The pleasures of a flower shop; other types of business are also good!

The pleasures of a flower shop; other types of business are also good!

Outside the Box delivered by Red Potato for Oaklands College, Hertfordshire

Mark Rowley from the Welwyn Florist talks market research at an Outside the Box Business Bootcamp

Inspiring young people about a career as an entrepreneur, is great when done by other entrepreneurs.  Red Potato works in partnership with local entrepreneurs to equip students with the skills needed to set up in business.  At a time when some UK schools are described as stagnating by international standards, could entrepreneurship, switch students back onto education?

“Check out the area, what kind of cars are going up and down the high street, what time of day is the high street busy?” Mark Rowley from the Old Welwyn Florist was talking about his market research prior to setting up his shop.  Mark knows quite a lot about market research – business is nearly “blooming” (sorry for the pun!) for his high street florist, thanks to infectious enthusiasm, a great product range and sheer bl**dy hard work.

The future entrepreneurs

Outside the Box Business Bootcamp is delivered by Red Potato in partnership with Oaklands College

Mark is just one of several entrepreneurs from the B49 networking group.  Mark was joined by fellow business owners, Matt Howeson from 3internet and Jon Pentel from Systemtalk who came to Oaklands College in Hertfordshire, on a cold night in December so that the students could see and hear real life entrepreneurs talk about business.  The session at the student campus in Welwyn Garden City was part of the Out of the Box Business Bootcamp.

The aim of the Business Bootcamp is to equip students with all the information they need to set up and run their own business.  It’s quite a tall order, but central to the success of the sessions is hearing from local entrepreneurs about their experiences.  The initial feedback from the students was very positive – “insightful”, “inspiring” and “motivational” were the words used to describe the session.

In the longer term the success of these sessions needs to be compared to other forms of training for new entrepreneurs.   For Oaklands College, success will be measured by whether the sessions lead to more students knowing how to access the help available to them and then taking those first daunting steps as entrepreneurs.   It is not an easy path, and does not necessarily lead to fame and fortune.

Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith at Herts Chamber of Commerce

The Bishop of St Albans was the invited guest at a recent Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce meeting.   The Bishop was talking about his views on education and business.  In response to questions, he said that not everyone can be an entrepreneur; and of course he is right.  The UK performance in the (PISA) international league table for maths, science, reading and problem solving, shows that we can’t be complacent.   Making the explicit link between maths, science, reading, problem solving  and enterprise is one answer.  Entrepreneurs able to inspire young people about the importance of these competencies, when building an enterprise able to compete on the global stage, might be even better.  Otherwise it might all be down to sheer bl**dy hard work.