SCHOOLS in the Basingstoke area are among those to sign up to a new enterprise education programme being run by Hampshire County Council.

Twenty schools in the county, including Bishop Challoner, Everest Community Academy and The Vyne Community School, all in Basingstoke, have signed up to receive enterprise master classes with local business people to inspire and educate their students on how to develop business ideas and create start-up companies.

Throughout the year, students will be motivated to develop enterprising skills such as identifying business opportuni-ties, creative thinking and prob-lem solving, communication and presentation skills, teamwork and leadership, negotiation and decision making, managing risk and responding to change.

Students will be asked to develop a product or service, create business plans, carry out market research, market and sell a product or service and manage company finances, to give them the chance to experience what is involved in setting up and run-ning a business.

The Enterprise Education Innovating for the Future pro-gramme will help teachers to increase their awareness of enterprise and local businesses, and enable them to embed enterprise into the curriculum in subjects such as science and technology.

It is also hoped teachers will use the programme to engage students to think about enter-prise as a career option.

The programme was created, and is being delivered, in partnership with a consortium of the Basingstoke Consortium, Portsmouth and South East Education Business Partnership, First Partnership and Solent Education Business Partnership.

Councillor Seán Woodward, the county council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “Driving up rates of entrepreneurship in the county will really help to stimulate Hampshire’s economy, and what better way than inspiring our next generation.

“With schools no longer required to provide work-related learning, the programme will help to increase the awareness of self-employment as a real option for young people when they are facing an ever-increasing competitive job market.”