Enterprise for all through partnership

By Nick Jones, Former Head of Digital Comms and CSR • Visa Europe

June 30, 2015

Being entrepreneurial is not for the elite. Digital technology and the right attitude allow all of us to create value. It contributes to all our well-being – social and economic. This is no pie in the sky vision of digital evangelists but the reality seen by Visa employees volunteering in start-up challenges. We are proud to back such entrepreneur education.

To make this happen partnerships are critical. These partnerships range from schoolrooms to the very heart of Brussels. It is great to see so many supporters pull together in partnerships. It all helps widen access to entrepreneur education.

So who do we partner with? Some organizations will be names recognized by students, business and policymakers. Others are only known in one place. But all allow Visa to deliver our vision to ‘equip young people to thrive in the digital economy.

Working out from the classroom coalface let’s look at the types of partners needed to make it happen.

The NGOs

Visa Europe operates in 37 countries. From Iceland to Israel, it is difficult to find one partner who can deliver classroom-based financial education through entrepreneurial activities. Therefore we are grateful to work with Junior Achievement Europe (JA). It works in 39 countries!

JA works with teachers, volunteers and students to deliver financial education programmes based around entrepreneurial opportunities. The fun of having an idea and the challenge of making it happen offer the chance to teach.

Sometimes, the particular circumstance of our company or JA and a special need in a country means we also partner with others. This is true when helping parents be part of the financial education process. In the UK we work with Parent Zone. It provides parental content via schools’ own web sites. We’ve pioneered digital financial skills content with them.

Private Sector Partners

In Turkey, we’ve partnered with the country’s banks to produce Parami Yonetebiliyorum – I Can Manage My Money. The partners’ funding for this programme means that it reaches hundreds of thousands of students.

Sponsorships also allow education beyond classrooms. In Romania, we work with JA to create games that teach financial basics and how to shop safely online.

In the UK we have growing relationships with new types of partners such as start-up hubs and accelerators. This is through our Visa Collab hub. Visa has experience in scaling up technology to tackle problems like fraud.. We can help start-ups with such challenges. We hope to see alumni from our educational work appear in our hub one day!

Education professionals and policy makers

Educators and policymakers are key partners in all our programmes. It is critical to be welcomed into classrooms and work on skills that fit curricula.

Again, the reputation of our NGO partner JA is critical. It has the trust of teachers, earned through the hard work of volunteers. And, it works hard with education ministries to ensure that curriculum fit too.

We also partner with policymakers at the highest level. We’re founder members of the EE-Hub EU. This group of entrepreneur education experts have been convened by the European Commission. The aim is to better inform their policymakers. It acts as a broker of good ideas, evidence. School curriculums are crowded. Volunteers are time poor. Students have so much to do with their time. So, we need evidence on how to improve their financial capability. That evidence points to entrepreneur education as being a brilliant way to do so.

Every Entrepreneur knows that the right partnerships can unlock value for their business. We want to mimic that. We want our partnerships to unlock entrepreneur education opportunities for all not just an elite.

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