According to a submission to a Productivity Commission review, young entepreneurs are less active in Australia than in other developed countries and in order for them to succeed, need access to better education, simple finance and fewer regulations.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor finds that the US outperforms Australia in entrepreneurship in almost every age group, but most dramatically among 18- to 24-year-olds.
More than 13 per cent of Americans in this cohort are involved in business start-ups, compared with 8.7 per cent of Australians of the same age.
“Australia is one of the only advanced economies without dedicated youth entrepreneurship initiatives supported by the government,” Foundation for Young Australians chief executive Jan Owen said.
“While the US, Canada and Germany have recognised the value of youth entrepreneurship and invested in national strategies to support it, Australia is lagging behind. This is a missed opportunity.”
In order to recognise the value and importance of young ‘self-starters’, the foundation recommended introducing enterprise education in secondary schools and explore the avenue of government-backed microfinance schemes.
According to its own surveys of participants in its Young Social Pioneers program, the foundation found 66 per cent had dipped into their personal savings for their projects and 75 per cent had had trouble accessing any finance.
Melbourne entrepreneur Jillian Kenny (pictured) 29, won $10,000 from PricewaterhouseCoopers for her start-up that develops app-based science, technology, engineering and maths content to be delivered in classrooms.
She works full-time on the for-profit business Machinam with co-founders Felicity Furey and Claire Bennett.
“The biggest challenge is around funding in terms of being able to expand,” Ms Kenny said.
“Everything we have done has been from our own pockets and we are at the stage now where I am working on this full-time without pay. “We are only able to do that because my partner is able to support me.”
Ms Kenny said that countries such as Australia could do more to boost the participation of students in science and maths-based courses and she hoped that her company’s program could “show students the real-world importance of what they are studying”.
The foundation said young people were more likely than their parents to explore business ownership and self-employment as they navigated changing labour markets and the digital economy.
“We need investment to support young people to be innovative, creative and enterprising,” the FYA submission said. “As the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank has noted, the type of human capital needed for Australia’s future prosperity is best developed in a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and supports people to take a risk with a new idea.”
Tips For Young Entrepreneurs
Starting up your own business or enterprise may sound like a lofty – and expensive – idea, but like anything the reward at the end trumps all the challenges you will encounter alomg your journey toward your business goals.
If you are young, have a marketable idea, are jobless or are curious about starting up your own business, here are some great tips from Virgin. Could you be the next Richard Branson?
Take risks Youre young and probably not yet responsible for mortgages and childcare. This is the one time in your life where are can take risks so do it.
Take advantage of social media If youre under the age of 21 the chances are that youre pretty good at using social media. Youre the Facebook generation, who have been bought up with sharing information online. Apply these skills to your business and utilise social media to advertise your venture. Not only can you build up online relationships with your customers but it is also a cost effective way of advertising.
Find a mentor A mentor can give you advice and guidance on the types of things that only come with life experience. They can help you understand the challenges you are facing and advice you on how to overcome them.
Use available resources If you are a student you probably have access to a library with a wealth of information on starting your own business. If your college or university has an entrepreneurs society then join it. Make the most of all information and resources that you can find. Building up your knowledge with readily available information will make you better equipped at business.
Be prepared to fail Not all business ideas turn into the next big thing. In order to succeed in business you must be prepared to fail. You can learn from these mistakes and these experiences will build up your knowledge and understanding of how business works.