Dragons' Den star Peter Jones thinks university is a waste of time for entrepreneurs.
The 6ft7in-tall telecommunication tycoon is intent that his rather sizeable footsteps should be followed - he founded his empire, now worth £475m, while at comprehensive school and didn't go to university.
He told the Daily Mirror: “For entrepreneurs, university is a complete waste of time. You’re not gaining any enterprise experience. To be a doctor you have to go through it. But for an entrepreneur? No.”
With a nationwide network of academies, Jones maintains a philosophy of 'learning by doing'. His academies offer courses for young people aged 16 and older in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at BTEC and Apprenticeship level.
He has also founded the national Tycoon in Schools competition, which encourages young people to start and run a business whilst still at school. He said: “We’ve been brought up in this country to believe entrepreneurship can’t be taught. That’s absolute hogwash.”
In an interview with the Radio Times he talked of his constant campaign to push business lessons in schools. He said: ‘I’ve been campaigning as much as I can. I’ve been an advocate for ten years now, across two governments – first with Gordon Brown, then with David Cameron – on enterprise, and really encouraging, pushing, cajoling, to do everything we can to embed enterprise in our national curriculum, and I continue to be disappointed that we just pay lip service to the issue. We talk about going back to basics, and we talk about times tables. We’re far too obsessed with times tables."
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He continued: "It is important for us to be able to add up, obviously, we take it as read that our kids should be able to do that, it should also be ‘taken as read’ that children are taught about entrepreneurism as well."
Peter Jones is one of many successful entrepreneurs to succeed without a degree. Virgin media founder Sir Richard Branson, Arcadia CEO Sir Philip Green and The Apprentice's Sir Alan Sugar all left school before they turned 17, whilst Bill Gates remains "Harvard's most famous drop-out".
Jones returns for the 13th series of Dragons’ Den on Sunday.