Enterprise education becoming ‘forgotten child’
Social media entrepreneur Ryan Williams has penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him and his government to overhaul A-Level business studies in the national curriculum.
Williams says it must be modernised to increase its practicality and ensure it acts as a springboard for young entrepreneurs.
The intervention comes after Sunak announced his plan for all students to study maths until the age of 18. He stresses that high-quality enterprise education should not be forgotten, as it is vital to opening up opportunities for the next generation and ensuring the long-term prosperity of the country.
Williams is the co-founder of KOMI Group, a multimillion-pound social media, marketing, and licensing agency employing over 80 people. He recently sold his share in the business, allowing him to focus on other business ventures and supporting the creation of young entrepreneurs.
His entrepreneurial journey began when he transformed his passion for making funny football Twitter accounts into a multimillion-pound social and digital media agency.
Williams believes that, in its current state, business studies is unfit for purpose and is putting students off entrepreneurship. Describing his own experience of A-Level business studies, he wrote: “I hated it. It bored me to death and, shockingly, it taught me I didn’t have what it would take to build a successful business”.
Since April 2021, Ofsted has reviewed the curriculum for every major subject, except business studies.
In the letter, Williams calls out Sunak, saying his government wants the UK to be the best place to start and grow a business, but that he has “shunned the opportunity to support the creation of the next generation of British entrepreneurs – the very people who will start and grow the businesses”.
The UK’s economic prospects look grim – growth has flatlined, and the Bank of England expects the country to enter recession this year. But poor economic performance is not an acute issue – the average annual GDP growth in the UK since 2010 is below two per cent. In this environment, the government needs a long-term plan for growth, and first-class enterprise education should be at the heart of such a plan, argues Williams.
Passionate about supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, Williams tells Sunak that business studies must move away from teaching old and dusty perceptions of business and textbook learning to become “laser-focused on giving students the tools, drive, and expertise they need to be successful in business”.
On his aspiration for business studies, he writes, “through reform of the curriculum, business studies can become the go-to career springboard for tens of thousands of bright entrepreneurial children”. Adding, “it is also vital that interaction with entrepreneurs, investors, start-ups, incubators, and others from the business world is built into the very curriculum”.