This week’s challenge has been to grasp the nettle (thistle, bramble, tiger’s tail or anything you want to let go of pretty quickly) which is a new proposal from government about small loans to young people to help them start their own business.
Along with a number of our colleagues we have spent some months in conversation with colleges and organisations who encourage entrepreneurship amongst their students. From Fredericks’ point of view it is important for us to understand the support mechanisms and the demand before we see how and when small loans may help.
The priorities of government of course are different and the urgency of the deteriorating state of youth employment is not lost on anyone, least of all voters. So government has devised a scheme. Well to be fair it has devised an outline for a scheme and attached some money to it, sending both rational and opportunist organisations scrabbling to fill forms and make friends.
Of course this needs a focus but it seems that the design has been started at the wrong end. The design of any scheme must start with the needs of the recipients and their expectations, not with the ‘delivery partners’.
There are not many more important priorities for the economy in the next 3 years than ensuring young people have all the motivation to work and to succeed in life. But if we have learned anything from the past 5 years is it not that we must take a responsible attitude to debt? Even the Governor of the Bank of England seems to have learned that one.