You may or may not have heard the cries from UK entrepreneurs over the past week, all of whom are calling for the government to introduce a new funding scheme for young entrepreneurs based on the student loan system.
Unsurprisingly, these calls have been led by jack of all trades and general business provocateur Sir Richard Branson. Mr Virgin himself was one of five other business people, including Neil Berkett, CEO of Virgin Media, Abdul Khan from ratethatcurry.com, Ronke Ike, CEO of EMI – as well Ben and Zoe Jackson, founders of Living The Dream; each of which signed a letter in the Telegraph which said the government should “make favourable-rate loans available as start-up capital for young entrepreneurs, with the same conditions that exist for much larger loans for…students”
The letter continued: “As university applications fall and young people consider alternative career paths, it is time to review the value society places on a degree above other choices”
In saying that, I believe they made a very fair point. I know many successful business men and women who did not go to university; owners of global corporations, millionaires, serial investors – none of whom went to University. Equally, I know Doctors and Lawyers, all of which did go to University. Higher education provides a skill set that is not necessarily applicable to the world of real life commerce. And in addition to that fact, the jobs market continues to appear less and less stable as the weeks and months go on; meaning, even if a new graduate comes out with a first in their degree, there’s little guarantee of finding meaningful work.
Coincidently maybe, this news comes in the wake of President Obama announcing details to ease federal student loan burdens in the U.S. His plan was to reduce loan repayments for entrepreneurs looking to start a business after ‘College’. Considering most early stage business revenues are very small, if existent at all, I think this was yet another master stroke from Obama, and most definitely a step in the right direction.
Both schemes need to be pushed through the burocracy and redtape of modern day politics as quickly as possible. Business Zone recently ran a poll asking whether their readers thought the former idea was a good one – of which only 76% of them agreed it was! What an earth is wrong with the other 24%. Have they gone mad??
I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter, so please leave a comment below. Especially if you’re one of the 24%!