Last year accountants and business advisory firm Grant Thornton released a report carrying a stark warning to the UK – we are not as innovative as we like to think. The Innovation Island report, carried out by The Economist, surveyed chief executives across the globe and found that UK CEOs overestimated how innovative the UK is, compared to the perceptions of the rest of the world. The findings led the firm to do further research into why the UK was not as innovative as it should be, particularly in a time of recession, and what were the key factors.
At a recent round table discussion hosted by Yorkshire Business Insider magazine, a collection of interested parties from the education sector, social enterprises and the business community thrashed out some of the issues and barriers to UK innovation and entrpreneurship. The overwhelming consensus was that the starting point for a successful partnership is that businesses and education establishments need to work more closely together. The delegates found that bureaucracy and packed schedules meant that the education curriculum does not really allow for innovation and so businesses should work directly with youths and the teaching profession. And thus was launched a new initiative to improve enterprise education and culture in the region: Educate to Innovate.
Educate to Innovate is a programme that encourages and enables the business community, including senior Grant Thornton staff, to assist in schools and colleges. In view of some of the excellent initiatives already being offered by the region’s social enterprises, including Partners in Innovation and CSP, it was also agreed that rather than reinventing the wheel, these initiatives should be harnessed within the programme and be properly sign posted.
The programme will promote innovation and skills among seven to 16 year olds in local education establishments and make businesses aware of the opportunities for them to get involved. Initially working with Leeds Ahead and Business in the Community to help local school children literacy and numeracy, Grant Thornton is also looking to develop an online forum which will act as a one stop shop for all such projects and enterprises to create visibility and ease of access to some of the excellent projects already in place across the region.
Educate to Innovate is being piloted in Yorkshire and if successful will be rolled out nationally. For further information or to get involved please contact Sandra O'Neill on 0113 200 1605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.