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The Business Wales service delivers provision to inspire and educate young people to consider entrepreneurship as part of their career aspirations, works to address under-representation in business start-up by building confidence and inspire individuals from all communities to reach their entrepreneurial potential. 

The programme also builds the business knowledge and capability of emergent entrepreneurs and SME business owners, strengthening the viability of their business propositions, enhancing their business skills, and improving their chances of business survival and growth, with enhanced support for businesses accelerating their growth. 

Big Ideas Wales (part of the Business Wales family) provides the focus for Welsh Government led activity to engage children and young people in entrepreneurial learning. The aim is to increase the number of small businesses being created; to help build a more enterprising private sector; and inspire children and young people to have the confidence to seek opportunities for themselves and others. Future Business Wales provision aims to build on this and inspire and educate children and young people in Wales to consider entrepreneurship as part of their career aspirations, develop their business capability and entrepreneurial potential. 

This builds on the long-term vision outlined in the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy 2010 to 2015 (YES) “To develop and nurture self-sufficient, entrepreneurial young people in all communities across Wales, who will contribute positively to economic and social success”. This ambition remains relevant today, to work with business, education, delivery partners and across Government departments to deliver the long-term cultural change outlined in Prosperity for All, The Economic Action Plan, Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission, Programme for Government, and the Employability and Skills Plan.  

Business Wales, thorough Big Ideas Wales will deliver on several Programme for Government commitments which will affect children and young people:  

  • inspire and educate young people in Wales to consider entrepreneurship as part of their career aspirations, develop their business capability and entrepreneurial potential. 
  • Young Person's Guarantee (YPG): Invest in and strengthen the whole-system approach to delivering the YPG to make it easy for everyone under the age of 25 to access an offer of work, education, training, or self-employment.  
  • National Curriculum: long term change through engagement of entrepreneurs to support education with business engagement and development of creative enterprising contributors. Support delivery of Careers & Work-Related Experiences framework. 
  • Economic Mission: Entrepreneurial culture: exploring how we retain our graduates and talent in Wales by building strong linkages with universities, and between universities and businesses support start-ups, including graduate start-ups, with incentives in some areas. 
  • Employability and Skills Plan: the support we provide will help to shape the next generation of employers and embolden more people to consider starting their own business supporting individual’s access self-employment and overcome personal barriers to starting a business.  
  • support young entrepreneurs and increase the rate of graduate start-ups in Wales through Big Ideas Wales. To help young people start their own business through role models inspiring the next generation, one-to-one business advisory support, entrepreneur mentoring along with financial support. A network of enterprise champions will work with students and graduates within our colleges and universities. 
  • influence the development of entrepreneurship capability throughout our education system. Work with policy colleagues across Education, skills, careers, and youth led policies to embed the development of entrepreneurship skills (soft skills) and business learning in policies and education.  
  • provide advice and guidance to assist the implementation of the National curriculum. Embedding enterprise within the Careers and Work-related framework and ensure Careers Wales, inclusion of entrepreneurship and self-employment within guidance and teaching resources.  
  • provide advice to businesses on recruiting and employing young people. The Business Wales Helpline manages calls for a variety of different Welsh Government services and therefore undertakes a role in advising, supporting, and encouraging businesses in the recruitment and employment of young people and fair employment practices through its Skills gateway specifically. 

1. Describe and explain the impact of the proposal on children and young people

The Programme for Government prioritises the Young Persons Guarantee as a key commitment for the sixth Senedd term, to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of the Covid pandemic on children and young people under 25. The aim is to ensure no one is left behind or held back as a result of the covid pandemic.  

Young Persons Guarantee is the umbrella structure which sits above all programmes for young people, aiming to create a straightforward journey for young people regardless of their circumstances and background. 

Encouraging youth entrepreneurship and aiding transition to self-employment will be led by Big Ideas Wales.  Working across Government, the Young Persons Guarantee team will ensure further engagement with young people and stakeholders through: 

  • our national conversation is a continuous and evolving process.  We have worked closely with our stakeholders, partners, and a group of young people to help co-design it. This will focus on the following topics:
    • our young people’s aspirations,
    • barriers they face,  
    • their experiences relating to careers support,  
    • the expectations compared to the reality of the Young PG offer and  
    • how we can continue to engage with seldom heard groups. 
  • stakeholders such as Children in Wales have been appointed as our National Conversation facilitators will hold conversations with young people through a series of co-ordinated National conversation events between now and September 2022. 
  • the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework has been redesigned to support the Young Persons Guarantee it will cement down an operational agreement with all stakeholders including local authorities.  
  • establishment of a Young Person’s board. 

Big Ideas Wales will hold consultations and focus groups with Young People throughout the contract duration to review the delivery of our information, resources and services as well as supporting the National conversation lead by the Young Persons Guarantee. 

Big Ideas Wales will provide an enhanced service to support young people under 25 years old to learn about business and take active steps to becoming self-employed. This will build upon the service in place through Big Ideas Wales, part of Business Wales that provides learning through workshops and experiences led by entrepreneurs targeting young people 16-24 and a network of Champions to aide transition from Further and Higher Education.  

The enhanced packages of support will include:  

  • 12 months pre and post start up support to help individuals overcome any barriers to starting a business, including one-to-one business advisory support, entrepreneur mentoring, business planning and financial management
  • a new Young Person’s Start Up Grant of up to £2,000 per business. This will support 1,200 young people that are unemployed, left education or training in the early stage of business to become self-employed
  • peer learning and post start support through a community of young entrepreneurs

Supporting children and young people to enter and progress in education, employment, and training, is a key intervention to mitigate the risk of any long-term effects of Covid 19, which could be hugely damaging and wide reaching (Inequality in the impact of the coronavirus shock: new survey evidence for the UK).

Our approach seeks where possible to prevent the need for young people to access the welfare system, which has risks in terms of longer-term cyclical reliance, and instead support people into work, self-employment, education, or training in the short term (Learning and Work Institute: Preventing a Pandemic Generation). This is in addition to preventing and recovering lost learning as a result of the Covid-19 disruptions to schools, settings, and colleges.

Nurturing a generation of young talent, and activating people into Education, Employment or Training (EET) is vital to raise aspirations and opportunity particularly for those young people for whom unemployment may already be entrenched in their family, to prevent labour market detachment and the scarring effects of periods of inactivity.  

Building more resilient businesses in Wales through the Business Wales provision will promote the wellbeing of children by strengthening the national economy. Providing support to individuals and business the proposal supports parents of children and young people to secure jobs or start their own businesses which in turn support them to become economically active.  

The Welsh Government has supported this area for over 15 years and holds records which measure the long-term impact of various programmes on the culture of young people in Wales and attitudes to start up. Whilst the youth entrepreneurship service provision is extra-curricular, it complements and supports school’s employer engagement programmes and brings subjects to life within curricula areas. The activities help children and young people understand how to be enterprising and be aware of self-employment as a career option. 

An evaluation framework has been developed and will continue to be used which uses a logic model process to define aims, capture outputs and impact of delivery at operational and strategic level. National and international benchmarks such as GEM, HEBCIS and Omnibus surveys will be used to monitor progress alongside outcome measures for programme delivery. Reporting mechanisms will be set up to report against the Young Persons Guarantee and Business & Regions Business Plan to deliver our commitments under Programme for Government.  

The service will be monitored against a set of Equality and Diversity Key Performance indicators; and progress monitored on a quarterly basis. These include an expectation for contractors to undertake outreach work and work with partners to improve participation in business particularly with women, disabled people, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic, and young Carers. These will contribute to the divisional Equality and Diversity Impact assessment.  

Feedback forms will be used to evaluate activity with children and young people participating in activities. The results will be analysed yearly and fed back into the programme to tailor and improve activity.     

Previous analysis from 5,500 clients surveyed outline the outcomes for children and young people following the workshop delivery shows:

  • 95% agreed it gave them an insight in what it is like to run a business. 
  • 84% agreed it made them think about starting my own business, with no gender difference. 
  • Following awareness raising activity 60% considered starting a business in the future with 12% intended to start a business in the next 3 years. This rises to 25% for older clients and those with a declared interest in starting a business.  

The Children’s Omnibus survey (not a published document, internal Welsh Government) independently led by Beaufort Research surveyed 330 10–18-year-olds shows:  

  • 80% agreed they were aware that you could be your own boss or start a business, with steady increase from 77% at age 10 to 91% at 18.  
  • 62% said they would definitely or probably “think you would like to run your own business if you had the chance”; gender imbalance remains a challenge with 14% difference between male (69%) and female (55%). 

A Youth Voice consultation (Not a published document, internal Welsh Government) was undertaken in 2019, in partnership with Youth Cymru to capture the voice to strengthen understanding and delivery approaches to aide young people’s progression Post 16 to realise their aspiration to start a business. A total of 176 young people participated in the consultation across Wales, of those 75 were aged under 18 years old and included young offenders, young carers, NEETS and members of LGBTQ and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities. 

The Business Wales mid-term evaluation examined of the implementation of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) programmes concluding “Youth Entrepreneurship has achieved or overachieved nearly all its performance outputs” and supported in “creating a more entrepreneurial landscape: particularly by broadening children and young people’s aspirations and engaging them in motivating classes and Boot Camps.” Recommendations will continue to be reviewed as part of contract reviews. 

An evaluation of the current Youth Entrepreneurship Programme 2016-2022 including the grant funding to the Further & Higher Education institutions was undertaken by Arad Research in 2022 which again reported positive outcomes across all areas of delivery and makes recommendations for consideration in the design of future delivery that will be used to shape future programme delivery. 

The Welsh Government’s Youth Entrepreneurship policy and delivery programme, through Big Ideas Wales, has been nominated for the Youth Empowerment Policy Award with the World Future Council. The 2019 Empowering Youth Award focusses on exemplar policies and delivery that empowers young people, advancing economic outcomes including entrepreneurship and skills: Future Policy Award 2019: Youth

2. Explain how the proposal is likely to impact on children’s rights

In developing and delivering the future Business Wales provision we will ensure a Children’s Rights approach is met by meeting the five principles of: 

Embedding children’s rights: we will ensure that children’s rights are at the core of our strategy development as well as being a key priority in the planning and delivery of our services to young people. 

Equality and non-discrimination: we will offer our services pan Wales to ensure that opportunities are available equally to every child and young person, so they have the chance to make the most of their talents and realise their potential.  

Empowering children: we will offer children and young people access to the information, resources, and opportunities to enhancing their individual capabilities, so they are better able to make decisions about their future. 

Participation: we will consult with and listen to children and young people and ensure that their views are fully considered and responded to in delivery of our programmes to ensure they get the support that is right for them to explore entrepreneurship.  

Accountability: we will take full accountability for the information, advice and guidance provided by our project ensuring that young people are fully responsible for the decisions being made about the support that they receive. 

As Business Wales services will be delivered through Big Ideas Wales to children from 5-18 years and 18-24 therefore several articles will be impact by our work and these will be the focus for our assessment: 

Article 3: Everyone who works with children should always do what is best for each child. 

Article 12: Children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account. 

Article 13: Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or to others. 

Article 15: Children have the right to meet and join groups and organisations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. 

Article 17: Children have the right to reliable information from the mass media, television, radio, and newspapers should provide information that children can understand and should not promote materials that could harm children.  

Article 28: Children have a right to an education and to go to school. 

Article 30: Children have a right to learn and use their language and customs of their families, whether these are shared by the majority of people in the country or not. 

A key issue for this programme will be looking at the response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, given the potential disproportionate impact on young people. The United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) said the career prospects of people aged 18 to 29 were taking a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic. The ILO report entitled "Youth and Covid-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being", finds “the impact of the pandemic on young people to be systematic, deep, and disproportionate. It has been particularly hard on young women, younger youth, and youth in lower-income countries".  

 Business Wales seeks to support Articles 3, 12, 13, 15, 17, 28, and 30 by ensuring our work aligns with the National Standards for participation which reflect the rights-based ethos which is integral to working with children and young people. We ensure our work is and continues to be aligned with the Participation Good Practice Guide to ensure the best and most meaningful ways of listening and responding to the voices of children and young people are used in line with Article 3 & 12 of the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).

To meet Article 13, we will promote equity in access to information, support, opportunity and progression in education, training, or fair employment. This includes targeted support for young people and actions to support Disabled People in line with the Social Model of Disability. Business Wales will support the article through skills advisors to ensure employers are aware of Childrens Rights and to ensure responsible business practices. 

Contractors and grant funded institutions are responsible for engagement with young people as widely as possible across Wales. In line with article 12 and 28 services will be targeted at those in and outside education, as well as Community groups and disengaged young people. Our work maximises the rights afforded to young people in the articles by giving them choice regarding their future career options. Children and Young People will be encouraged to participate in activities that are open and accessible to all. Further intervention and to join Big Ideas Wales events and activities is by self-selection to meet article 15. 

In line with Article 17 all information posted on our websites or contained in links will be rigorously tested for appropriateness. No harmful information is to be posted on website and links will be regularly checked for appropriateness. All information sources and resources will be produced in Welsh and English and in an appropriate format for the target audience and age range. Websites and social media channels will provide age-appropriate content, in a range of formats for young people as an introduction to business. 

Contractors and grant funded institutions will make the rights known to Young People where appropriate using child friendly information leaflets designed to help children understand their rights. In line with Article 30 We will ensure that young people have the right to use the language of their families and promoting an individualised approach to support young people to meet their potential. We will promote the use of bi-lingual information and teaching resources including lesson plans and activities that can be used by teachers in schools and colleges to make children aware of their rights using resources on our website: Finding out about your rights as children and young people and Children’s Commissioner for Wales resources.

All programme staff and contractors will undertake training to ensure appropriate use of language and customs to engage age groups and audiences across Wales.