The Wood Foundation

Enterprise Education Pilot

In 2009/2010, TWF conducted extensive research on Enterprise programmes past and present that have operated within the British education system. Based on the findings, TWF designed a pilot programme which draws on the key principles of the Scottish Government’s Determined to Succeed strategy, aligns with the Curriculum for Excellence, and supports schools to embed and independently sustain entrepreneurial learning.

In September 2010, TWF launched the Enterprise Education Pilot in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council in two secondary schools: Kincorth Academy and Ellon Academy. 

The Pilot had two key objectives:

  • To create a critical mass of business activity within the Pilot schools.
  • To create a more entrepreneurial ethos within students, teachers, and the wider school community.

To achieve the programme objectives, TWF engaged two delivery partners: Entrepreneurs in Action (EiA) and Enterprise North East Trust (Enterprise). The organisations, both highly experienced Enterprise Education agencies, were commissioned to deliver innovative, real life enterprise experiences, which could be tailored to fit the needs of each school as part of the Curriculum while supporting students and teachers towards successfully establishing a sustainable, profit generating business within each school. 

Enterprising Students

EiA developed three bespoke Enterprise Challenge Days, each one investigating different aspects of business and enterprise with opportunity to put the principles into practice.  Each challenge required real life business involvement, providing tangible opportunities for school/business partnerships to begin.  Challenge Days were fully supported by a comprehensive Resource Guide to provide teaching staff with suggested guidelines for delivery and how the programme can be adapted to suit current business trends and student needs.

During the 2010/2011 academic year, 255 pupils and 14 teachers from across Ellon Academy and Kincorth Academy participated in the Enterprise Challenge Days and directly engaged with 11 local entrepreneurs and business leaders. 

Across all 3 Challenges, pupils at both schools consistently reported an improvement in their core entrepreneurial skills.  Baseline questionnaires showed that before participating on the first Enterprise Challenge, over 70% of participants believed they had no or very little understanding of the term “Entrepreneurship”.  After Challenge 1, interest in Entrepreneurship had risen by 54%, by the end of Challenge 2, 90% of students felt that their interest had increased significantly from Challenge 1;  By the end of Challenge 3, no student stated that they were not interested in Entrepreneurship, in fact over 60% described themselves as “very interested & excited” by entrepreneurship.

Following The Wood Foundation investment, both schools are using the materials develop in order to independently deliver the Challenge Days in conjunction with their business partners.

Business Experience

Enterprise developed the Youth Business Service (YBS), a business advisory service based on similar principles to the highly successful, national, Business Gateway.  The YBS is open to the whole school, providing business advice to students and teachers involved in school businesses, as well as students with their own business ideas and ambitions. The YBS is consolidated with master class sessions for pupils who wish to access business start up funding, networking and mentor support for students and teachers, and CPD opportunities for teachers. All pupils will be able to apply for market test grants or business start up support from a Revolving Fund that TWF has put into Ellon Academy and Kincorth Academy in order to embed these opportunities and support future enterprise activities within each school.

By the end of Year 1, each school had identified a viable business which they wished to set up and run in Year 2. Both schools now have fully operational school business, a smoothie bar in Kincorth Academy, and customised goods business in Ellon Academy, that are run and managed by students with teaching staff support.

A further 6 independent student businesses were also identified and all students received YBS support and mentorship guidance from local entrepreneurs.  In addition, 5 pupils from Kincorth Academy received paid work experience over the summer holidays, with 2 retaining employment upon return to school through a local entrepreneur who had engaged with the Pilot.

Teaching staff at both schools have participated in Business Gateway courses and frequently attend networking events successfully increasing their school’s profile and creating tangible opportunities for businesses to become involved in school activities.