Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
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TV Dragon Peter Jones to spearhead self-employment review

TV Dragon Peter Jones to spearhead self-employment review

DEPARTMENT FOR INNOVATION, UNIVERSITIES AND SKILLS News Release (031/009) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 20 March 2009

'TV Dragon' Peter Jones is going to carry out a review into the support that people who want to start their own business get from universities and colleges, Skills Secretary John Denham announced today.

More people are considering starting their own business as a response to the recession, anecdotal evidence suggests.

Many colleges and universities already provide training and support for budding entrepreneurs, ranging from the "Flying Start" programme which helps gradates set up their own businesses, to training in tax law, employment law, bookkeeping and accounts for small businesses.

The star of BBC TV's Dragons' Den and Chief Executive of Phones International Group has been asked by Mr Denham to lead the review which will examine how this support can be developed and improved.

The review will be announced by the Skills Secretary in a keynote speech to the Federation of Small Businesses annual conference in Newport, South Wales, today. He has asked Peter Jones to report to him early this summer and in particular to:

* identify the range of support offered by colleges and universities across England to those wanting to start their own business;

* highlight strong or innovative practice that others can learn from;

* make recommendations about how training or access to training could be improved; and

* as a secondary aim to consider whether the support available to those who are already self-employed meets their needs.

Mr Denham said:

"The life blood of new small businesses is the entrepreneurial spirit - the well judged risk that can let a business idea flourish.

"And it is true that in tougher economic times, often personal circumstances and business realities mean that many people decide to embark on a new career running their own business.

"The qualities of entrepreneurship and individual initiative that they represent are essential for our national prosperity - and they're even more important when times are tough.

"I believe that small businesses can help us not only to come through our current economic problems, but also to emerge from them stronger. And that's why I want to ensure that my Department and its agencies are doing everything possible to support people with the drive and imagination to set up a business on their own.

"Besides being one of this country's most successful entrepreneurs, Peter Jones has a substantial record of encouraging entrepreneurship education. He is heading up the National Skills Academy for Enterprise. So I'm delighted that he has agreed to lead the review and to apply his experience and expertise to helping me ensure that DIUS plays its full part in laying the foundations of Britain's future economic success."

Peter Jones said:

"I am delighted to have been asked by the Secretary of State to lead this review into enterprise training and skills. I am personally passionate about raising the nation's entrepreneurial capability and aspirations, which is why I have established the National Enterprise Academy for 16 to 19-year-olds.

"Building on this, however, I believe we could be improving skills provision in enterprise and entrepreneurship right across the age spectrum and this review will give me the opportunity to engage as widely as possibly with universities, colleges, businesses and other key organisations and explore and examine where significant impact and improvement could be made."

NOTES TO EDITORS

Review of Support for Self-Employment

1. The Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) sectors have a key role to play in supporting those who want to become self-employed, including those who have been made redundant, or those who have just left university. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) already provides a broad range of support to self-employed people. This review will consider how well our policies meet the needs of those who want to become self employed and whether more could be done.

2. The review will consider:

* the extent to which existing DIUS FE and HE policies offer the right support to people entering self-employment (either from education or from unemployment or employment) and represent a strong and coherent offer of support;

* the delivery of those policies across England, including highlighting strong or innovative practice in HE or FE that others can learn from;

* the extent to which the support available to those who are already self-employed meets their needs.

3. The review will make recommendations about how DIUS FE and HE policies and their delivery could be improved within existing delivery mechanisms to provide high quality relevant support.

4. This agenda is a cross-government one, and the review will seek the views of other government departments and regional stakeholders to set recommendations in context. We also expect that the review will seek the views of a range of stakeholders engaged in FE and HE delivery and in supporting the self employed to address their skills needs.

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