Secondary school lays entrepreneurial egg

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A SOUTH Northants secondary school is aiming to become the birthplace of the next generation of business champions with the launch of a new business hatchery.

Thought to be the first of its kind, the Elizabeth Woodville School Business Hatchery was opened by South Northants MP Andrea Leadsom last Friday.

Elizabeth Woodville School was created out of the recent merger of Kingsbrook Business and Enterprise School in Deanshanger and the Roade Sports College.

Once the caretaker’s lodge, then a workshop, then an area for new teachers, the Deanshanger school has converted an existing building into three business units.

Mrs Leadsom said it was a unique concept, adding: “I’m not aware of any other schools with a business hatchery. But what I love about Northants is that it is a truly entrepreneurial area. There are so many people running small businesses from their homes or small office units.

“So this is a fantastic thing to be doing. In particular, I’m delighted Elizabeth Woodville are doing this, at this time, when there are one million young people not in employment, education of training.

“And actually the really big opportunities now are in starting up your own business, and teaching children how to run a business at school will give them the confidence to do that in later life.”

Phil Couzens is head of faculty at the school’s business specialism. He started at the school as a graduate teacher 18 years ago. He said there are other schools which support outside businesses, but does not know of anywhere a school helps start up companies on site.

Mr Couzens added: “Most new businesses fail in the first year and the main reason for that is they can’t afford commercial premises and get very little support.

“We will be able to provide low-rent premises with short tenancies. And hopefully, once they have built up a good client base and are bringing in a reasonable amount of money, we will support them to move on and help find commercial premises.”

Mr Couzens said the school was the perfect home for the hatchery due to its location between Northampton, Milton Keynes and Buckingham. The hatchery businesses will also be able to access existing school resources including secretarial or technical support.

If successful, it is hoped the initiative could be expanded to the Roade site and other South Northants schools.