A Queensland school has launched a scholarship which aims to develop students’ entrepreneurial aspirations while they’re at school.
Silkwood School’s Young Entrepreneur Scholarship will offer students a real-world learning network of expert mentors who can work with young people on their passions and interests and develop their entrepreneurial thinking.
Across Australia, many schools are rethinking the way they are preparing students for the future workplace, 40% of which is expected to become automated within the next 10-15 years.
For some schools, helping students understand their potential as entrepreneurs is seen as key to the ‘future-proofing’ process. Fortunately, some studies suggest that entrepreneurial thinking is already strong among many students.
A US study surveyed 4,769 students – including 172 high school students and 4,597 college students – and discovered that 72% of high school students and 64% of college students intend on starting a business someday.
In addition, 61% of high school students and 43% of college students would rather be an entrepreneur instead of an employee when they graduate college.
Widespread entrepreneurship education can help them hone those skills even further and start creating innovation in long dormant sectors of the market.
“One of our values [at Silkwood School] is ‘thinking entrepreneurial’,” Silkwood founder & CEO, Valerie Campbell-Hogg, said.
“It’s about thinking outside the square, seeking solutions that exist outside the norm and having the confidence to have a go. We are passionate about people being able to see the possibilities in their lives and having the courage to write this into a vision for their future.”
One of the mentors involved in the program is Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Jack Corbett who in in 2006 launched his first business at age 14.
Today, Corbett is the co-founder of ISR Training, where he focuses on changing the perception of sales around the globe.
On 27 April, Corbett took 14 Silkwood Students under his wing to personally guide them through his award-winning SWISH bootcamp.
“When Jack first came to Silkwood, he passionately shared his story and gave us a real insight into his visions for his future and how he got where he is today, We can’t wait for Jack’s training,” Year 11 student, Joella Ekert, said.
Instilling entrepreneurial thinking in students is a growing focus for many schools across Australia.
In March, an architecture firm partnered with a NSW school to build a first-of-its-kind learning centre aimed at teaching students skills such as public speaking, entrepreneurial thinking, collaboration, critical thinking and investment management.
Architecture firm Fuse is working with Kingdom Culture Christian School (KCCS) to develop the revolutionary ‘entrepreneur school’, which is set to be completed in the second half of 2020.
“Thanks to a curriculum and school building that truly helps students understand how the real-world works, who knows, maybe the next Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos will be a graduate of Kingdom Culture Christian School,” KCCS founder, Ben Irawan, said.
One young entrepreneur success story made headlines in 2016 when Caulfield Grammar School student, Morgan Hipworth, launched his own business – an endeavour he impressively managed alongside his VCE studies.
The idea was spawned from his hobby of making cakes for family and friends, but has now grown into a thriving doughnut shop – Bistro Morgan – located in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Prahran.
“My school has really supported me in my journey with Bistro Morgan, from general ‘how is everything going?’ passing in the yard to chatting more in depth with teachers,” Hipworth told The Educator.
“I think it has been really great the support given, especially as it can get very busy juggling the two - so that little bit of support can go a long way.”