Young Enterprise

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Young Enterprise
Founded May 1, 1962[1]

Sir Walter Salomon

Mr Anthony Eskenzi CBE DSc (Hon)[[2]
Type Charitable organization
Focus Entrepreneurship
Area served
United Kingdom
324,924 participants (2005/06 academic year)[3]
Key people

Michael Mercieca(Chief Executive)[3]

Ian Smith (Chairman)[3]
£2,751,000 (2006/07 financial year)[1]

Young Enterprise is a not-for-profit business and enterprise education charity in England & Wales.[5] It is made up of three organisations, Young Enterprise, Young Enterprise Scotland and Young Enterprise Northern Ireland, the latter two operating individually under a licence agreement to the former. Young Enterprise's mission statement is "to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise."[6]


Early history[edit]

Sir Walter Salomon founded Young Enterprise in the 1962/1963 academic year, based on the American Junior Achievement programme.[2] By the 1973/1974 academic year, there were twenty-two area boards across the UK running Young Enterprise programmes. In 1977, the European Federation of Young Enterprise was formed, with the UK, France and Belgium amongst the founding members. This was then renamed in 2002 to 'Junior Achievement/ Young Enterprise Europe'.

In the 1980s, the Company Competition began to take on the form it has today. Young Enterprise companies would submit reports to judges who selected the best from each region. The six regional winners were then invited to attend the National Finals in London, where they would deliver a presentation. Midland Bank (now HSBC) also took on the Chairmanship of Young Enterprise in 1988.

Decentralisation and the introduction of new programmes[edit]

During the 1990s, Young Enterprise became less centralised. On August 26, 1991, Young Enterprise Scotland became an independent charity operating under licence from the main UK organisation. Similarly, Young Enterprise Northern Ireland was formed in August 1997. Wales followed suit, with its own organisation in October 1999. Aside from decentralising its operation, Young Enterprise also introduced new programmes during the 1990s. Project Business was launched in 1995, International Trading and Entrepreneurship Masterclass in 1997, and a Graduate Programme in 1998.

In the 2000s, Young Enterprise continued to launch new programmes and reorganise its regional structure. The Primary Programme, originally run in Northern Ireland, was introduced the rest of the UK in 2000. In 2002, the charity's structure was finalised, with 12 autonomous regional organisations throughout the country. 2003 saw the introduction of a further two programmes, Learn to Earn and Enterprise in Action. Young Enterprise's ninth programme, Personal Economics, then launched in 2005.


Young Enterprise currently runs a number of programmes for different age groups and durations.[7] These are split up into company-based programmes and classroom-based programmes.


In the 2005/2006 academic year, 45,872 students ran 3,783 companies, making up 14.1% of the activity that year.[8]

Company Programme[edit]

Aimed at ages 15–19 and run during the course of an academic year, this is the core programme run by Young Enterprise. Students form a business and elect a board of directors from among themselves, raise share capital, then create, sell, and market products, attempting to generate profits. While the amount of capital they have to work with is not enormous, significant profits can be produced. One company, Force-7, made a net profit of £5,215 on revenues of £27,442 from £420 initial shareholder capital.[9] Business advisors, volunteers arranged by Young Enterprise, are allocated to their business to mentor students.[10] Another Company, BENSevent, a company that offered youth between the ages of 15 to 18 in the northwest region of Skåne, Sweden, entertainment events of high quality had a revenue of £21 200 with a profit of £4 000 with £20 initial shareholder capital. The two most popular Young Enterprise companies are Company 4 Music and Bloom, according to Facebook statistics.

There is also a multi-layered competition element to find the best overall companies and departments at local, regional and national level. Candidate business have to create a trade stand and a presentation based on their specific businesses history and their product performance in the marketplace.

At each of these events - local, regional and national level - judges mark each businesses' efforts and present awards that often include Best Presentation, Best Innovation, and Best Trade Stand. Success in these awards counts towards the likelihood of a Young Enterprise company being presented with the Best Overall Company award at each level.

Team Programme[edit]

This programme, aimed at ages 15–19+, takes place over 1 or 2 academic years. Students who have experienced difficulties with their learning form a company and work together, meeting every week. Each company is supported by a volunteer from business who works with the students to mentor and advise them.[11]

Start-up Programme[edit]

Massively updated and relaunched in September as the Start-up Programme the former Graduate Programme has more features and is now completely age appropriate. Targeted at students in higher education, this programme runs for a full academic year. Participants set up and run their own company, whilst being mentored by a volunteer business advisor assigned by Young Enterprise.[12]


In the 2005/2006 academic year, 244,000 students took part in 5,562 classroom-based programmes, making up 75.1% of the activity that year.[8]

Primary Programme[edit]

Aimed at ages 4–11, this programme is subdivided into 6 modules for each year of primary education, with 5 sessions in each module.[13]

Enterprise in Action[edit]

This programme, aimed at ages 12–15, revolves around students designing, planning, building and promoting a model for a prototype product. An interactive business context is then simulated over the Internet. The Enterprise in Action programme is run over 2 days or over a 7-week period.[14]

Learn To Earn[edit]

Aimed at ages 13–15, this programme comprises six sessions, run over a six-week period or as a one-day seminar. It is designed to show students the link between their education and their future success.[15]

Personal Economics[edit]

Runs over five one-hour weekly sessions or as a one-day or two-day seminar, this programme is aimed at ages 12–15 and introduces the concepts of personal finance, credit and debt, savings, investments and budgeting.[16]

Project Business[edit]

Aimed at ages 13–15, this six session programme is presented over 6 weeks or as a 1-day seminar. It is designed to give participating students an activity-based insight into economic and business life.[17]

Entrepreneurship Masterclass[edit]

This full or half-day seminar is aimed at ages 15+ and is designed to inspire students through talks given by entrepreneurs.[18]

Key Programme[edit]

Only available in Northern Ireland, this programme is aimed at ages 14–16 and focuses on personal development.[19]

Benefits for participants[edit]

Typically, students who have participated in Young Enterprise will have a better understanding of entrepreneurship and business than their peers.[citation needed] Research conducted by FreshMinds found that students who complete the Company Programme typically earn between £40,000 and £45,000 after they reach the age of 30. In contrast, their classmates who did not take part in the programme, earn £26,000 to £30,000.[20][21] Nearly 60% of those who had been on the Company Programme said they had a "good understanding" of career options when they left school, while 46% of those who did not take part did. It was also found that Young Enterprise alumni are twice as likely to start up their own company than their peers.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales". Charity Commission. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  2. ^ a b "History of Young Enterprise". Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  3. ^ a b c "Young Enterprise Annual Review". 2006-11-16. Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  4. ^ "Young Enterprise Get Involved". Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  5. ^ "Young Enterprise About Us". Retrieved 2008-06-10. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Young Enterprise Mission Statement". Archived from the original on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  7. ^ "Young Enterprise Programmes". Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  8. ^ a b "Young Enterprise Highlights for the year ended 31 July 2006" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  9. ^ Kollewe, Julia (2007-07-17). "Young, talented and business-minded". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  10. ^ "Young Enterprise Company Programme". Archived from the original on February 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  11. ^ "Young Enterprise Team Programme". Archived from the original on June 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  12. ^ "YoungEnterpriseStart-upProgramme". Archived from the original on October 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  13. ^ "Young Enterprise Primary Programme". Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  14. ^ "Young Enterprise Enterprise in Action". Archived from the original on June 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  15. ^ "Young Enterprise Learn to Earn". Archived from the original on December 2, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  16. ^ "Young Enterprise Personal Economics". Archived from the original on July 12, 2009. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  17. ^ "Young Enterprise Project Business". Archived from the original on November 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  18. ^ "Young Enterprise Entrepreneurship Masterclass". Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  19. ^ "Young Enterprise Key Programme". Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  20. ^ "Extra-curricular lessons in tenacity and commitment". The Telegraph. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  21. ^ "Young Enterprise scheme hailed". The Press Association. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-06-10. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Young Enterprise alumni twice as likely to start up a business than their peers". 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2008-06-10. [dead link]

External links[edit]