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Alliance creates ‘ladder of enterprise’ for young

Gary McEwan and Geoff Leask

Two of Scotland’s enterprise agencies have joined forces to launch what they describe as a game-changing ‘Ladder of Enterprise’.

Enterprise education charity, Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) and social enterprise, Elevator, have formed an alliance to create an uninterrupted pathway for entrepreneurial young people.

It will stretch from primary school through to college and when they first step out of the education system.

Complementary YES and Elevator programmes mark different rungs of the ‘ladder’. Each age appropriate, they build entrepreneurial skills, such as teamwork and good communication, teach financial capabilities, offer immersive challenges for students to gain experience of running companies and finally practical guidance for setting up businesses.

It offers students of YES’s celebrated Company Programme and Bridge 2 Business initiatives another step in their enterprise journey by linking in with Elevator’s business advice and enterprise hubs.

With links that go back over 15 years, the alliance between YES and Elevator represents a sustainable, rapid-recovery initiative to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. It expands the options for young people as they enter working life. 

Starting in Lanarkshire, with support from local schools and colleges, the aim is to embed the Ladder of Enterprise model into all regions of Scotland, strengthening the Scottish economy through much increased entrepreneurial activity and more business start-ups.

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Geoff Leask, CEO at YES, explains: “Young Enterprise Scotland has a strong pedigree for enterprise learning in schools and colleges.

“However, as young people leave education, we’ve not been able to know with confidence that those ready to take the next tentative and exciting steps into business will have the correct support structures for the next phase of their journey. That now changes with the alliance with Elevator.

“This new alliance will ensure that there is a ‘plug in’ point for the students inspired by our enterprise programmes. By creating a ‘ladder of enterprise’ more young people will have the support to go on and start up their own businesses. It is a game-changer for us.”

Professor Gary McEwan, CEO of Elevator, said: “Collaborating now has never been more important: the economic damage caused by COVID-19 is eye-watering.

“Elevator and YES have a shared vision to encourage and support the entrepreneurial leaders of the future. Both our organisations operate nationally, we’re both driven by a commitment to the greater good and together we can offer a continuous development path for all young entrepreneurs, as well as a collective voice to champion young people in enterprise.”

The first Ladder of Enterprise is being introduced in Lanarkshire. In schools, Elevator will liaise with YES volunteer and local area chair, businessman Joe Docherty, who helps deliver the Company Programme.

Within the further education sector, New College Lanarkshire, University of West Scotland and South Lanarkshire College are all on board, welcoming the initiative to support new business start-ups from the college campus.  



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