We Don't Need No Education


Theresa May is planning to force universities to charge less for some courses based on their costs and potential graduate earnings. You can see her logic. When the government set a price cap – now £9,250 a year – it didn’t expect nearly every course across all universities would charge the same price, but that's what happened. Given the current system is effectively a progressive income contingent graduate tax, it’s not unreasonable to argue for doing away with price caps altogether and letting universities create a market for courses. But this would be a bad idea.

First, too many young people – particularly those from poorer backgrounds who don’t have the advice of parents who have been there and done it – lack the necessary information to make the right decisions about the education they should invest in. Second, it's not a proper market. Universities are heavily subsidised and most current student loans aren't paid back. The taxpayer would have even more to bail out, which is a regressive transfer of wealth from relatively poor non-graduates to relatively rich graduates.

But there is a provocative third reason. In The Case Against Education, Professor Bryan Caplan argues that a lot of our education system is a futile arms race of wasteful signalling and credentialism, rather that a useful way of learning transferable skills. Even if he is partially right, the implications are significant. Entrepreneur Peter Thiel is convinced – that's why he set up The Thiel Fellowship, which gives $100,000 to “young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom”. It’s an idea worth pondering upon.

Creative Thinking
Nesta and the Creative Industries Council have released Creative Nation. Among its findings is that though creative businesses are more productive than similarly sized businesses, they will not materially contribute to addressing the UK’s productivity problems unless they scale-up significantly.

Grin Up North
The Northern Tech 100 League Table is open for applications. The table ranks the top 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the North, with rankings based on revenue growth over the past three years. To enter you must be an active technology company with at least £500,000 revenue in 2015 and be based in the North of the UK (including Scotland).


 Our Survey

APPG for Entrepreneurship: 2018 Survey
Your answers will serve as the raw data on which we base three briefing papers designed to impact policy.
Tell politicians what you think!

Our Events

Leap 100 Breakfast with Sophie Eden and Sam Gordon, Founders of Gordon & Eden
How to Secure World-Class Talent
7 March 2018
7.45am to 9.15am
Mishcon de Reya, 70 Kingsway, London
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This event will consider: techniques on how to secure people in a competitive market; pragmatic advice for the CEO/Founder on how they can impact the search process; and how to get the best out of your search provider

Female Founders Forum Launch: Mentoring Matters
15 March 2018
19-23 Featherstone Street, Blooming Founders, London
6pm to 8pm
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Join us for our launch of the 2018 report on the importance of mentoring for female entrepreneurs. We're very excited to announce our keynote as Vin Murria!


News & Views

Boris Johnson urges Remainers to recognise the benefits of leaving EU… 
…but Simon Tilford disagrees, arguing that our domestic policy is holding us back (check out A Boost for British Businesses for our thoughts on what should be done on the domestic front)
The Harvard Business Review looks at what happens to a startup when venture capitalists replace the founder
The visa cap for skilled workers was hit for third month in a row… 
…Ian Robinson argues in the Times that UK employers need a clear immigration policy…
… and Russ Shaw calls for a more flexible visa system  
Grand challenges are reshaping US university research
Labour’s Seema Malhotra on why closing the entrepreneurial gender gap requires us all to take action (which mentions this Female Founders Forum research
Over 450,000 students currently run, or plan to run a business while at university
The RSA calls for sovereign wealth fund to give every resident under 55 a £10k dividend
As part of the Leap 100, my colleague Annabel Denham writes about how Oaknorth’s founder is banking on challenging incumbent lenders

Friends of the Network


Meet the Director
20 February 2018
Oxford and Cambridge Club , 71-77 Pall Mall, London
6pm to 9pm
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A networking event will follow the talk with drinks and nibbles. It is a terrific opportunity to mingle with members of the Cambridge Judge Launchpad community. 

Workshop: Getting the Most from your Network
22 February, 2018
9am to 1pm
Albert House, 256-260 Old Street, London
Cost: Non-members: £150 +VAT; Members £95 +VAT
Find out more
This four-hour interactive session aims to help attendees get the most from their network, ultimately driving success in both business and personal life.

E2E #ScaleUp2Success
27 February 2018
5pm to 9pm
Spaces, 9 Greyfriars Road, Reading, RG1 1NU
Cost: SCALEUP18 for a the complimentary ticket. Otherwise £30
Find out more
E2E hosts an evening of drinks & canapés in conversation with Tim Weller, Founder of Incisive Media and Rob Law MBE, Founder of Trunki.

Make It Your Business: London
1 March 2018
6.30pm to 8.30pm
The Bull Theatre, 68 High Street, Barnet, London
Cost: £10 (Or free if you become a member)
Join Make It Your Business for a panel event with guest speakers: Karen Wright (founder, Love Feet); Dr Mandy Kent (founder, Hadley Green Dental Practice); Laura Milligan (founder, Laura Felicity Design) and Louise Bawcutt (owner, The Present).

Insuring Women’s Futures Live 2018: The Big Conversation
6 March 2018
The Mermaid, Puddle Dock, London
8.15am to 6pm
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A day of lively panel discussions and breakout sessions around the unique risks women are exposed to throughout life. 

Leap Academy: Managing Shareholder Agreements and Disputes
14 March 2018
Africa House, 70 Kingsway, London
8.30am to 10.30am
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Topics to be discussed are: benefits of shareholder agreements; increase the prospect of building a successful business and avoid disputes; advance planning for risk management issues and resolving boardroom and shareholder disputes. Joining the discussion will be Jonathan Berman, Corporate Parnter at Mishcon de Reya and Nicola Bridge, Litigation Partner at Mishcon de Reya.


The Astra Awards
Deadline: 16 May 2018
Prize: There are various prizes for each category, ranging from co-working space in Blooms London, support from NACUE, access to Toucan's ecosystem and being fast-tracked straight to the Investment Committee
Find out more
Toucan Ventures, Blooming Founders and NACUE are coming together this Spring to bring you The Astra Awards - a competition to champion the creative community, female businesses and the very best students that the UK has to offer.