COVID-19 has had and will continue to have a devastating impact on young people's employment.
On 14 May 2020, Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, MP revealed that "youth unemployment.....has risen to 13.8% up from 11.5%" and this was confirmed by the Grattan Institute:
"youth unemployment rose to 13.8% in April, or double the headline unemployment rate. With more than 20% of Australians aged 15-24 also unemployed, more than one third of younger Australians are without paid work or working fewer hours that they would like."
This position for young people worsened by 18 June. The Treasurer stated, "Youth employment fell by 103,000 [jobs] making up 45% of jobs lost in May. Youth unemployment is now at 16.1%.
Prime Minister Morrison warned on 18 June,
"... the great risk of young people not in a job before they are 22-25 .... can lead to a lifetime welfare dependency...."
We believe it's time for the addition of Entrepreneurship to the Education, Employment and Training pillars for young people.
Small and family owned businesses account for almost 93.8% of all businesses in Australia.
Of these 76% are micro business employing 1-4 people.
We are not suggesting that young people will become millionaires with many, many staff.
In fact, many of the young people we have worked with are self-employed with no staff.
We believe it is time to grow the small business pipeline and give young people the support tools and resources to own their own business.
Small business ownership is a legitimate post-school and unemployment alleviation outcome and 2, 300, 000 Australian business owners will attest to this.
What if young people could at least replace their current Centrelink benefit or underemployed wage with their own income from running their own business?
What if, instead of hopelessness, young people have a reason to get out of bed every day by working in their own business?
That's what our 3 month + youth enterprise programs will do.
Getting Down to Business 1.0
Getting Down to Business is our first 10 month incubator program for young people 16-25 years of age. And also where we created this awesome name for a business package!
Participants were divided into three groups based on the stage of their business:
early thinking - for those with an idea only
startup - for those with an early stage business with a few customers
scale - for those with an existing business to grow customers and revenue
As with all Enterprising Partnerships programs, participants with ideas or businesses from all industry sectors were welcome to attend. Our role is to work with young people regardless of their business stage or type of business.
Over the years, industry sectors have included:
Search Engine Optimisation
Recycling and sustainability
Nutrition and Dietetics
Co-working space development
Poetry and spoken word
Circular economy and environment
and many more.
Held over 2014-2017 more than 160 young people participated in the first program funded by the Victorian Government's Department of Health and Human Services. Participants are now aged between 21 and 31 years.
More than 30 businesses have grown to become going concerns with three expanding nationally and internationally and becoming multi-million dollar companies employing people in Australia and overseas.
More than 60 participants hold middle or senior level management positions in corporates, banking, middle market firms, international organisations such as the United Nations and not-for-profit organisations.
Many of our participants have graduated as doctors, lawyers, economists, accountants, software engineers, data analysts, carpenters, builders, photographers, teachers, user experience designers, game and web developers, creatives, artists and the list goes on.
Some participants finished high school when that was a doubtful outcome at the time, others found the strength, support and resources to leave violent relationships, reunite with their family and find stable housing.
Participation in entrepreneurship programs is not just about starting a business but developing problem-solving mindsets, tools to start a business at any time in the future, confidence, networks and mentors.
An audit of the last 6 months of the Getting Down to Business 1.0 accelerator program, participants revealed that participants had:
- more than 5,000 customers
- achieved more than $14m in revenue
- employed 1,100 contractors and staff
As we move into our next stage of running youth entrepreneurship programs, we look forward to seeing businesses start, grow and create self-employment or to take on the world, we expect that our participants will contribute to society in many different person fields.
Getting Down to Business was made possible with funding from the Victorian Government.
To discuss youth enterprise programs for your community, book a free 30 minute discussion here:
Young Entrepreneurs Program Pilot
Creating an entrepreneurship programs for young requires a number of steps for recruitment, selection, skill development, coaching and mentoring.
This report on the development and achievements of the South Australian Young Entrepreneurs Program Pilot (YEPP) describes these steps and program outcomes.
YEPP was made possible by funding from the South Australian Government.