ALMOST 400 pupils in the North East have signed up to run their own companies.
The youngsters are taking part in the Young Enterprise Community Programme, which sees them setting up and running their own businesses.
The scheme, which is open to pupils aged 15 to 19, is run in schools with guidance from local business volunteers.
Around 25,000 young people across the UK are taking part, competing for a national prize for the best business.
Research commissioned by Young Enterprise has found that alumni of the scheme on average go on to earn a third more than their peers by the time they are 30, are twice as likely to start their own business and are more passionate about their jobs.
Skills developed through the initiative include teamwork, punctuality, reliability and customer awareness as the pupils must raise real finance by selling shares, compile market research, appoint company directors, develop their own products or services and trade with the public.
Young Enterprise Interim Chief Executive Catherine Marchant said: “It is hugely encouraging that so many North East students have launched themselves into business by running their own real firms as part of the Young Enterprise Community Programme.
“Our research shows that taking part massively improves young people’s chances of landing a job. We are the last people to downplay the importance of good basic skills in maths, English and science, but employers are crying out for recruits who can do more than answer theoretical questions on an exam paper.
“The success of the community programme is a massive demonstration of the power of enterprise education to transform young people’s lives and make a substantial contribution to the revival of the British economy.”
The programme will culminate in July with the national awards ceremony in London.