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Young entrepreneurs receive 2 million boost

13 January 2009

Aspiring entrepreneurs from throughout the South East of England can now fast track their way to success thanks to the new National Enterprise Academy (NEA) – the brainchild of ‘Dragon’s Den’ star Peter Jones.

Backed by over £2million in funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), the NEA opened its doors for the first time this week to 28 young entrepreneurs participating in the Academy’s first full time course, the NEA Pathfinder.

The NEA Pathfinder will be delivered in a number of different educational and business locations in Buckinghamshire, including the Amersham Campus of Amersham and Wycombe College, Aylesbury College, Bucks New University and Green Park Training and Conference Centre. A national roll-out of regional hubs and satellite academies will then follow over the next four years.

An employer-led, national centre of excellence for enterprise learning, the NEA is a catalyst for cultural change in the UK, stimulating entrepreneurial activity in young people. By drawing on the experience of ‘real life’ business people and entrepreneurs, the NEA will equip the next generation with the skills and attitude to succeed in modern business.

Leading British entrepreneur Peter Jones, CBE, said: "I am extremely passionate about this project – it has been a long held dream of mine to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurial talent, particularly those who are disadvantaged in some way.

"I warmly welcome SEEDA’s support for the NEA Pathfinder. Through continued public and private sector partnership, we can help make the UK one of the most enterprising economies in the world. Now more than ever, it is world-class enterprise education, such as that which will be provided by the NEA, which will ensure the future success of our economy."

Oona Muirhead CBE, Executive Director for Skills & Sustainable Prosperity at SEEDA, said: "We are completely behind the creation of the National Enterprise Academy. This exciting development is aimed at getting young people onto the ladder of setting up their own business as well as being creative employees. In the current economic climate, this is all the more important."

Alex Pratt OBE, SEEDA Board Member, added: "We are delighted that the Academy will be based in Buckinghamshire - already a hot-bed of entrepreneurialism. SEEDA will continue to work closely with the Peter Jones Foundation to develop the concept and set up the Academy."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya Reed, SEEDA Communications
Tel: 01483 470 155
Email: pressoffice@seeda.co.uk

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