The legacy of the covid pandemic, the rising costs of living and changing technologies all contribute to the evolving employment landscape and the way in which our young people will engage with it. Recent studies* have shown that these circumstances have influenced the way people under the age of 24 perceive their future, with as many as 77 percent of Gen Zs having a strong preference for entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is seen as a way to diversify income streams, to follow your passions and to have more control over your life. The covid pandemic adversely affected our young workers who bore the brunt of 55 percent of the job losses despite only making up 14 percent of the market. This had a significant impact and resulted in many changing their priorities. Gen Z now values passion and work/life balance over everything else, including financial reward, and much more so than previous generations.
Add into this equation the effects of changes to technology and the rise in AI and it’s easy to understand why young people want to have more control over their choices. In terms of traditional employment, many of the jobs our children will work in actually don’t exist yet. Then there are the opportunities that AI opens up for tech savvy innovators.
According to Peter F Drucker of the Harvard Business Review: “Innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship, … It is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth.”
In other words, you can’t really be an entrepreneur without embracing the need for creative thinking and innovation. So as the world continues to evolve, our young people will need to cultivate skills that will empower them to thrive in a landscape of constant change. Entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, along with flexibility and resilience are critical skills to develop for future success.
The Hunter Young Business Mind Awards (HYBMA) has been providing a showcase opportunity for children and young people under the age of 25 to develop entrepreneurial projects since 2017. Young people are encouraged to enter a business idea, design a new product or showcase a creative project for a chance to win $1000 of seed funding and recognition at an industry networking awards night. It’s not just about winning an award; it’s about taking a step closer to a future where their ideas can make a difference.
In 2018, Belmont Christian College year 11 students won two awards. The Business Studies teacher, Mr Ross Urane, recommends the awards to students and teachers at other schools and already has students who have entered this year.
“Anything that inspires our young people is great,” said Mr Urane. “These awards deliver the opportunity for innovative thinking and problem solving … something that will become critically important in their future. We already run a Shark Tank expo where students pitch their ideas, so entering the pitch into the awards is not difficult.”
There is also an opportunity to network with industry at the awards night.
“The awards night is more than just a ceremony; it’s an opportunity for students to connect with local professionals who have already made their mark,” said Tricia Martin, CEO of Nudge On, Digital Learning and Employment Solutions Consultancy and Chair of the HYBMA Sub Committee. “It’s a chance to network and seek advice, bridging the gap between classroom projects and real-world applications. Even the venue, the Q Building, adds an exciting dimension. As the entrepreneurial hub of Newcastle, it’s the perfect place to showcase projects and make connection with local industry leaders.”
HYBMA provides parents and teachers with the resources needed to encourage the young people in their lives to enter the awards, to have a go and see where their ideas can take them. Categories include Sustainability, Creative Industries, Design & Technology, Social Enterprise, and Business. To enter, students prepare a simple pitch deck and a two-minute video and submit through the website at www.ybma.com.au. Entries close on October 9 and the awards night will be held on November 15.
*The studies referred to: GoDaddy/Antenna 2023 Research; Frontline Recruitment Group January 2023; The Square Gen Z Survey by Wakefield Research April 2023