Young tycoons academy swamped with applications

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An academy that encourages young entrepreneurs to run their own business at the age of 16 has been swamped by applications, reports the Observer newspaper.

There have been more than five candidates for every one of the 28 places at the new National Enterprise Academy, a business school set up by multi-millionaire businessman, Peter Jones.

Peter Jones said: "I think we all underestimated just how thirsty young people are for this kind of project. They are incredibly ambitious and passionate about their work, so we have had to constantly set them bigger and bigger challenges to maintain their interest.

"The desire among young people to be entrepreneurs has never been as strong as it is today. Programmes such as Dragons' Den and The Apprentice have laid down a challenge and there are examples, such as the founders of Smoothies and Facebook, who have shown it can be done."

The academy is one of four skills academies which will be jointly funded by employers and the government. It is the first to get off the ground and will open on two sites in September, one in Manchester and the other in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

Peter Jones plans to bring his tycoon teaching to thousands of other young people through a qualification he has jointly devised with Edexcel, the exam group, which will eventually be taught at satellite branches at further education colleges around the country.

Almost all the tutors on the course are businessmen and women who must prove to Jones that they are not only successful but able to teach.

Lessons are skills-based and practical, such as making a video presentation, taking interview notes or managing the finances and promotion of virtual businesses.

When the college opens its doors in September, young tycoons will spend the equivalent of four months running businesses and will gain work experience in companies where they are set specific tasks and projects to complete, in a curriculum which mirrors the TV programmes. The new functional skills tests will be incorporated for those who failed to master spelling, grammar and arithmetic at school.

10/05/09

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