When Victor and Alex, were in Year 11 at Baulkham Hills high school they came to a realisation that the school education system didn’t prepare them enough for real life. They saw many of their peers struggling to understand their path as they looked towards the future. They felt that most students in Baulkham Hills put so much focus in studying that they ignored the direction in life they want to take or the hidden passions they could have pursued.
So what could they do for them? They had a simple thought, that entrepreneurship was the way to go.
To be an entrepreneur is to be a go-getter, to embark on the dreams you have and find your passion in the process. They started an entrepreneur club in high school, trying to get classmates involved, but retention rates were low and his peers didn’t like to be lectured since it would be no different from class.
Deciding to do something more hands-on they created an event based on a weekend of startup simulation. It fused education with the experience of being a real entrepreneur.
They did everything to try and get people to come to an event that had been unheard of. Victor personally remembers messaging over hundreds of his friends constantly but only 25 showed up. Victor was fazed and hoped for a better turnout after the effort he went through. As he glanced across the room, anxiously looking at the students he kept thinking to himself, “Is this going to work?” “Have I done enough?”.
But as the event went on he slowly began to see something very special. What were 25 students sitting quietly sounded more like more like a hundred. There was an endless amount of raw energy and passion that flowed through the room that swept Victor away. It was at this very moment Victor realised that seemingly the so-called impossible pursuit of ‘ideas and passions’ were in fact possible.
Inspired, Victor kept going and never looked back. What were 25 people soon became 65 at their next event and soon after 120. What began as a simple entrepreneurial club has bloomed into a massive program across Sydney schools, allowing high school students to find their paths and bolster their entrepreneurial skills.
From that day, the team at Generation Entrepreneur has achieved immensely throughout their journey, empowering the youth of Australia through their fully-fledged Initiate 48 and Schools program along with receiving the full support from NSW Department of Education. Their new iEntrepreneur incubator program was an unprecedented success, opening a new frontier of innovation for the next generation with much diversity, bridging them to the start-up world.
The drive to do something at a young age, the push to pursuing your dreams was the basis for Generation Entrepreneurs’ beginning. So how can we help students find their passions? How can young students be more inspired to walk their own path? ECX magazine wanted to find that out and had a great conversation with Sunny and Kevin from the Generation Entrepreneurship delegation.
For our generation, firstly do you think it’s too early for these kids to startup?
Sunny: I think the hard part is getting to the mindset. Once they get into the mindset, you overcome a barrier and you know what you have to do. It takes a while and it varies for different people but once they get into it, they get so excited, so pumped up, and they kind of lose themselves in the process because they are so focused on working on their start-up.
Kevin: Once I saw an initiate who was very shy in the beginning, didn’t really know what to do, looked like he had no ideas, no interest and just sat there silently. Hours later he was like a different person, his face was full of enthusiasm, so full of energy, so ready for new ideas and challenges. That’s the kind of untapped potential young students tend to hide.
When you guys oversee these students, what kind of ideas are they coming up with?
K: We have seen so many different ideas in our generation for startups. The thing is the ideas are endless. I have to say however that there is a lot of ideas trending towards helping people in an alternative and cost-efficient way.
S: What we’ve been seeing recently is that it’s very interesting to see different types of ideas that come through. Like small ones that help students understand the HSC Syllabus, helping students find work, solving canteen lines to big things like a tech company, banking and disrupting sectors by providing an alternative
So they want to solve a problem?
S: Yes completely! A lot of things about being an entrepreneur is finding what is wrong in the world, or what’s missing, and what you can do to improve it.
K: The next generation doesn’t just want to just Start-Up for money by doing the classic tech, or fintech. Through what we’ve seen in countless Initiate 48 sessions, the students have so many different ideas for solving problems in the world.
S: The thing is you see a lot of people facing these problems, people out there might face a
problem and we could probably just think that’s a fleeting thought and not do
anything about it while someone is actually trying to solve that specific
K: I think it’s a lot to do with programs that help them learn about the enterprise to change their mindset thinking about starting up and the process. It’s really about knowledge and education and if you are equipped with this at a young age then it’s going to make it so much easier.
S: Support is a big thing, along with the concept of being open to feedback. Customer validation is very important. If you don’t solve the problem that’s needed then what’s the point. But it’s always a tough process. You’ll be getting plenty of rejection and that has to be expected.
That’s when your support network comes to help. Don’t underestimate the effect family, friends and peers have when they support you on your journey?
After your experiences with so many start-ups, any final advice?
S: Young students out there who want to start up should know that failure is not something to be scared of, but something that you need to grow. You have to be comfortable with failure in order to try different things. This is a key part of the journey process and it’s important for the young people out there to know that.
So how do we do that?
K: It’s definitely a mentality thing. You need to be able to bounce back from the setbacks using that as a major step in moving forward. Patience is the key, so don’t go rushing into it and trying to build the next Facebook. It’s going to take time and grind so in the process you might get disillusioned with what you are doing.
To counter that, try and accumulate all the setbacks and failures and treat it as a stepping stone. Each lesson should be a positive instead of a set back towards failure so that you are indeed moving towards your goal and haven’t wasted time.
For the coming 2019, Generation Entrepreneur have some very big and exciting programs planned. This includes an all new developed start-up boot camp, more interesting community engagements such as start-up pitching events, along with more school and incubator programs.
Exciting times are ahead for Generation Entrepreneur so be sure to keep up with them on https://generationentrepreneur.com.au/ or follow their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/generationentrepreneur/
Be sure to keep an innovative and curious mindset and don’t hesitate to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to attend, help or be a part of their programs.
Journo for ECX Magazine