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SEEDA celebrates National Enterprise Academy success

10 July 2009
NEA graduation image1

National Enterprise Academy graduates celebrate with family and local businesses on Thursday at the Fashion Retail Academy in London.

NEA graduation image2

Peter Jones (NEA) and Oona Muirhead CBE (SEEDA) congratulate NEA graduates Jonathan Mitchell (16) from Aylesbury, Jonathan Bell (18) from Aylesbury and Fiona Neil (17) from Oxford.

SEEDA is celebrating the first graduations from the National Enterprise Academy's (NEA) Pathfinder project.

Today, young entrepreneurs from Buckinghamshire will attend their NEA graduation ceremony. The students, aged between 16 and 19, are the first to complete a course of this kind as part of the pilot.

They will receive their awards from Peter Jones, one of the Dragons' Den team and founder of the Peter Jones Foundation, which runs the NEA. They will also hear from VIP speakers about the valuable contribution their new skills make to the economy. These include Stephen Hillier, Director of Skills at Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and Oona Muirhead CBE, Executive Director for Skills and Sustainable Prosperity of SEEDA.

The Pathfinder project was set up in Buckinghamshire in January 2009 with SEEDA funding. The pilot has proved so successful that the NEA will formally launch its first full academic intake in September. In addition, NEA hubs will be launched across the UK . The headquarters for the national scheme will be based in the South East as it expands over the next four years.

The NEA Pathfinder matched students with local entrepreneurs who mentored them over a six-month period. They worked together to build enterprise skills and confidence to help the young entrepreneurs make a success of their own business ideas.

Oona Muirhead of SEEDA said: "SEEDA is delighted that the NEA Pathfinder has been such a success. The NEA now has a bright future as a full-time academic institution with centres across the UK and that is thanks to the efforts of everyone involved – students, mentors and Peter Jones Foundation. Entrepreneurialism and an innovative spirit are key to the South East's economy. It is these skills that will help drive our region and the national economy out of recession. The NEA's work is essential to fostering these skills in our future entrepreneurs and that is why SEEDA is in full support of the Academy."

Alex Pratt, SEEDA board member and CEO of Serious Brands said: "Those of us who have set a business up at 16 understand just how difficult it is to do, that your confidence can be fragile and that learning at the pace of life is an essential skill. The NEA offers future generations the opportunity to learn from real life entrepreneurs and encourages our talent to side step safer career paths like law or the Civil Service, and to pursue their entrepreneurial potential."

Peter Jones, said: "I am delighted to see the first wave of students graduate from the National Enterprise Academy Pathfinder programme. These 28 aspiring entrepreneurs have experienced a truly unique programme of enterprise education designed to give them the skills they need to succeed in setting up their own business or to shine in an established business. The NEA aims to unlock the potential of Britain 's young entrepreneurial talent and this graduation is a celebration of that talent. I very much look forward to welcoming the next wave of young entrepreneurs when the NEA opens its doors for the first full year course this coming September."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jessica Stewart, Media Relations Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 501 307
Email: jessicastewart@seeda.co.uk

View full media release here.

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155