How much education does an entrepreneur need?
In his interview the Virgin Group Founder urged young business minds to spend their money wisely when starting out: “I’m not so sure it makes any sense for people to spend three or four years of their life going through business school. The money that is spent doing that could be used to start a business and get out there in the real world.
“Living in the jungle and learning to survive is so very important, you’ll learn so much more than you would going to business school. The most successful people that I know didn’t go to business school.”
Branson then touched upon the introduction of Start Up Loans, a scheme which he and Virgin Media Pioneers have campaigned to be introduced in Britain as a way of supporting young entrepreneurs.
"If you’re looking to become an entrepreneur then don’t waste your time going to university or business school – just get on and do it.”
“I’ve just managed to persuade the British government to allow students who don’t want to go to university to take their university grant and put it towards a business. I suspect they will learn a lot by using that money to start a business, if they’re successful then that’s four years that would have been wasted in business school,” explained Branson.
“If they fail then they’ll have still learnt a lot more than in business school, in some ways you learn more by trying something and failing than you do in succeeding.”
Branson was also quick to note the importance of university education, paying tribute to the fact that recent employment figures show that graduates are significantly more likely to find themselves a job than those without higher education. Although he was keen to point out that it's not always the smart choice.
“If you’re looking for an insurance policy then go to university, because in all honesty you’re more likely to get a job. However if you’re looking to become an entrepreneur then I would say don’t waste your time going to university or business school – just get on and do it.”
Are you an entrepreneur? What education have you had? Get involved in the debate, we’d love to know.
By Jack Preston