Children are our best hope for growth

Child selling lemonadeThe IMF thinks cutting interest rates and VAT will grow the UK economy.

Not in the long term.

VAT is one of the better taxes because it acts as a break on consumption – the root of our greatest problems. It also generates the revenue needed for the state to pay back our debt mountain.

Cutting VAT will only channel money that would have been used to pay back public sector debt to paying back private sector debt. The IMF advice to cut VAT and encourage greater consumption fails to tackle the root cause of the issue.

True growth comes from invention, creativity, working smarter, getting more out for putting less in. Growth comes from using our brains to make things better, faster, easier, more efficient.

We must find ways to foster that. Fixing the root causes of our problems – being patient and investing in the future.

Children are the future.

Why does Britain have such high youth unemployment? Children are sponges. They are dynamos. They are imaginative. They have incredible potential. We invest billions in education yet millions of children are leaving school unable to find work or start a business. Their parents have failed them. Our system has failed them. This must end.

Every child from the age of 6 to 16 should learn about business. Business is fun. It's creative. It's rewarding. It gives people the feeling they are doing something useful, productive and valuable. Which they are.

By providing children with the experience of running their own enterprise, no matter how small or simple it may be, we will be nurturing millions of little growth-engines of the future and empowering every child to choose their destiny.

We must develop the belief in every child that they can do whatever they want with their life. That the world is there to be changed, by them.

Business can do that. Business does do that. It is not exclusive to a minority – everyone can change the world. Whether it is profit making business or a non-profit, our economies were grown through enterprise, yet we shield our children from it until the age of 16, 18 or even 21.

We've wasted precious years, providing little or no exposure to children in something empowering, something magical, something of lifelong personal, social and economic value. We should have been exposing them from an early age, feeding their natural hunger for creativity, experimentation and trade.

By the age of 13, every child should have started at least one enterprise. They could sell lemonade, wash cars, build iPhone apps, service bikes, shoot stock photography or one of a million other things. It doesn't matter what they do or how they do it, because it is an age of experimentation.

Children have nothing to lose, everything to gain. They have time on their side, they are not stuck in a comfort zone or tied down by mortgages or children like many adults are. Their enterprise may not even be trying to make money, the purpose is to let them create something of their own and experience the basics of enterprise.

Children are young, energetic, fearless and hungry to take on the world. When you let them loose at 16, 18, 21 or whenever, with the experience and knowledge they will have gained from their many childhood enterprises, they will be well equipped to make positive change in the world and do a lot better than our generation did.

That means growth. Lots of it. And I expect it to be good growth too – disruptive, creative, ground-breaking, environment-fixing, peace-making growth.

Here's Cameron Herold sharing his experiences on childhood entrepreneurship:

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