Video: Young entrepreneurs showcase their talents to business leaders

A school, a university and business leaders have been collaborating to try to find the next Richard Branson or Michelle Mone.

Six pupils from The Hazeley Academy have been selected according to their entrepreneurial skills and encouraged to develop their talents.

Mark Bennison, principal of The Hazeley Academy

Mark Bennison, principal of The Hazeley Academy

They have been developing a game called Timescape and presented their work at the Open University Business School last week.

The Hazeley Academy and Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership see a close connection between business skills and life skills. They are looking at ways to develop entrepreneurs for the future.

Dr Philip Smith, of MK Business Leaders Partnership, said he was concerned that things should be better in Milton Keynes. The new city is often lauded as a place for entrepreneurs.

But he said: “Twenty-five per cent of the unemployed are aged 16 to 24. Many received a limited schooling.”

He added that this state of affairs had not changed much in the last few years and the national curriculum is “too rigid” and suppresses young people.

The Launch Pad scheme has identified children with basic entrepreneurial skills and Dr Smith said he was “highly impressed so far” with the results.

Mark Bennison, principal at The Hazeley Academy, in Emperor Drive, said the scheme is all about bridging the gap between enterprise and business.

“When I spoke to education secretary Michael Gove he told me I was responsible for the future of the economy, to get us out of this mess,” said Mr Bennison. By identifying young people who are creative and put a lot back into society, he believes the scheme is helping to do that.

He called the level of youth unemployment a “national scandal” and added: “As a principal and father of four I have real fears.

“All young people are going to have to reinvent and find opportunities for themselves.”

The six students were identified from an intake of 60 from Two Mile Ash.

The Hazeley Academy’s enterprise and student voice leader, Kate Rogers said: “For every challenge we gave them, they have risen to it.”

The students also heard the real life experience of MK Dons’ chairman Pete Winkelman, who told them how he and his team had created the football stadium and its nearby developments.