OUR world is rapidly changing. As connectivity improves, services that used to be provided by employees are now being contracted to freelancers. An ageing population is stressing an economy that desperately needs more business creation. We need to start thinking of entrepreneurship and self-employment as a mainstream option, and to do this we need to change the conversation from job seeking to job creation.
Research any high profile entrepreneur and you will most likely hear about how they ‘hated school’ and ‘dropped out of college.’ This was a common story when I interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs across rural Australia.
While far from academically minded, entrepreneurs are resourceful people who love solving a problem by looking for a solution. As well as an ability to look at things differently, they have a quiet self-belief and the confidence to persevere. And yes, they love to experiment and accept failure as part of their pathway to success.
So, when I hear an educator talk about a ‘disengaged student’ or a community member mentions a ‘dreamer’, it is music to my ears. These are the individuals who are most likely to be innovative and entrepreneurial. But who will recognise and support them?
Anyone who has a family member or close friend in business is over 30 percent more likely to go into business themselves. In the meantime there are countless students and the unemployed being channelled through a job seeking system. How can we inspire them to take control of their own destiny?
Any activity or program designed to encourage entrepreneurs and support business has to fulfil three essential criteria. To inspire people who want to lead, not follow, it has to be engaging, authentic and relevant.
Clearly, educators and employment consultants cannot achieve this on their own. It is absolutely essential to forge strong partnerships with the business sector and community leaders.
Let’s change the conversation together. Quite simply, our future depends on it.
Kerry Anderson is author of Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business and has developed a ‘Be Your Own Boss’ program for schools and communities to implement.