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Sunday, 19 June 2011

When will we learn that you cannot buy success?

So Dragons Den star Peter Jones has been exposed by the Mail on Sunday. The report claims that his New Enterprise Academy has hoovered up £9m of Government money and delivered just 10% of the new entrepreneurs it was set up to create.

When will the Government learn that big budget, big target, big name initiatives never work? Our Big Society will only be created when millions of ordinary people feel empowered and capable of doing extraordinary things. It's not about aspiring to own a plane and visit Buckingham Palace; it's actually about becoming proud of yourself, your neighbourhood and knowing that perhaps for the first time ever, you're in control of your future.

By happy coincidence I'm launching my own Barefoot Business Academy in September and recruiting participants now. There will only be 100 a year and they'll work together and in small groups to define then achieve the success they want for themselves.I'll simply be catalyst, coach, mentor and champion, making their journey easier as the work through the 10 month programme. I'll share their pain, fix their challenges and help them see that they really can do it. We'll be answerable to no one but ourselves.

There'll be no free rides either. People will pay their way, £100+ vat per month and get their money back if it doesn't work out. Their only risk will be an up front assessment / commitment fee of £150+vat. That's to prove that their serious.

Three have already signed - I'm expecting plenty more. No plans, no medals, just common sense and collective success.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A call for debate from a man of words

I've shaken hands with the Archbishop of Canterbury and bashing bishops of any kind is not something I'm inclined to do. Rowan Williams is a very bright, passionate and surprisingly pragmatic cleric. I've heard him speak and know he sees his church as a strong force, capable of delivering real societal change at grasssroots level.

But why this week did he choose to attack Cameron and 'Big Society'? His call for more national debate, involving no doubt more national figures and coverage in national media, actually dis-empowers the very people Big Society is supposed to be encouraging

We've had decades of idiotic planners, bureaucrats and petty politicians telling us what we need. Big Society surely is everyone's opportunity to actually go out and do stuff, 'be the change they want to see' as Gandhi once said.

So, I'm not sure what motivated the outburst, but frankly I think he was wrong. Oops, I've just bashed an archbishop!