Inspiring the Leaders of Tomorrow

Ajay Chowdhury, Partner and Managing Director of BCG Digital Ventures UK, shares why everyone has a role to play in inspiring the startups of the future.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to take part in the Founders4Schools’ programme for the first time and visit, Bexleyheath Academy, a school in southeast London. Founders4School is an excellent scheme across the UK that brings business leaders into the classroom.

There are a record number of people starting businesses in the UK and the under-35 age bracket has seen the steepest increase in activity, since the recession, with a rise of 70pc since 2006 according to a report by Duedil and Enterprise Nation.

Students are no longer solely looking for an area of study to focus their entire career on, or a job for life. Some are looking for alternative career paths that don’t always include university. This movement is fuelled by startups such as Airbnb and Facebook, whose founders are under 30 and have completely disrupted the market. These inspirational brands and their aspirational founders give confidence to students to create their own startup.

The Founders4School programme is a fantastic initiative as it gives students the opportunity to explore new sectors and jobs, as well as providing inspiration to start their own business. During my session with the Year 13 students, I spoke about my career path and Robert Gardner, Co-Founder of independent investment consultants, Redington, also joined the visit.

It is vital for the UK economy that we continue to inspire schoolchildren to not just start businesses but aspire to work in digital, as it stands there are almost 1 million jobs available within this sector and this is set to grow.

A study by Unltd revealed that more than 55% of those aged 16–25 wanted to set-up their own business and 14% are in the process of doing so. We need to ensure this trend continues and whilst entrepreneurship is not a subject that is taught in schools currently it is something we need to push through schemes such as Founders4Schools so the UK continues to be a landmark in creating true innovation. We all have a role to play to ensure students are inspired and supported.