A new scheme has been unveiled to support the budding entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
It will support 1000 young entrepreneurs in its pilot year, helping them shape and articulate business ideas, and taking them through to real businesses.
It is effectively a Duke of Edinburgh Award for tech, with those involved gaining industry recognised badges along the way; a Duke of York Award if you like.
Every year, the 20 most promising ventures will received £5000 incubation funding and the three ventures that then show the most potential will be awarded £15000 funding.
The Duke of York was joined by musician, The Voice coach and entrepreneur will.i.am at the announcement and together made for a interesting pair.
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Last year, will.i.am launched an iPhone camera accessory, which was described as “ugly, expensive and useless”. It went on sale exclusively at Selfridges and then at Macworld.
The accessory was by no means a success, but he still believes that entrepreneurial skills are important for today’s young people:
Today, digital skills incorporating computing, coding and marketing are a baseline requirement to succeed in almost every career path. Whether a young person aspires to be a fashion designer, a doctor, a solar engineer, or a musician, digital and entrepreneurial skills are essential to success.
A lack of entrepreneurial education
The announcement comes after a rise in entrepreneurial ambition from young people in the UK.
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A recent study by Unltd revealed more that 14% of young people aged 16-25 are in the process of starting their own company, compared to 8% a year ago.
Despite these rising figures, YouGov research, commissioned by the Nominet Trust, found 64% of 16-25 year olds feel that formal education doesn’t go far enough to help young people interested in entrepreneurship.
Finding a business mentor
They hope to support one million young people in the UK over the next five years.
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Mentorship and individual support will play a key role in iDEA as the programme connects young entrepreneurs with mentors and partners to help develop their idea.
Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust, said:
Digital technology has fundamentally changed the nature of entrepreneurship, opening up new opportunities for young people to create businesses. However, much of the support currently available to young entrepreneurs is desperately out of sync with their needs.