Hoxton technology guru plans to set up free school to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs

Ben Southworth

Ben Southworth - Credit: Archant

A former senior figure of a technology organisation is planning to set up a free school to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Ben Southworth, 32, of Fanshawe Street, Hoxton is applying to set up The Ada Lovelace Academy for 16 to 19-year-olds in east London.

The former deputy chief executive of Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), set up by the department of UK trade and investment to support the growth of technology in east London, plans to set up the school to help young people develop the business and technology skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.

He said: “I spent 12 months looking at the problems facing entrepreneurs. It became apparent that our education system does not teach the skills needed for the creative industry.

“Otherwise, the education system is superb at lots of things. I have no criticism of the state and private education system.

“However, I want to solve the problems. We want to teach digital skills, creative skills and financial skills.

“We are trying to create the next generation of entrepreneurs and tech-savvy workers.

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“We initially hope to have 60 pupils and intend to have a ratio of one teacher to every 10 pupils.”

The school’s catchment area will be London-wide.

Mr Southworth said he was looking to find a site in east London because it’s the “heart of the creative and technical industry”.

“There’s a culture that pervades this area that I want young people to understand”, he said. “It’s got a very collaborative community spirit.”

He will be submitting his application to the Department for Education in May and, if it’s approved, he hopes to open the academy in September 2015.

n Visit www.adalovelaceacademy.com for more information.