Enterprise at the RSA

The ARC Enterprise programme enhances people’s capability to do their best work, and to shape an economy that is fit for the needs of the C21st.

The RSA was founded in the C18th to "embolden enterprise... improve our manufactures and extend our commerce" to improve Britain's prospects as a trading nation and reduce poverty and worklessness.

Since then, the Society has tried to accomplish this through the cultivation of a workforce with the mindset and skills to adapt and compete in an ever-changing economy, and through the encouragement of technologies, industries, social reforms and applied science that would not only boost the economy but also improve society.

For over 250 years, this has meant spreading ideas via research, pamphlets and lectures; encouraging innovation through open prize challenges (historically called "Premiums"); and mobilising Fellows in support of ambitious projects, prototypes and events.  

Today’s context may be different in many ways, but the same ethos and approach remain relevant.

Our Enterprise programme encourages the growth of skills, technology, industry and commerce that help people lead fulfilling and productive working lives.

Our work is driven by a belief that everybody has untapped potential to ‘work better’, in ways that create deeper value for themselves, their organisations, the economy and wider society.

Like all RSA work, our approach draws on research, inspiration, influence and learning-by-doing to discover ways to unlock this human potential.

Our Enterprise projects are intended to complement each other, and the wider RSA programme, including the amazing breadth and depth of RSA Fellowship work in this domain. We aim to create hybrid projects that blend theory and practice in a variety of domains, but they broadly share four interrelated themes:

  • Work: cultivating the skills and practices needed to help people find and keep good work
  • Industry: encouraging the technologies and industries we need for a thriving C21st society
  • Ventures: fostering entrepreneurial and ‘venturesome’ cultures and practices
  • Premiums: sparking innovation through prize challenges, competitions and awards