Scoodle goes to 10 downing street
In the midst of some pretty big Brexit discussions, Scoodle made it to Downing Street. We didn't discuss Brexit because, well, where do you start?
We did, however, talk business. By that I mean, what's it like starting a business here in the UK? What are the major concerns and barriers? The governments care about entrepreneurship and business because businesses create jobs and pay taxes (usually) - things the government values pretty highly.
Of course, Scoodle is a startup in education. So they were really keen to learn about our thoughts in this space. There were some pretty exciting outcomes on the back of that discussion, and here are some of our key learnings.
Students at schools aren't tempted to start businesses.
The first time I saw "entrepreneurship" was as a 13-year-old. There was always one kid who'd sell snacks in schools. That, at its very core, is business 101:
There is a problem - school food isn't very good. That creates demand. Some students buy snacks before school, and then sell it for a higher price.
I tried being that kid once. The problem was, I kept eating my stock. At least I tried!
When you spend your life talking about ‘getting a job', it's pretty difficult to think you could start creating employment. And here lies one of the biggest problems that kids face - they grow up losing their creative thinking.
To inspire them, schools bring in entrepreneurs. The problem is, the only types of entrepreneurs that speak at some of these schools are those that are already from wealthy backgrounds and are probably in their 50s. Students can't relate. That's why at Scoodle, we make an effort to speak directly to students. We find that kids tend to relate more, and it makes a huge difference in the perception of entrepreneurship.
The outcome? Well, we're hoping to see more 13-16 year-olds wanting to start their own startups!
Schools aren't ready to adopt the coolest tech
I've done hundreds of workshops and assemblies across the country. What's really strange is the number of schools I've spoken at who lack basics like good wifi. I mention this because, well, there are some pretty amazing companies in the education space. I've spoken to dozens, and they're doing some incredible things that can really change the learning experience. The problem is, schools just aren't ready to support this level of innovation - they don't even have good wifi!
A lot of these companies prefer not to work with these schools, because of the slow decision-making process in them. Because of this, investors aren't generally fond of companies that sell directly to schools. So, these startups look elsewhere. Ultimately, it is the students who lose out. Learning can be accelerated so much more with the right kind of tech, but existing decision-making structures makes that incredibly difficult.
The obvious one - let's teach students more tech!
When I was at school, I spent my ICT classes learning how to use Microsoft Word. It was great because it was a ‘free lesson'. Most kids knew how to use Word, so we'd work for 10 minutes and spend the rest of our time playing games on Miniclip. Of course in hindsight, I'm sure I could've done something more useful with my time.
That's changing now, at least I hope it is. They've introduced Computer Science as a GCSE, which is definitely the right step forward. But this is where companies like Scoodle come in. Startups should be working directly with schools to offer work experience programmes and competitions, as a way to motivate young people to get involved in the tech world.
That's all folks!
I'm always happy to speak to students, and I've gone around the country doing exactly that. I love learning what's going on, and what students care about. You can always email me directly if you'd like to chat. I'm on firstname.lastname@example.org