Global Entrepreneurship Week Challenge 15th November 2012
Entrepreneurship: what does it mean?
The core work of the Aldridge Foundation all focuses on entrepreneurship:
- Sponsoring entrepreneurial schools and colleges- Academies, UTC’s, studio schools
- Promoting entrepreneurship programmes within these colleges, in the communities surrounding them, and nationally
- Developing exciting projects with the core aim of stimulating entrepreneurial activity within the education space
Our focus on entrepreneurship stems from our founder Sir Rod Aldridge’s personal conviction that “A good education gives people skills and qualifications, and it instils confidence, along with preparing young people for the challenges of life. Everyone has the right to expect an exciting, engaging and relevant education, regardless of who they are, or where they live.”
The Aldridge Foundation sponsors four entrepreneurial academies around the country, with more academies and colleges in development. In our academies entrepreneurship provides context for the learning of core subjects and is integrated into all areas of academy life. We focus on the development of entrepreneurial qualities, rather than only teaching business skills. These qualities include passion, determination, risk-taking, problem-solving, teamwork and creativity. In our academies this feeds into all lessons, activities such as after school clubs, the rewards system and our work with the broader community. All students have the opportunity to take part in entrepreneurial-related activity within and outside of the formal curriculum. These are based on a 'learning through doing' approach, ensuring that we bring the real world into the classroom, and take the classroom out into the real world.
An example of this approach in practice can be seen in this video about the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 "Business in a day challenge" that all students at Brighton, Darwen and Portslade Academies took part in.
A good summary of our approach, again in Sir Rod’s words, is that “We don’t think everyone should set up a business, although we want to help those that wish to. We do think an entrepreneurial mindset gives people the life skills to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve, and take control of their life.”
Here are some examples of entrepreneurial activities at Aldridge Academies:
At Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) DART Gallery is a space for students and local artists to exhibit and sell their work to the public. In June 2010 pupils studying art at DACA opened a new gallery in the town centre where work exhibited by students and local artists is for sale, with a percentage of the price going back into the social enterprise. Having successfully led their own bid to the Youth Opportunities Capital Fund for £35,000, they purchased a lease and renovated the premises to create an inviting space which could be used by students and the whole community. In 2012 the gallery subsequently re-opened in the Academy with sponsorship from
international wallpaper company Graham & Brown.
“We’re really excited to have had the opportunity to start our own art gallery. It has been hard work, but we’re really proud of the result and we hope the community is too’’ Gemma Hulme, DART team member
At Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) the expectation is that all lessons in all subjects will identify at least one learning outcome linked to the entrepreneurial qualities and skills. In Year 12, for example, all students are following the Level 3 CoPE award (A Level equivalent) which focuses on the habits and attributes of entrepreneurship. This involves a series of projects, one of which includes the local Health Authority commissioning students to design provision for a sexual health clinic for young people in Portslade.
In food technology Brighton Aldridge Community Academy’s (BACA) Enterprise Cafe enables students to work in a professional standard kitchen, producing meals for staff and guests, with profits going back into the cafe. The teacher is called 'Chef' and all learning is in the context of working in a real-life kitchen.
Outside of formal lessons assemblies feature talks by inspirational leaders and there are work-shops in class and after school with entrepreneurs from all fields. Innovative trips take help students develop and practice entrepreneurial attitudes. Six BACA students recently visited India to experience social entrepreneurship in action. Competition days against other Aldridge Academies stimulate new business / social enterprise ideas from students. Minister of State for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk visited BACA last December and praised the team of students behind ‘The Lemon Community Garden Project’ (recently devised as part of a national Global Entrepreneurship Week Challenge) calling the social enterprise ‘‘an inspiration’’ and asking the students to update him on their progress.
Global Entrepreneurship Week Challenge 2012
This year's Global Entrepreneurship Week challenge was "Business In A Day". Students of all ages across Darwen, Brighton and Portslade Academies dived head first into the world of business. The challenge helped students develop a wide range of skills – teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, resourcefulness, resilience and communication.