by Peter Dostis
The biggest weight on my mind is what jobs my kids are going to have available for them when they finish school. Every day we hear about business closing. Disruption is everywhere and affecting multiple industries and reducing job opportunities. Even professions such and Law and Accounting are being disrupted in such major ways that jobs will significantly reduce in these professions over the next 10-15 years. Because of this, I encourage my kids not to look for just careers or jobs, but to think about having their own businesses and creating jobs.
I’m lucky that through Runway Geelong I work in a region with a hot bed of activity and like-minded individuals who are working towards creating a start-up ecosystem in Geelong to drive and support entrepreneurism as an alternative option for our kids.
A sustainable startup ecosystem starts in schools and universities showing kids that they have other alternatives apart from a corporate job or a trade. Starting their own business is a viable option for our kids and actually vital for Australia to create new jobs for those that don’t want to or can’t start their own businesses.
In the Geelong Region we have a number of awesome programs focused on teaching our kids about entrepreneurism. Upstart Challenge (www.upstartchallenge.com.au) runs programs across 27 secondary schools in the Geelong Region aiming to inspire & educate our next generation of global entrepreneurs & job creators. The Surf Coast Natural School Initiative (www.surfcoast.school) looks to take that one step further by embedding entrepreneurism into their school curriculum as an independent school that combines a number of excellent independent programs like Steiner, Reggio Amelia, Montessori and Chilton Pearce. Deakin University runs SPARK (http://spark.deakin.edu.au) which is an experiential program designed to give students, staff and alumni of Deakin University an opportunity to see, experience, and relate to the early stages of the entrepreneurial path. There are many other great examples outside Geelong as well but at the moment these are still too few and too far between.
The two primary/secondary examples are currently provided outside the standard curriculum offered at our schools. For Australia to support our kids in becoming entrepreneurs we need these programs to become embedded into our school curriculum’s. Until that time we need to support programs such as these as well as supporting our kids not only from Government, but also from corporate business, because as cliché as the saying is, kids really are the future.
We have a great focus at both the Federal and State Level to help drive innovation in Australia by supporting Incubators and start-up ecosystems. These are focused at the ‘business end’ of start-up creation and whilst important we need to make sure we don’t lose the opportunity for these programs to support where our next generation of entrepreneurs are coming from – our schools. These programs need financial support and focus as much as the rest of the ecosystem.