Schools need to back competition

PES design director Dan Fleetcroft, left, and managing director Mike Maddock with the MTech Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 sports car.
PES design director Dan Fleetcroft, left, and managing director Mike Maddock with the MTech Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 sports car.
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Leading entrepreneurs have called for an educational system that doesn’t treat profit, competition, success - and failure - as dirty words, and teaches children the value of money.

The calls came at the launch of new research into the challenges facing Yorkshire entrepreneurs, backed by Sheffield accountants Barber Harrison & Platt, lawyers Nabarro and the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels.

Go Outdoors Hill Street , Bramall Lane. John Graham.

Go Outdoors Hill Street , Bramall Lane. John Graham.

The research, launched as part of MADE:The Entrpreneur Festival, shows that while Yorkshire entrepreneurs are meeting and beating their targets, the region has too few young entrepreneurs.

Mike Maddock, from Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre-based Performance Engineered Solutions, contrasted his firm’s experience of working with schools in the UK and Canada.

Mr Maddock said it was almost as though the UK education sector thought profit and success were dirty words, while they were celebrated in North America. Meanwhile, the British educational system did everything it could to avoid anyone being seen as failing.

“We have to stand on our own feet and be driven by competition,” said Mr Maddock.

“Failure is something to embrace because you learn from failure and take that forward into what you do next. In the UK education system, they are afraid of failure.”

Commenting on the difficulties Yorkshire businesses felt they faced in securing finance, John Graham, who heads fast expanding, Sheffield-based outdoor clothing and equipment retailer GO Outdoors, was not worried by the desire of Yorkshire Entrepreneurs to fund the growth of their businesses from profits, rather than loans or by selling a stake in their businesses to outside investors.

Mr Graham cast doubt on the view that money was not available from banks.

“I think there is a bit of a myth about it being hard to get money,” said Mr Graham.

“We suffer from being British. We think about what we can’t do for too long instead of thinking about what we can do and going away and doing that.

“Always use bank debt over equity. Bank loans are as ‘cheap as chips,’” he advised..