What is Enterprise Learning?
Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE (pictured) is CEO and founder of X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) and Chair of the Soldiering On Awards. In this first part of our new series, she explains why enterprise skills are at the centre of everything she does – and, while we are experiencing the fallout from COVID-19, what exactly Enterprise Learning is and why it remains as important as ever …
The buzzword of the moment is ‘unprecedented’, and words and phrases that a few months ago would have been entirely alien to us, like ‘social distancing’, ‘coronavirus’, ‘self-isolation’ and ‘R number’ are now commonly used in our vernacular.
Many of us, myself included, can’t imagine a world post-COVID-19. We are only now beginning to see the enormity of the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s infrastructure. Many of us, having had to home-school while trying to hold down day jobs, endure pay cuts and not seeing our close friends and relatives, now face an uncertain future.
Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have shown that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose from 856,000 to 2.1 million in April 2020, with almost 1.5 million officially unemployed. More than 7 out of 10 UK businesses have furloughed staff, and more than a third of 18–24 year olds’ earnings have fallen significantly because of the outbreak, with older workers now put at risk of involuntary retirement. (‘Furlough’ is another word and concept that few in this country were familiar with before this March.)
While we have been in lockdown, we have had the unwelcome luxury of time, the inspiration of the environment improving (CO2 emissions being significantly down) and, for those of us working from home, no daily commute.
But what does tomorrow look like? Another phrase being bandied about by journalists and commentators is the ‘new normal’. And how can we turn this ‘new normal’ around to be something positive, something we and our communities (our contacts, friends and families) can use to grow?
At my recent catch-up with Gary Packham, Professor of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Anglia Ruskin University, he agreed that when we experience a downturn in the economy, there is often an increase in the number of start-ups. Much is written about people starting businesses either because they see an opportunity or experience job limitations. What is important is to understand and learn as much as you can about business as possible for either eventuality, and this is at the core of everything I do and my passion: Enterprise Learning.
Enterprise Learning is important to the Armed Forces community, to demonstrate how the skills they have can help them develop enterprise skills and business competences
But what is Enterprise Learning?
- Enterprise learning is knowing how the economy works: The key components of business, understanding budgets and market fluctuations, aren’t just ‘nice to know’ – it’s crucial to understand them to be significant.
- Enterprise learning is a mind-set: Everyone needs to be enterprising, whether you run your own organisation, work for someone else, run a GP surgery, are a civil servant or an assistant to the chief executive of a small or large organisation, and everything in between.
- Enterprise Learning is what sits above entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship: Both are equally valuable for running your own organisation or working for someone else’s organisation. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, Enterprise Learning isn’t a one-off programme, an interesting read or a one-hit-wonder workshop.
- Enterprise has huge synergies with the Armed Forces community: When transitioning from military to civilian life, Enterprise Learning is particularly important to the Armed Forces community, to demonstrate how the skills they already have as a result of their service can help them develop enterprise skills and business competences.
- Ultimately, Enterprise Learning is ‘a journey of learning that doesn’t have an end; it is a lifelong experience’.
More about Enterprise Learning
To find out more about Enterprise Learning, visit the XFE website.
X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) is the UK’s largest provider of support to the ex-military in business. Support is available to Service leavers, veterans, reservists, spouses, widows, cadets and dependants aged over 18.
XFE supports the individual throughout their enterprise journey, starting and scaling up their own businesses, offering ongoing support through knowledge exchange, networking and mentoring.
XFE is the industry leader for enterprise training for the Ministry of Defence and is a recipient of the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for outstanding support of the Armed Forces community.
To date, XFE has:
- helped more than 2,000 entrepreneurs launch their own businesses
- supported thousands more through training and events, and mentoring
- provided £19 million-plus of seed funding as an official delivery partner of the government-backed Start Up Loans scheme, with an industry-leading success rate.