Preparing our kids for the future

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Founders4Schools’ mission is simple: we want to eradicate the skills gap by helping students make informed choices about their future. We remove generational blinkers, raise aspirations and open young eyes to the attainable careers of the future.

The F4S story begins in 2011 when, following a series of successful inspirational talks to university students, we realised that in order to prepare the new generation for the future, we needed to inspire students at a younger age. We organised our first events with a group of high-profile CEOs and business leaders who volunteered to visit a number of schools in Cambridge and talk about their careers and life journeys. What they were thinking when they were younger, how their education helped build their careers, the successes failures and hurdles, the ups and downs and the rewards of leading the life of an entrepreneur. Almost 2,500 students joined those events and the feedback was outstanding: 96% said they felt inspired and 54% decided to change their GCSE subject choices. This success meant we needed to scale our project to inspire and help prepare the 8 million UK students and then the world.

F4S event- Joseph Dunne (1)

Founders4Schools is part of a growing ecosystem and  movement to help today’s youth be more forward-thinking in a broader societal context. We know that our children’s future is not a place where they can be magically catapulted to. We need to help them build it, inspire them to realize their motivations and passions, and give them the tools to achieve these aspirations. In this spirit, we’ve spent the last 3 years building a platform that enables teachers to invite, in approximately 4 minutes, local inspirational speakers that spearhead some of the most successful companies in the country.

Over 300 educational partners, including organisations like Teach First, Young Enterprise, HRH the Duke of York’s iDEA programme, the BBC, KANO and Edmodo, to name just a few, have joined us and spread the word every day across the UK. LinkedIn, Duedil, Postcode Anywhere and Edubase help us improve our platform to make teachers’ lives easier.

To date, 100% of teachers who’ve used our platform recommend us and we strive to maintain this level of satisfaction. Oliver Beach, Economics and Business teacher at Central Foundation Boys’ School, who has been holding one event per term for his students, said after the second event: “Setting up the event was a piece of cake and the calibre of speakers was outstanding! It’s all about raising aspirations and telling the children ‘they can’ if they put their mind to it. It is a great programme that has a big impact on students and lightens the teacher workload a little”, and Harriet Carter from Rhyl Primary school commented: “Founders4Schools run such an inspiring project. Children of all ages can relate to the message that the speakers bring and it provided a real life example of why school is important and the reasons for learning. Excellent!”

Feedback like this, and the words of students immediately after events, keep us going. A Year 9 student from UCL Academy said, following a Women in STEM role model talk at her school: “It made me think about what you can do if you really want to and I didn’t know what STEM was before so it really opened my eyes”). You can see more about the event and hear from the students here:

Following the success of these first events, the UCL Academy, is not only repeating the Women in STEM series of inspirational talks, but is also building role model events into the school’s curriculum by creating a programme whereby mentors join tutoring sessions for 10 weeks to guide Year 11 students in the creation of a marketable product. This impact on students encourages teachers to repeat events, create programmes of inspirational talks, embed role model events in the curriculum and look for ways to complement traditional teaching methods to unlock their pupils’ potential. And our goal is to help them in their efforts by removing barriers and making inviting speakers as quick and easy as buying something on Amazon or booking a delivery from Tesco in approximately 4 minutes following only 5 easy steps. We do all the rest and speakers turn up at the school’s office at the time of the event!

Why not book your first event now to motivate your students today?

Published on Edmodo Community on 29/9/2015

Help your students improve their computer skills

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Computer skills – quoted by many as some of the most essential skills to land jobs, they have recently been included in the National Curriculum. Everyone agrees how important it is in today’s digital world to learn about all the different aspects of computers; from writing code and building software to using administrative programmes such as Microsoft Office. We know it can be really challenging for you as hard-working teachers, to stay informed of trends in this field and offer your students the best possibility of acquiring great computer skills.

This is something we can help you with through our growing list of industry experts who we can connect you to through our platform – that way, your students hear about which computing trends to follow, discover a new passion and add another interest and passion that they can build upon as they grow older.


Coming up role model events at schools

Shauneen Snow, business studies teacher at Parkside Community College has invited 3 business leaders whose businesses have a combined turnover over £56 million and who employ over 470 people to come to the school at the end of September. Inspiring their Year 10 students will be:
Steve Hirsty, CTO at Icarehealth, providing technology to support health care, Malcolm Coury, Managing Director at Moneywise Independent Financial Advisers and Mark Gerhard, CEO & CTO at Jagex, UK’s largest individual game developer.

Dawn Woodcock, Director of Learning & English Communication at Tottenham UTC, has used our free service and invited the following 3 business leaders to inspire 50 of their Year 10 to 13 students to become the future entrepreneurs!
Speaking to the students will:
Denise Hicks, Founder & Director of Loco, London Comedy Film Festival, Danny Richman, Founder of Richman SEO consulting for digital businesses and Mayel de Borniol, Cofounder of Babelverse, which developed a digital translation software.

13th October is Ada Lovelace Day!
Inspire your girls to go into STEM and invite female leaders from tech businesses into your class to celebrate Ada’s spirit and motivate your girls to achieve a similar contribution to society.

Founders4Schools in partnership with Young Enterprise

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Following a successful pilot, Young Enterprise will be joining forces with Founders4Schools to deliver enhanced programmes with speakers from the fast growing local businesses.

Following a successful pilot, Young Enterprise will be joining forces with Founders4Schools (F4S) to deliver enhanced programmes with speakers from the fast growing local businesses. Founders4Schools, provides a resource that is made available for free to secondary schools across the UK, enables teachers to arrange for leaders of successful, growing businesses to visit their schools and inspire their students.

Following three successful pilots run in Leeds and West London, Young Enterprise will be teaming up with F4S, benefiting from their expert speakers at launch events for the Company Programme, and for master classes. The business founders give highly interactive talks to students in the classroom to students, sharing what they studied when they were in secondary school themselves, what motivated them to set up their businesses and why they would recommend considering a fast-growing innovative business as a leading career choice that can have a positive impact on the world The speakers offer young people unique insight into real-life applications from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. Young Enterprise and F4S are united in a commitment to link how learning STEM subjects can directly relate to building successful careers in the most innovative businesses that are leading the UK’s economy.

Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise said, “I am thrilled to announce that Young Enterprise will be working more closely with Founders4Schools in the future. F4S are an extremely positive force for promoting business and entrepreneurship across the UK and their team of dedicated speakers, with their wealth of business experience, will be an asset to Young Enterprise.”

Sherry Coutu, Chairman of Founders4Schools said, “We are delighted to have partnered with Young Enterprise, to help them prepare young people for the world of work and help them to be more able to enter high impact career paths when they leave education. Students will now be able to connect to local business leaders that can raise their aspirations and mentor them, and along with the skills they will acquire through the YE programmes will be ready for a future filled with opportunities.


— Ends —

About Young Enterprise and pfeg

● Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading enterprise and financial education charity working with young people aged 4 to 25

● Following the recent merger of pfeg into Young Enterprise, we are a specialist ‘one stop shop’ for students and teachers, empowering young people to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need for work and in life

● With 14 years of experience, pfeg continues to support teachers, government, consumer bodies and financial industry representatives to assist schools in delivering personal finance education to the highest possible standards – enabling children and young people to understand money and make informed choices to support their long term economic well-being

● Our extensive network means we are supported by more than 5,000 volunteers and 3,500 businesses in schools, colleges and universities

● We also support teachers in 18,000 schools to plan and deliver financial education programmes

● For over 50 years Young Enterprise has worked with over four million young people across the UK to empower them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need for the world of work through enterprise

● We are part of the global network JA-YE that operates in over 120 countries

● For more information on pfeg see or email

● For more information on Young Enterprise please see or email Kate Corry on

About Founders4Schools

● Founders4Schools is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to helping young people access the leaders of growing companies.

● Founders4Schools enables children and young people to understand how the subjects they take exams in at school is related to the businesses that are growing and behind the economic growth in the UK thereby helping inform their choices to maximise their long term economic well-being

● Our extensive network means we are supported by more than 100 partners and 9,000 volunteers who lead growing businesses with more than £1 million in revenue who are willing to visit schools

● For more information on Founders4schools see or email Chris Blundell at Brunswick

Talent & Careers – help students to aim high!

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Talent, work experience, careers… you as teachers have probably experienced how students discover their talents and skills through work experience, which helps them to ultimately develop a career. But you might have also experienced how hard it is to support them in finding their talents on top of the tight curriculum.
We are here to help you with that! We connect you to business leaders in your area so that you can invite them into your classroom and inspire your students to discover where their talents lie.

Noshin Yasin, teacher and CEIAG Manager at Shireland Collegiate Academy has used our free service and invited three business leaders to come to their Careers Day at the end of September and kick the day off by talking to 30 of their Year 9 students about how they discovered their talents and skills and “made it” in the world of work. Speakers are:
Stephanie Chamberlain, Founder & CEO of Magic Milestones consultancy, Des Ponsonby, Managing Director at Corporate Solutions Logistics and Simon Jenner, Co-founder and CEO of Urban Coffee.

Sean McKenna, Head of PSHE and Careers at Comberton Village College, found 4 business leaders through our service who he invited to their Careers Day next week to inspire 90 Year 11 students to aim high. To the school will come:
Chris Poulton, Chairman at Smartcitizen, Denis Kaminskiy, Co-founder and Director of Arcus Global, Yichen Shi, CEO at Axol Bioscience and Dr. Claire Hooper, CEO at Cambridge Temperature Concepts.

Careers & Enterprise Company  – Toolkit for Teachers 

The Careers & Enterprise Company, an initiative announced less than a year ago by Secretary of State for Education Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, launched yesterday. The launch, hosted by Lord Young whose Enterprise for All report provided inspiration for the work of this umbrella organisation, brought together a number of educational organisations, businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships that will work closely in improving the links between education and employment.
The Careers & Enterprise Company was set up to address gaps in careers advice across the country. It will provide a toolkit for teachers with information on opportunities to engage with local employers that will help raise their students’ aspirations and demonstrate the relevance of their education to their future careers, and how these fit within the national curriculum. We will keep you posted on the toolkit – Stay tuned!


Excited about STEM? We are too!

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We hope you had a good start into the new school year!
Some of you have already had roles models events to start in this academic year and we are excited to see that even more of you are booking events for September and October – amazing! Thank you!

Sarah Strain, teacher at Petchey Academy, has invited 4 business leaders at the end of September to share their journey and awaken the entrepreneurial talent in over 180 of their Year 11 students! These are:

Neha Manaktala, founder of the digital investment consultancy Deal Index, Joel Hopwood, founder of Capture Ltd. that specialises in digital asset management, Tony Goodwin, founder of Antal Risk Ventures, a business accelerator and Shannon Edwards, founder of Styloko, a “Fashion Discovery Engine”.

Oliver Beach, teacher at Central Foundation Boys’ School from Teachfirst, has created his 6th event! He invited 3 leaders of successful businesses to inspire 50 Year 10 to 12 students to be future leaders. Speaking at the end of September will:

Jilly Forster who founded Forster & Munro Communications, Leon Gauhman, founder of Hive, designing digital products and services and Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet, UK’s biggest social network for parents.

We’re proud to share with you an interview with Megan Smith, who was one of our first speakers and supporters!
She wholeheartedly supports STEM in education and proclaims the importance of uniting the content of subjects rather than separating them. Being a mother herself, she knows about the joys and challenges of learning. In her view, STEM subjects should be play-based, active and not gender-biased.
Hear from her directly in the video!

Founders4Schools at Parliament

Megan Smith, CTO of the USA and one of only a handful of people who report directly to President Obama, speaks at one of the first Founders4Schools events.

Schools participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week with role model events

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Have you planned activities for Global Entrepreneurship Week?
Taking place from the 16th to the 22nd of November 2015, GEW sets to inspire people through local, national and international activities that help them discover their potential as innovators. Each year, it plays a critical role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and some of you are already making plans to ensure that their students are part of it too.

Holland Park School will supplement their participation in GEW 2015 by bringing local entrepreneurs to help raise the aspirations for 300 of their Year 11 students! Richard Northover, Deputy Head at Holland Park School has embedded 5 inspiring role model events in the school’s curriculum for each day of GEW. 20 entrepreneurs, including Pablo Ettinger, founder of Caffè Nero and Tim Sears of Big Data Partnership will talk about the perks of the entrepreneurial journey.


Starting in 2008 from the UK, the GEW has become a global campaign with 150 countries participating in more than 29,000 activities, all set to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. Last year, over 500 partners hosted around 2,500 events and reached more than 340,000 people across the UK.

Building our children’s digital future

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Recently, Sherry Coutu CBE, our Executive Chairman at Founders4Schools gave a presentation at Digital Catapult to explain what we’re all about and what we’re doing to inspire the younger generations; removing generational blinkers and opening young eyes as to what their careers can be and raise their aspirations – with the longer-term goal of addressing the skills gap here in the UK.

We achieve this by using digital technology to make it easy and time efficient for teachers to create role-model events in their schools across the UK, which raises students’ aspirations. We’ve developed a platform through which teachers search for and invite successful business leaders, founders and entrepreneurs into their schools in just 4 minutes – think “Eventbrite meets LinkedIn and tripadvisor”. To date, 100% of teachers who’ve used our platform recommend us and we continuously strive to keep this record – making it as easy as possible for teachers to use.

What the entire team were excited by following Sherry’s presentation, was the number of people who stopped by to say what we were doing was amazing and that they didn’t realise we were utilising digital technology and data in such an intuitive and transformational way – something that the Digital Catapult is embodied by and strives to amplify here in the UK for many other growing and scalable digital businesses too.

Our story started three years ago in Cambridge with a group of high-profile CEOs and business leaders who were asked to talk about their careers in a number of schools, but more importantly, their life journeys too; What they’d been through, the struggles, the failures and the ultimately their successes.  These early events weren’t just successful, they were considered so inspirational by students, that it led to comments from head teachers and a metaphorical lightbulb moment… “We can scale this model and inspire millions of children and students with it” and thus our journey began as a project and now as a registered charity with over 100 partnerships including LinkedIn, Duedil, the BBC and many others helping to forward our mission and goal of changing lives.

It’s been remarkable to inspire tens of thousands of students on our journey to date. It will be great to inspire hundreds of thousands, but that’s just simply not enough from our perspective. We’re aiming for millions in the UK and by that we mean the 8.2 million children and students currently studying in primary and secondary education. One thing we’re not short on is ambition, drive, commitment nor the impact we can have on society, education or the number of students who we can help see so many more opportunities that they didn’t know existed prior.

Founders4Schools is part of a growing movement that is helping to forward the thinking of the young in education and our wider society. Our journey is made all the easier through our collaboration with Digital Catapult – with events, networking and an ethos that embodies our own – to help others grow. In a way, we’re acting as a catapult ourselves, but with the key goal of driving the ambitions and aspirations of children and students.

From our perspective, our children’s digital future isn’t a place we can magically travel to – It’s something we have to build and Founders4Schools is building it with the help of Digital Catapult and other like-minded and smart organisations.

If you can think of teachers that have not yet used the Founders4Schools platform, please contact them to get them started on their digitally enhanced journey to student inspiration and the jobs that will be there when they have finished their formal education.  Please contact your former school or the school your children are at – as we’ve seen already, it makes a huge difference!

We’ve set up the Digital Catapult now, so that you can see how many lives you have changed going forward – Click here to find out more.