UK schooling is failing to provide skills needed for an entrepreneurial future

Entrepreneurs in the UK do not feel that education in earlier life has sufficiently tooled them up for business success, Ernst & Young says.

Some 59 per cent of start-up entrepreneurs feel ‘let down’ by their formal education, a new survey finds, when it comes to preparing them for the business world.

As part of its Striding Out ‘Future 50’ award programme, accountancy firm Ernst & Young finds that the main skills lacking for entrepreneurs when it comes to building a business are raising finance, legal and tax assistance and pitching and sales.

By questioning 39 award-winning entrepreneurs between the ages of 20 and 35, the professional services firm finds that responses stand at 38 per cent for finance and raising running, 23 per cent for legal and tax assistant, 21 per cent for pitching and sales and 15 per cent managing suppliers.

Martin Cook, UK & Ireland commercial managing partner at Ernst & Young, comments, ‘It has been widely acknowledged that entrepreneurs represent the most important route to securing growth, innovation and jobs in the economy.

‘Though there are some good schemes in schools and universities, more must be done to provide practical business skills to ensure young people are equipped with the ability to translate academic experience and success into entrepreneurial action.’

More on young entrepreneurs:

Ernst & Young is calling for more business mentors to come forward and plug what it identifies as a ‘demand’ among start-ups.

Further findings from its study shows that respondents identified experience in their sector (at 64 per cent) and ability to give criticism (at 23 per cent) as the most important qualities for a mentor.

Young entrepreneurs see family members as the biggest influence on setting up a business, followed closely by other business people they know.

Cook adds, ‘Whilst it is encouraging that so many young people are inspired by family members to start their own business, not all young people have access to this support.

‘The private sector must increasingly provide role models and mentors to fill the gaps identified. Mentorship is crucial to realise the potential of companies and achieve sustainability and scale.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

Related Topics