Kanya King is a remarkable woman. More precisely she is a very unremarkable woman with a remarkable story. We all have the potential to do remarkable things. She is best known for re-mortgaging her house to see her dream – The MOBO Awards – become a reality.
She is passionate about giving young people the opportunity to experience enterprise. To inspire a new generation of business entrepreneurs.
To further this passion she has teamed up with Thomson Local – the database people – to challenge school children (16+) to develop business ideas that will benefit their local community.
The best will secure a bursary of £100 and mentoring from a ‘business hero’.
Thomson will also build them a web site – apparently whether their business idea demands one – or not. It might have been more interesting if Thomson helped them to develop a strategy to get to market. The default position of ‘I need a website’ is not always the best one.
The overall competition winners will win a ‘money can’t buy prize’. VIP experience at the next MOBOs perhaps?
I love the fact that this kind of stuff happens. That people care about enterprise.
But I worry too;
- I worry that they cite research (unreferenced) suggesting that 81% of British children want to run their own business – can this be true? On what basis has this want developed?
- I worry that combining the forces of a for profit like Thomson with a business planning competition will further distort what educationalists percieve enterprise education to be all about.
- I worry that the emphasis on ‘pitching your ideas’ – letting others attach their valuation to your business dream – will emphasise an external locus of control that is unhelpful to the entrepreneur.
- I worry that asking young people to focus on making things better in their community – perhaps before they have learned how to make things better for themselves might inculcate lessons of selflessness that could be unhelpful.
- I worry that this type of scheme will attract those who are already destined for an enterprising future and turn off those who think that school based competitions are uncool and that business is for geeks.
- I worry about the language of supplying ‘business hero’ mentors.
- I worry about the volume of work that such projects place on students and their teachers at a really busy time in the their school life.
- I worry about further strengthening the perception that enterprise = business and more teachers resisting the enterprise agenda as a capitalist plot to brainwash young people.
- I worry about the fact that the website that is the home of the competition appears to have no RSS feed. I am invited to ‘check back’ for updates! As if web 2.0 had not happened!!
So I have signed up to offer to be a business hero – notwithstanding considerable reservations.
Let’s see where this takes us!