Learning entrepreneurship at uni

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// In a post/current COVID world, technology and jobs are rapidly evolving. What impact has this had on budding entrepreneurs?

In a disruptive world, as the norms of doing business change, more and more young people are turning to entrepreneurship.

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 8 in 10 students in grades 5 through 12, say they want to be their own boss. Another study by Millennial Branding showed that 72 percent of high school students and 64 percent of uni/college students are eager to start their own business.

Even before COVID, technology and economics were changing rapidly. Now, they seem to have accelerated faster, making the future far less certain for uni grads and others. It makes sense that these young people want to take back control of their lives.

By one popular estimate, cited in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report for 2016, as many as 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

Entrepreneurs…

The Oxford dictionary defines an entrepreneur as ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.’

An entrepreneur is someone who self-actuates, who turns a vision into a reality, a passion into a business or a social cause into a functioning organisation.

By its very nature this is difficult to teach in a traditional educational setting. Some universities may offer entrepreneurship majors, but much of the knowledge they impart is from the textbook. Entrepreneurship relies on practical skills as much as theoretical ones.

So what are young Western Australian’s to do, in order to get the preparation they need for this brave new world, and how can educational institutions and businesses get involved to assist and even educate themselves on how to do better?

Blooming

Taking up the very essence of the entrepreneurial spirit, one enterprising group of young people are doing it for themselves at UWA affiliated student ‘incubator’ Bloom Labs, launching the Social Enterprise Takeoff program.

Over five weeks, a group of 25 young people, across 10 social enterprises, were given the opportunity to level up their organisations through an intensive educational program

Bloom Team with Humm CEO Ian McIntyre, 2nd of left (Source Supplied)

One of these enterprises was Hello Initiative, which reduces youth recidivism by working with youth social workers to provide donated second hand mobile phones to juvenile offenders so they can engage more effectively with youth support services.

Other social enterprises included:

Unearthed – Giving homeless people the chance to derive independence and respect from the sale of their art on printed t-shirts

Sensed – Connecting schools textile students with dementia patients who require hand-made sensory blankets

Empower2Free – Helping educate the next generation with critical money management skills

Funded mainly by a $20,000 grant from UWA’s Alumni, the program is the first of its kind in Western Australian, with the judging panel consisting of three successful young entrepreneurs in their own right.

“$20,000 from UWA was a huge help in creating the opportunity to run this program and demonstrate its effectiveness”, said Program Facilitator Jasmin Ward.

“But this is just the start, and our vision is to massively increase this program and make an even more sustainable and BIG impact.”

Jasmin Ward, Bloom.
Program Facilitator Jasmin Ward with Humm CEO Ian McIntyre (Source Supplied)

Drawing from Bloom’s own alumni and community networks, the program was able to call on some of the incredible, young, successful entrepreneurs to share their learning and secrets to success with our participants.

This program is just the latest addition in a long list of initiatives run by Bloom that are engaging young people from around the state to become successful change makers.

Another Bloom initiative is Launchpad, the State’s first practical university entrepreneurship course, where participants receive credit towards their degree for starting and building their own businesses.

It’s a model that’s common in some of the world’s most innovative ecosystems, with university student run Venture Capital funds, startups, incubators and accelerators a common fixture in the United States.

Bloom is striving to further develop early starters in the world of youth innovation, and had support of many organisations, including UWA, St Catherine’s College, RAC, Woodside, and WA Department of Jobs and Industry.

This is one of the many ways WA entrepreneurs can learn and get experience. There are now a growing number of avenues to go down. You just have to think outside the box like an entrepreneur.

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Main image source: McGraw-Hill Professional Business Blog