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Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

First published:
6 December 2013
Last updated:

This was published under the 2011 to 2016 administration of the Welsh Government

I am today publishing an update on the progress of the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) Action Plan 2010-15.

The YES Action Plan was launched in November 2010 and is a joint strategy between the Department for Economy, Science &Transport and the Department for Education & Skills. 

The Action Plan focuses on young people and how they are taken forward on a journey of entrepreneurship – raising their awareness, developing their entrepreneurial skills, sparking ideas and providing practical information and support for those seeking to start up in business.  In addition, three strategic audiences - education, business and the community - all have a critical role to support young people.

Delivering the Action Plan:

Progress is measured against the 10 Actions identified in the Plan.  Key Highlights during 2012-13 include:

Action 1: Launch Big Ideas Wales as a campaign to engage and enthuse young people and partners

Big Ideas Wales was officially launched in Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2010.  2012-13 saw the 5 year target exceeded, with a 71% increase in the number sessions on on the previous year. 35,050 sessions provided information to young people considering starting a business. 6848 young people completing the online self assessment to test their entrepreneurial skills, a year on year increase of 77%.

Action 2: Deliver targeted activities and events to stimulate interest and participation in entrepreneurship, particularly to those who are unemployed and/or economically inactive

Youth workers support young people’s entrepreneurship development.  To recognise this contribution there is an outstanding youth entrepreneurship project category at the 2014 Youth Work in Wales Excellence Awards.

A Framework for Youth Engagement and Progression has been developed around the needs of young people, strengthening the accountability of different agencies in the system for delivering better outcomes for young people.  

Action 3: Encourage business to engage with young people and academia

A three year programme of funding to deliver the Welsh Government's Youth Entrepreneurship Services was launched in January 2013. These services include Big Ideas Wales Role Models, campaign and events, Entrepreneurial Shadowing, a National Primary Competition and a business led challenge for ambitious young entrepreneurs.

The Expertise Wales website has undergone significant development.  500 academic records are held on the database and the Innovation Vouchers online application form has been launched. The Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP) is continuing successfully.

Action 4: Provide online guidance to schools and Further Education Institutions on entrepreneurship learning and progression

Online guidance for schools, colleges and other learning providers on learning and progression in entrepreneurship education has been made available on the Welsh Government website for use by schools and colleges from December 2012.  

A National Entrepreneurship CPD Hub was launched in March 2013 to provide a pan Wales approach to the development of entrepreneurial teaching and learning.
Action 5: Maximise experiential learning opportunities available for young people to explore entrepreneurship at national, regional and local level

The Entrepreneurship Academy Wales was launched by Minister for ES&T in October 2012.  The Academy focuses entirely on developing and furthering the aspiration of young entrepreneurs aged 16-19 with the support of entrepreneurs and business leaders across Wales.

A three year programme of entrepreneurship funding to support six Regional FE/HE Hubs commenced in September 2012. Working collaboratively, champions of entrepreneurship in all Further (FE) and Higher Education (HE) Institutions across Wales, stimulate an interest and participation in entrepreneurship, provide practical experiences and promote a clear route to start up.

Flintshire Business Entrepreneurship network has been established by key regional partners to promote youth entrepreneurship. An inaugural event for young entrepreneurs was held in November 2012.

Action 6: Promote excellence in entrepreneurial learning and leadership by sharing and benchmarking good practice locally, nationally and internationally

Welsh Government officials are working closely with the European Commission’s expert group on data and indicators on entrepreneurial learning.
The ADEPTT partnership brings together 13 partners from 8 countries (Spain, Iceland, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Wales, Portugal, Germany and Norway) to exchange best practices from different regions to develop and pilot an innovative training model that contributes to supporting and improving entrepreneurial teaching practice.  

Action 7: Prepare young people to take the next steps towards starting a business

Focussed workshops, enterprise zones and early stage support programmes in Further and Higher Education provide an environment for young people to identify and explore entrepreneurial ideas.

GO Wales has offered 1012 young students and graduates the chance to gain paid, project-based work experience or training in SMEs in Wales. The GO Wales Freelancer Academy training courses have helped 35 young graduates to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to progress their business idea.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme supports unemployed young people aged 18-30 to determine whether their business ideas are viable and if self employment is right for them.  325 young people have participated in the four day Exploring Enterprise Programme.

Action 8: Support young people to become self employed

The Welsh Government’s Start Up Service provides information, advice and support for potential entrepreneurs.  Contracts are in place to deliver business start up services across Wales, including financial bursaries for graduates who are seeking to start a business with the potential to grow.  
A young entrepreneur's bursary worth £6000 is available as part of Jobs Growth Wales aimed at unemployed young people aged 16-24 starting up in business. As of August 2013 , 122 bursaries had been approved.

Action 9: Focus support services on high potential start ups especially in key priority sectors and amongst graduates

The High Potential Starts (HPS) pilot project to establish and support new high growth businesses is proving extremely successful.  Links have been made with Higher Education Institutions to identify and recruit young businesses and entrepreneurs.   Graduates recruited onto the HPS Programme receive intensive one to one support and access to the Welsh Government’s Graduate Bursary support scheme.

Alacrity has been developed in association with Wesley Clover to provide intensive supervision, training and coaching to talented graduates, to enable them to become entrepreneurs and establish new companies to realise the commercial opportunities around new ICT product/solutions. The Alacrity Building in Newport was officially opened by the Minister in September 2012.  Fourteen graduates are working with businesses including Vodaphone, BT and Fuji in four project teams.  

Action 10: Draw on the experience and expertise of the business community to support young entrepreneurs

A business mentoring service for Welsh SMEs has been developed and was launched in October 2012. Mentors are actively being recruited and are being matched with mentees.

Welsh Government grant funding has been put in place to enable the Prince’s Trust to deliver Will it Work Grants, Start Up Loans and Start Up Grant.  96 young people have been supported by Prince’s Trust volunteer mentors to consider business start up.

Impact to date:

A number of key surveys have highlighted the progress of YES.

Changing Attitudes 
53% of young people under 25 now have aspirations to work for themselves and be their own boss, a rise from 42% in 2004 (Wales Omnibus Survey 2013).

Developing Skills  
Student engagement rate rose from 23% in 2010 to 26% in 2012.  In England the student engagement rate rose from 16% in to 18% over the same period.  (NCEE Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education 2012)

Early Stage Entrepreneurship and Start Ups
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report 2013 reported 9.5% of young Welsh people engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity in 2012.  The UK rate is reported as 8.3% in 2012.

The Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (HEBCIS) 2013 survey reports that universities in Wales make up 5% of the UK’s Higher Education population, but generate 9.1% of all UK graduate business start-ups and 11.33% of active firms lasting 3 years or more.

YES Action Plan Panel

A YES Action Plan Panel was established in 2011 to receive updates on progress, provide strategic guidance and expertise and to advise on how best to build on what has been achieved. The Panel was appointed for a two year term and during that period agreed a framework for evaluation and a route map for delivery.  This will be developed for incorporation within the re-design of the Big Ideas Wales website, scheduled for 2014.  The work of the YES Panel will be taken forward as part of a single overarching Entrepreneurship Panel appointed by the Minister for ES&T.  Chaired by James Taylor, membership and appointments will be confirmed this month.

Further details on the YES Action Plan are available on