Event 1 School Materials

Event 1 Podcasts

Following December’s hugely successful event we have created two audio podcasts. The first is Professor Jerry Brotton’s Keynote and the second is the Panel Session

Both can be found at the Guild of Entrepreneur’s official Podcast Page by clicking here

Raleigh400 6th Form Event: Wednesday 12th December


3:30-3:50: Arrivals at Drapers’ Hall

4:00-4:15: Introductions outlining why we are here and what the aims of the session will be, followed by moving to the ‘teaching rooms’

4:20-4:55: Student discussion sessions – small groups of c.10 students (composed from different institutions) led by a teacher (with academics circulating to facilitate). Students will be asked to discuss four pre-circulated questions relating to the pre-circulated readings and their own preconceptions. There will be two distinct phases (each running 20 minutes).

4:55-5:05: Full group discussion on the question: ‘What lessons might we take from the pre-modern past when looking to plan for the future of international trade and commerce in an increasingly globalised world?’

5:05-5:25: Students given chance to stretch legs/have refreshments before moving into the lecture hall.

Aims of the student discussion sessions

The broader aim of the discussion sessions is to prepare the students for the lecture but also to open up their processes of self-reflection regarding what their ideas are regarding entrepreneurship and the place it has – and has had – in the world. Thus, the two phases of the discussion will be geared around separate aims.

The first will look to act as the ice-breaker, asking students to talk about their own preconceptions (10 mins per question). As such, they will be asked to consider the following questions:

  • What defines an entrepreneur in the modern world and what qualities do you consider makes a good entrepreneur?
  • What qualities might have been required of a pre-modern entrepreneur? What are the differences/similarities?

Regarding the first question, if students struggle with this concept, we can point towards the broader notion of what this can mean – so not just Alan Sugar/Karen Brady-esque businessmen/women, but social media influencers (e.g. Kim Kardashian), inventors, tech creators (Mark Zuckerberg), e-commerce, and ordinary entrepreneurs and small businessmen. The basic aim is to prompt the students to look to understand the broad applications of entrepreneurship, its influence over the world, and the wide-ranging means through which success can be achieved.

For the second, this will rely to some extent on their having done some reading. However, it still focuses in on pre-conceptions and so should not push them too much. Key things that we should look to push them to consider are: forms of travel; knowledge of the world; methods of communication; access to money; patronage; types of business; economic/political aims. If needed, the teacher/academic can use these themes to pose guiding questions (i.e. how easy was it for an English entrepreneur to reach the Americas in the 16th century?)

The next phase then moves onto considering the two case studies that are the main subjects of the reading (and the day): Sir Walter Ralegh and the livery companies of London. The two questions to be discussed would be:

  • What role did members of London’s Livery companies play in helping to establish global trading networks and what can this tell us of how the pre-modern city increased its economic reach?
  • What can Sir Walter Ralegh’s career tell us about the nature of pre-modern entrepreneurship?

These are more challenging than the first session, so will require the teachers and students to have processed the readings – but hopefully the first session will have eased them into talking. However, they are simple enough questions to answer and will raise moments of reflection that should dovetail well with the lecture (i.e. it will create questions that may well be answered directly by the content of the lecture).

For the first question, the main points for discussion should be investment/taxes towards expeditions; plantations/settlement; embassies to foreign courts. If the teacher/academic needs to facilitate more, they could employ guided questions (i.e. in what ways was trade opened up with foreign regions, like Russia? In what ways did the livery companies provide financial support to expeditions?) The aim is to get them to consider the varied roles played by the companies within the city, the tentative, speculative, and at times reluctant, nature of their involvement, as well as the impact this had. This can easily be tied in to the earlier question regarding the challenges of pre-modern entrepreneurship.

For the second question, this will hone in on Sir Walter Ralegh’s exploits – in particular his privateering, and his role in the plantations/settlements in Virginia and Ireland. We should not be afraid to consider whether he was a ‘success’, because this will again help to outline the challenges that early entrepreneurs faced in establishing the global networks the modern world is so familiar with. If there is time, it would also be interesting to consider his ‘memory’ and how he has come to be considered an early pioneer despite the problems he faced and the nature of his death.

The hope is that this would then lead naturally to the group-wide discussion which would consider the implications this has for our understanding of the modern world. In particular, it would be hoped that we could discuss the ethics of globalisation (a key topic given recent political events and the rise of populism) and the lessons to be learned not just from the successes of the past but also the mistakes. In the end, it is unlikely that any session like this could ever allow for mastery of a topic, so it seems to me far more appropriate to try to get the students there to think and to have ideas to ponder upon afterwards (which perhaps teachers might follow up on when back in college).

Supporting Materials

  • Sir Walter Raleigh: Background Information CLICK HERE TO VIEW
  • PLANTATION of DERRY – Letter to the City companies by Sir Thomas Philips, 29th May 1609. Reproduced in Calendar State Papers Ireland, 1608-10, p. 207. CLICK HERE TO VIEW
  • 6th Form Event: Documents Guide – Teacher Guidance Notes CLICK HERE TO VIEW