Spotlight on Young Enterprise

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Each year Young Enterprise helps young people across the United Kingdom learn about business. With support from volunteers and companies, the charity encourages youth to learn by doing. Young Enterprise delivers a wide range of programmes for youth at every stage of their education. The charity delivers programming specifically for young people aged 4 to 12, as well as classroom and company-based programmes for secondary and university students. Young Enterprise programmes help youth develop skills beyond those learned from textbooks and traditional academic curriculum.

About Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise is a not-for-profit charity focused on business and enterprise education. Operating throughout the United Kingdom, the charity is comprised of 12 regional organisations that operate independently under license agreements with Young Enterprise. Founded in 1962, Young Enterprise has become the UK’s largest enterprise education charity. According to Young Enterprise, the charity engaged some 3,500 businesses and 220,000 youth between the ages of 4 and 25 in approximately 5,000 schools, colleges and universities in 2012. Since its founding, the charity estimates that 3.8 million young people have participated in Young Enterprise programmes.

Founded by merchant banker Sir Walter Salomon, the concept behind Young Enterprise was based on the Junior Achievement programme operating in the United States. The charity is part of Junior Achievement/Young Enterprise Europe, which was created as the European Federation of Young Enterprise in 1977. By 1973/74, 22 area boards in the UK were running Young Enterprise programmes. In the 1980s, the charity created its Company Competition initiative. In the 1990s, Young Enterprise decentralised with Young Enterprise Scotland being set up in 1991, followed by Young Enterprise Northern Ireland in 1997 and Young Enterprise Wales in 1999. New programmes were introduced throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including Project Business in 1995, the International Trading and Entrepreneurship Masterclass in 1997, the Graduate Programme in 1998, the Primary Programme in 2000, Learn to Earn and Enterprise in Action in 2003, Personal Economics in 2005, and the Tenner programme in 2013.

Mandate and Activities

Young Enterprise aims to inspire and equip youth to learn and succeed through business and entrepreneurship. The charity believes that academic skills and exams should not be the sole focus of education. Rather, young people must be exposed to and learn about employable skills such as team work, practical thinking, business practices and punctuality in order to succeed in the workforce. Young Enterprise also encourages entrepreneurship through classroom education and practical experience. A study by the Kingston University Business School in 2012 found that youth participating in Young Enterprise’s Start-up and Company programmes were nearly twice as likely to start up their own businesses. A similar study by Fresh Minds in 2008 found that participants earned a third more than their peers by age 30. This study also found that Young Enterprise participants also had a better understanding of career options and earned more later in life.

Young Enterprise programmes are company-based and classroom-based initiatives. Company-based initiatives include the Company Programme, which is the charity’s core offering and allows students between the ages of 15 and 19 to form and operate their own business. Formerly the Graduate Programme, the Start-up Programme is targeted at higher education students interested in setting up and running a company under the mentorship of a business advisor. Classroom-based initiatives include the Primary Programme for children aged 4 to 11 and Enterprise in Action, which educates young people aged 12 to 15 on designing, planning, building and promoting a product. Other classroom initiatives include Learn to Earn, Personal Economics, Project Business and Entrepreneurship Masterclass. These classroom modules help students link their education with future success, as well as introduce young people to finance, business life and economic issues. Young Enterprise programming varies in duration from half-day seminars to full academic year programmes.

Contact Information

The head office of Young Enterprise is located at Yeoman House, Sekforde Street, London, EC1R 0HF, UK. Inquires may be made on 020 7549 1980 or by emailing The Young Enterprise Support Centre is located at Peterley House, Peterley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 2TZ. The Support Centre may also be reached on 01865 776 845. Additional information about Young Enterprise and contact information for regional offices are available at