NEW CLASS OF EDUCATION NURTURES ENTREPRENEURS OF TOMORROW
5 December 2016, Written by Karen Rickert
THE rise in youth unemployment has affirmed the importance of entrepreneurship education, and south-east Queensland is fertile ground for the next generation of business leaders.
Bond University assistant professor of entrepreneurship Dr Baden U'Ren (pictured) says with youth unemployment at record levels, initiatives such as Bond's recent Demo Day, have never been more important.
"When shocks in economy occur, the youth are hit hard and you see a spike in unemployment," Dr U'Ren says.
"Typically, they bounce back to normal levels within 12 months, but that has not been the case with the Global Financial Crisis come 2008."
Speaking at Demo Day, which attracted 200 people to Bond's Basil Sellers Theatre, Dr U'Ren showed that one in five young people were out of work for more than six months and about one in 12 were unemployed for more than 12 months during 2008.
In 2016, those figures jumped to one in three being out of work for more than six months and one in five unemployed for longer than 12 months with 300,000 people between 15 and 24 years old actively searching for work.
Dr U'Ren says universities must change their mindset and consider which avenues are creating job opportunities for graduates.
He says despite large, established firms offering formal engagement for student employability, including careers fairs and recruitment programs, more roles are being made redundant rather than created through advances in technology.
"It's a significant challenge for those of us in the business of preparing people for employment," Dr U'Ren says.
"If we look into OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) figures of where job creation is, old firms are net job destroyers - the jobs lost in those industries outweigh the jobs that are created.
"Small young firms and also medium to large young firms are the net job creators. They are currently a smaller proportion of the employment base, but it's where new opportunities are being created."
Dr U'Ren says because these young firms are 'structurally different' they require unique skills that aren't typically delivered in a traditional degree.
He says research from Northeastern University in the US shows 97 per cent of corporates are looking for candidates with experiential learning. While 89 per cent want people to be skilled in entrepreneurship education, including opportunity recognition, new product development, innovation, creativity and commercialisation.
As an official event of Global Entrepreneurship Week, this year's Demo Day featured presentations from Club Kidpreneur, Startup Apprentice, Bond Business Accelerator, Gold Coast Startup Weekend, Beach City and River City Labs Accelerator powered by muru-D.
The latter was represented by 3D mapping technology SiteSee, which was co-founded by brothers and Bond Masters of Business Management students David and Lachlan Crane (pictured right).
"For Australia, innovative entrepreneurs are vital in raising productivity and growing a sustainable and competitive economy by creating opportunities for themselves and others," Lachlan Crane says.
"Australia must transition the economy from its reliance on natural resources to innovation, or we risk being left behind in the rapidly accelerating and global competitive digital economy.
"Business incubator and accelerator initiatives, like the Bond Business Accelerator program, are pivotal in educating and supporting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and events like Gold Coast Demo Day serve as an effective means to network and showcase entrepreneurship to the community."
SiteSee is preparing to present at a global tower owner conference in Singapore with 250 C-level executives, before scaling operations in 2017.