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September 28, 2012

Starting young is key to entrepreneurial success

Running a business at school almost doubles your chances of self-employment later in life, according to new research by Kingston University Business School for Young Enterprise.

The report — Impact: 50 Years of Young Enterprise — finds that teenagers who have run a profit-making enterprise in the classroom are almost twice as likely (42%) to go on to become company owners than those who have not (26%).

The research involved interviews with 371 alumni who attended Young Enterprise programmes between 1962, when the charity was founded, and now. The results were compared with a control group of 202 people who had never been on a Young Enterprise programme, adjusting for the difference in sample size.

The study also found that the companies that Young Enterprise alumni create tend to employ more people, turn over more money, be more innovative and high-tech, and are more resilient in surviving a recession than the companies set up by those who did not experience enterprise education at school.

Other key findings are:

  • 12% of the alumni firms are turning over £500,000 a year compared to 3% of the control group;
  • 11% of alumni companies have 51-99 employees compared to 9% of the control group;
  • 21.2% of alumni firms were digital and cloud-based firms compared to 3% in the control group. 

Michael Mercieca, Young Enterprise chief executive said: 'At a time when youth unemployment remains unacceptably high, this research shows how vital it is to give young people the chance to run businesses at school. It demonstrates that Young Enterprise has, for 50 years, been an enormous engine nurturing the crucial entrepreneurial talent that Britain desperately needs to revive the economy."