For those who I have yet to meet, my name is David Harkin. I’m the newly appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at The Arcadia Preparatory School and I’m proud to say that we’re the first school to adopt such a position in the Middle East and one of a small handful across the world. It’s a position held in numerous Universities across the globe, but only a few schools have had the thought leadership to bring it into the heart of their communities. Every month I will be writing a short blog on all things linked to entrepreneurship for the parents of the Arcadia family, but I wanted to begin by introducing myself and letting you know why I wanted to become part of your amazing community.
So a little on me (I promise not too much)… I am proud to be the CEO of 7billionideas, which is an ideas company. We exist to connect the 7 billion people on the planet with their own ideas. Now, I can imagine that many of you have not heard of an ‘ideas company’ before and that is because we are unique. We passionately believe that every single person on this planet is an ideas generator. Via our social media platform, our corporate and training arm and of course our education arm, we exist to inspire every single person on this planet, to connect with their own ideas. Since we formed in 2012, we have worked with over 50,000 students across the world and some of the largest companies about how they tackle innovation every single day.
Back at the start of 2016, we wanted to expand our work internationally, but I was adamant that we do it at the correct pace and of course form the correct partnerships. The Middle East is a hub of business activity and is leading the world in how we should be doing business in the 21st century. We knew that if we could find the right school, with importantly the right leaders, we could have a huge impact on their students and the wider community. With the stars aligning, this was when I was lucky enough to meet Navin and Mohan Valrani in the UK at one of our leading schools in South West London – Surbiton High School.
Their energy, passion for education and ambitions for the students that would fuel the school immediately stood out for me. Additionally, their background in building a multi-national company meant they really understood the importance of entrepreneurship in education. At that point, I knew this was a unique school, with big ambitions and would be really aiming to inspire the next generation of students in Dubai. A year on, this is certainly the case and I’m so excited to be part of it and to help with the school’s ambitions for your students.
Each year, I will have the great privilege of visiting the school once a term to work with each year group, conduct regular parent workshops, and wider community projects. We have a plan in place to work with every child as they go through the school to really develop their entrepreneurial mindset. Now, this doesn’t mean that we want to create a conveyor belt of entrepreneurs, but we want students to be prepared for a career in this space if they wish. Indeed, many of the students will become ‘intrapreneurs’ which is someone who acts like an entrepreneur in a public sector or corporate profession. So whether or not they are going to become an entrepreneur or intrapreneur in the future, it doesn’t really matter, our priority as a school is to unlock the entrepreneurial DNA which exists in every student and give them the skill sets they will need in the future to be successful.
I’m extremely excited, energised and can’t wait to meet all of you in the coming months and years. I’m more than proud to be The Arcadia Preparatory School Entrepreneur in Residence and work with a school which is not only leading the way in Dubai but indeed the world. Please feel free to contact me anytime on twitter (@davidjharkin) or LinkedIn and I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Have a wonderful day everyone, David.