is all about ‘ the next generation of active, engaged, committed, creative and passionate citizens.’

    The same thing happens when we use the term leadership. Many people can see it as a term for the few, rather than something that is needed at all levels and from all people. Good luck with your campaigning on this.

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