Developing a culture of entrepreneurship in Poland

I was looking for an presentation on an old hard drive and found this – I wrote it in 2008, edited in 2010. There has been a lot of progress in the last 5 years, but much of this is still relevant, and this is a project that will never, ever be over and done with. It’s curious how some of the topics and websites that were relevant back then are just gone now.

Richard Lucas November 4th 2014


Goal 1. Improve school business links in Poland, learning from the experience of Oaklands Secondary School and others. (See Appendix How to run a school-business partnership). Use free of charge open networks like and in Poland and Facebook internationally to encourage alumni of schools and universities to interact with current staff and students

Nasza-Klasa has come from nowhere to being almost the most popular web site in Poland and is obviously an ideal platform on which to launch interaction between schools and their alumni.

It is hard to co-ordinate and manage voluntary activities, so I propose not trying to, but instead facilitating open networks and infrastructure which facilitates low/no cost learning and voluntary activites. Obviously there are circumstances where someone has to take responsibility when children are being cared for, but this can be solved case by case by drafting appropriate guidelines.

  1. Leverage Poland’s participation in Global Enterprise Week (November 2008) to be a spring board for advancing the cause of enterprise education in Poland. Facilitate the development of programmes like those at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) in Cambridge like Ignite, and Enterprise Tuesdays in Poland Use existing networks and technology to gather and develop free resources to help with enterprise education projects, probably using Connexions


Develop sustainable low cost know-how spreading and activity supporting infrastructure. The ability to mobilize large numbers of people very quickly in Poland for voluntary activities is remarkable, take the examples of and now

There is plenty of course material available. Finding good teachers and coaches may be more of a challenge.

This would create the possibility of modular input into existing projects and courses. Parents participating in making presentations to the school their children attended in Poland would be motivated to think that their materials would be available free of charge for anyone anywhere in Poland.

5. Promote awareness of low cost social lending projects like in Central Europe and Russia

6. Use no cost volunteering programmes like in Central Europe and Russia to get people in to help, but also develop local resources.. You may be more aware of the NGO situation here than I am. In Cracow there is a thriving Malopolskie Centrum Wolontariatu. the Volunteering group on the Polish networking site

  1. Leadership entrepreneurship summer camps project, like
  2. Develop a roster of “entrepreneurship evangelists” in Poland like Guy Kawasaki and others who can give compelling talks about business to Polish school children

Appendix 1 Winchester College revamps its careers service

Dear Richard,

Thank you for your long and interesting reply. There are things in there I must think about. With the turmoil of Christmas nearly upon us, would you mind if I replied in more detail in the New Year?

An old member of my house lived in Cracow for a year, teaching English. It sounds a very lovely city. Eastern Europe is one of our hoped-for destinations some day but I’ve got to retire first!

With best wishes,

David Baldwin

From: Richard.Lucas@xxxxx
Sent: 18 December 2007 09:20

To: Baldwin, David

Subject: RE: entrepreneurship and careers

Dear David

Thanks for the speedy and detailed reply. It is obvious you’ve done so much that I wonder how much I can add. I hope I am being this productive when I am 65.

A few comments and ideas

Have you thought of asking the director of the Crown and Manor club if they are interested in having volunteers from your network give support to the Youth Club in London? It will be easier for London based OWs to visit Hoxton than Winchester, and certainly those involved in business could give some valuable insights. Self employment in some ways has big advantages for those without a strong CV. I am planning to write anyway, but obviously the amount of support I can give is limited due to geography. (By the way, its 1000 miles, not 2000 from Cracow – Winchester)

2 I write about business topics for a blog, magazines, and our own web sites, and am interested in the spreading of good ideas and best practice, I would like to write up your experience as an article (on the brave assumption that it is best practice). It seems to me you have achieved a lot in a short period, and many schools could learn from it . If you are ready to facilitate this, I would come back to you later, with a series of questions.

  1. I remember Rupert Younger – he was my exact contemporary. I do remember you as well, though sadly not that much of what you taught me.
  2. Web Presence Getting information about what you are doing, and copies of presentations onto the Win Coll Careers web page would make sense in terms of making the presentations available to those who cannot attend, or are interested but don’t qualify, and reduce your workload by reducing the number of enquiries about what you are doing, if you have a contact with the College Webmaster it should be very simple to set up.
  3. I need to review my other commitments before promising to come, but at first sight it looks as if March 14th might be feasible. I’ve pencilled it in to my diary.
  4. Internships at PMR – This isn’t a firm commitment, because I am not the final decision maker, but at PMR we might have placement for 6 months (or longer) based in Cracow in either international sales/marketing or for report and web portal news journalism, article writers and authors. If they were native level speakers of languages other than English this would be an advantage. I will discuss this with colleagues next week. Other companies I am connected to also might be interested in anyone who can write software, particularly anyone interested in Ruby on Rails/Agile RAD environment. Anyone who has the drive and commitment to consider living and working in Cracow Poland independently for a while, could write to me directly.
  5. The Pembroke College Parmee prize awarded GBP1000 to one student and GBP500 as a runner up. I don’t know if you are planning to follow the format of the TV program exactly, but there were various features of the competition that made a positive difference (like having an internet exchange of information about business ideas in advance via an internet forum). If you want me to review the format you are planning and make suggestions, I’d be ready to do that

best regards


Dear Richard,

Thank you very much for responding to the note in the Alumni Newsletter. It has been quite productive. Thank you too for offering to be of assistance.

Since taking on this job only last year, I have introduced two careers events a year, plus a business awareness seminar. The latter used to be done by one of the many outfits offering this sort of service – it was becoming very expensive and the people they sent were a bit past it. So, with the assistance of the wife of a colleague who is quite high up in retail marketing, we set up our own intro to the world of business. I got hold of two OW entrepreneurs (Rupert Younger and Colin Howman, both of whom had been with me in Chawker’s) who talked about their own experiences and the boys taking part were then set the task of making a business pitch. For this coming term, I have the services of two more OW entrepreneurs and we will give the boys more freedom to choose what they wish to pitch for and will run a sort of Dragon’s Den with the entrepreneurs forming the jury.

We also arrange visits from various big finance institutions when the opportunity arises – we had Deutsche Bank here last term explaining how a big bank works and they have offered to have a party up to visit the trading floor.

The two careers events are pitched at boys in the Lower Sixth (VI2) in March (14th 4 to 6.30 p.m.) and the third year (GCSE – Vth Book) in June (20th 2 to 4.30 p.m.). I have managed to amass a very diverse range of speakers from OWs and present parents and my aim is to give the boys insights into all sorts of professions in addition to the usual bankers, financiers, accountants, lawyers and medics. These will also be represented, but I have managed to get hold of archaeologists, journalists, broadcasters, an actor, a theatre designer and entrepreneur, someone from the Navy and the Army, an architect, hopefully some ex-gappers and so on – almost an embarrass de richesses. The format is a carousel of 18 or so speakers, from which the boys choose to listen to 3 or 4, each talk/presentation to last no more than 25 minutes, but the whole thing followed by refreshments at which the boys can meet the speakers more informally and feel freer to ask questions. This worked well last summer.

Further to this we have also built up a bank of people who can help find work experience for boys seeking to do it, and we do stress the importance of doing so. And I recently asked for further help on this from present parents.

We also offer preparation for SATs, a commercial outfit (Kaplan) does this, a weekly law course, and interview guidance from two different outfits, about which I still reserve judgement. I shall be going to look at alternatives this coming year.

We still offer the ISCO/Morrisby psychometric profiling which is done in Vth Book. It sometimes comes up with some good things for the boys but the main thing is to get them thinking about themselves and their aspirations.

Another part of my job is university entrance and for this we have visits from American universities, the occasional Oxbridge college and other universities. I oversee the university application procedure.

So that is the state of play. I am sure it could be improved, but I think we offer a pretty good service. There is a good careers/university library full of brochures and guidance leaflets and boys come and go all the time, asking for advice.

I came back out of retirement to take this on, but I shall be 65 next June and may have to go. I might however stay on for one more year, so hope to put a few more things in place by then.

If you are interested in contributing to one of the careers events, or coming to do a presentation of your own, which I am sure we could fix up, then please do let me know. I would be delighted, if it could be possible, even though you are coming 2000 miles. Is that still Poland or is it now further than that?

I look forward to hearing back from you. I shan’t be in the office much more now, but still look at my e-mails from home.

With best wishes for the season,


David Baldwin, Head of Careers/UCAS, WinColl

Sent: 13 December 2007 04:52

To: Baldwin, David

Subject: entrepreneurship and careersDear David

I saw you were interested in contact with OWs who could talk about their professions. I’ve been doing this for a while, most recently in Cambridge

I’d be more than ready to come to Winchester at some stage during 2008. My particular focus in self employment and entrepreneurship.I do work shops, and training, and was on the panel of judges for the Parmee prize at Pembroke College a few weeks ago. as described here:

You can see some information about the businesses I established in the attachments, and examples of materials of talks I’ve given.

I also wrote an article about internships that would be relevant to gap year

I am interested to know what you and the school are doing at present in terms of enterprise education, with respect to business and social entrepreneurship.

There was very little education of this type when I was at Winchester 1979-84. I remember two talks in the 5 years I was there, one from a local Winchester company called something like Magnet which made Portakabins, the other an “industry day” where someone from Shell came in to give a talk. Both made a great impression and influenced me a lot, but I could have benefitted from much more.

We could have a discussion by e-mail about what the most useful things I could do are- given that I live 2000 miles away, I would like to make the visit as productive as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you. We can have a discussion by e-mail or perhaps talk on the phone once I have a better idea of the current state of play for careers/enterprise education at Win Coll


Appendix 2 How to run a school-business partnership

By Michael Skapinker

Published: December 3 2007 19:38 | Last updated: December 4 2007 03:19

Tower Hamlets is the most deprived borough in London and the fourth most deprived area in England.

Oaklands secondary school, which nestles amid rows of Tower Hamlets public housing, has all the marks of deprivation, too. More than half the pupils are eligible for free school meals. The majority speak a language other than English at home.

Which all goes to show how little bald facts tell you. The east London streets are spotless as I make my way through them one recent rainy afternoon.

The students emerging from Oaklands look cheerful, as they should. A school inspector who visited the school in September described Oaklands as “outstanding” – the highest grade that the school inspectors ever award.

The inspection report said behaviour at the school was “excellent”. Social, moral and cultural education were “outstanding”. Lessons were “well-ordered, stimulating and harmonious”. The head teacher led the school with “openness, insight and clarity of purpose”. Although the students arrived at age 11 with “below normal levels of attainment”, they left at 16 with results above the national average. The school’s “value-added” – the degree to which students progressed during their years there – put Oaklands in the top 3 per cent in the country.

The inspectors also commended the school’s “creative relationship with a large City bank”. Lehman Brothers has been working with Oaklands for 10 years. Many companies have adopted schools, but this school appears particularly successful.

On the day I visit, Oaklands is throwing a party to celebrate the first decade of its link with Lehman Brothers and I have come to ask what makes for a productive partnership between a business and a school.

Patrice Canavan, who is in her third year as head teacher, says Oaklands was in pretty good shape when she arrived. The reasons for Oaklands’ success are uncomplicated, although difficult to achieve: clear and well-enforced standards of behaviour, a pleasant physical environment and high aspirations.

Her task, she says in a rare bit of management-speak, is to take the school “from good to great”. Because life is not a fairy story, Oaklands still has work to do. The inspection report said that the most able students did not perform as well as they could.

Peter Sherratt, vice-chairman of Lehman Brothers in Europe, has chaired the school’s governing body since 2001. Lehman staff help in classes, mentor students and teach them job interviewing techniques. The school holds its Saturday morning pre-examination revision classes at Lehman’s offices at Canary Wharf.

I ask Ms Canavan and Mr Sherratt what the main ingredients of a good school-business partnership are.

First, says Mr Sherratt, the school must lead and the business partner follow. The teachers are the ones who understand education. The bank provides what the school asks for.

Second, you have to look for areas of shared culture. This might seem a stretch when talking about an investment bank and an inner-city school, but it helps that Lehman’s ethnic mix, with 60 nationalities at Canary Wharf, is even greater than Oaklands’.

Third, you need to produce tangible results. Mr Sherratt says the Lehman staff can see how well the school has done since they have been involved.

Fourth, says Ms Canavan, students must see both sides working together. When the inspector asked about Lehman, she says, the pupils talked about the bank “as though they were a department at the end of the corridor”.

Finally, says Ms Canavan, there is “filthy lucre”. Mr Sherratt estimates Lehman has invested about

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