Tenner Tycoon suspended after failing to find new backer

Peter Jones slams “losers” who hinder enterprise education

Tenner Tycoon, the flagship scheme for stimulating young entrepreneurship in the UK, has been suspended – prompting an angry reaction from Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones.

The initiative, which launched in 2007 as Make Your Mark with a Tenner, gave school pupils a £10 note and challenged them to build a business.

However, when the government withdrew funds from Enterprise UK – the quango behind the scheme – last year, the initiative was left without a home.

Although potential partners have now been found, coordinating the process of handing over Tenner Tycoon has caused a delay which will prevent the 2012 programme launching in March.

Speaking exclusively to Startups, Oli Barrett, co-founder of Tenner Tycoon, said: “The trustees of Enterprise UK have been through a thorough process which, in the end, was just not fast enough to enable the scheme to proceed on time.”

Jones has invested £200,000 in the initiative over the last two years, with the scheme adopting the name ‘Tycoon’ to reflect his involvement.

However, it appears the celebrity entrepreneur was disappointed by the delays. Barrett told our reporter:

“My understanding is that he (Jones) became frustrated by the process conducted by the trustees and ultimately decided that he wanted to go his own way.

“It’s a shame that such a simple idea has been bogged down when it should be unleashed and allowed to fly.”

Jones released a string of heated tweets alluding to the topic on Twitter this morning. In one, he said:

“Note to self: ‘continue to battle against bureaucrats who hinder entrepreneurial learning in our schools. They’re losers. The kids must win.'”

In another he wrote: “I might start naming & shaming those who hinder my campaign of encouraging enterprise in schools if I don’t get what I want” – adding the tag ‘ #wontbestopped’.

Barrett added: “Peter is one of those people who, as soon as he heard about Tenner, just ‘got it’ and loved it.

“He has been an incredible supporter over the years and I know will continue to champion everything that the scheme is about.”

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