Research shows that 1 in 4 (26%) Australians wished they had learned how to start a business in high school, according to global fintech Finder.
Whilst Australia ranked seventh out of 24 developed countries in regards to entrepreneurial activity according to the GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor), this does not translate to youth entrepreneurship activity, with only 7.6% of Australian youth having engaged in entrepreneurship. This is trailing behind leading countries, such as the Netherlands (11.2%), the USA (11.4%) and Canada (17.2%).
To address this, Generation Entrepreneur, in partnership with Finder, introduced School Entrepreneur of the Year (SEY), Australia’s first nationwide hackathon for high school students, with a mission to support high school students in learning more about entrepreneurship and how to start a startup. From identifying problems to conducting research on competitors and creating a customer persona, it allows students to step in the shoes of an entrepreneur and have the confidence to create a business.
SEY is a nationwide tournament with three rounds where students are inspired to develop their startup with the help of mentors from Finder and the team at Generation Entrepreneur.
Craig Peterson, Deputy President of the NSW Secondary Principals, stated that “There is no specific course in terms of entrepreneurial education”.
There are current gaps in the school curriculum that Peterson hopes to fill in and provide more career opportunities for students. This highlights missing aspects of the Australian education curriculum regarding entrepreneurship and startups. Around 43% of people are dissatisfied with the way the education system prepares students for the future, often leaving students unmotivated to pursue other opportunities. Providing entrepreneurial knowledge not only prepares students for the future by exposing them to different, fast-emerging career paths but also carves out initial steps to foster future innovators and go-getters.
Frank Restuccia, Founder of Finder, was thrilled to have Finder crew so heavily involved in SEY this year.
“Entrepreneurialism is such a key skill for young people and I’m so proud to have Finder supporting the School Entrepreneur of the Year program.”
“I was blown away by how quickly participating students came up with ideas and turned them into viable business solutions with the support of their mentors.”
Esmond Ye, CEO of Generation Entrepreneur, reflects on why this initiative has been so important for young people across Australia.
“We use entrepreneurship to communicate ideas, to improve lives, and empower. Behind these words are a group of young people driven by the same ideal, equipped with an innate sense of obligation to help others and determined enough to pursue a bold ideal – that all young people have the potential to challenge the status quo.
It’s the shared stories and resilience displayed throughout SEY 2021 that make us realise that our students are the young people that will take this generation forward.”
SEY aims to solve the missing piece by introducing entrepreneurship and startups to high school students while creating a learning environment for collaboration. In light of SEY’s first round, we saw inspiring students from across NSW, VIC and Western Australia giving it their all and solving worldwide issues.
This year, SEY’s top 3 winners were:
- 1st place: Deck – Year 10 students from Girraween High School,
- Idea: A decentralised app for both players to play and developers to develop tabletop games. Deck also features a virtual market place which uses Smart Contracts, NFTs, and the Ethereum Blockchain.
- 2nd place: PICMA – Year 8 students from Baulkham Hills High School
- Idea: A gamified learning platform that automates your academic workload into an engaging game, helping students make learning a habit
- 3rd Place: AV Futures – Year 11 students from Kambala School
- Idea: An app that provides real-time seating availability of restaurants, streamlining the dining experience for both customers and restaurant owners