JobHack is a free online entrepreneurship course. Participants learn the practical skills of entrepreneurship through 5 online challenges so they are empowered to create their own jobs. Each challenge takes no more than an hour to complete and builds an applicable skill in areas such as validation, design, marketing, digital, pitching and so on.

 

Let me tell you why we’ve started this initiative. For the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve been frustratingly aware of a problem that exists in the entrepreneurship education paradigm for young Australians. Particularly in the space of learning how to start a business and create jobs.

 

I’m most passionate about entrepreneurship education initiatives that can achieve true scale and democratise access for a large percentage of the young population. Back in 2014, I was lucky enough to be involved in the pilot creation of $20 Boss, an initiative created by the Foundation for Young Australians in partnership with NAB. Due to it’s forward-thinking program design; $20 Boss has already been delivered to more than 6000 high school students in 2015 and is on track for 10,000 in 2016. In two years it’s scaled to more than 11% of Australian high schools – an incredible feat.  Great things are happening in high schools, but older ‘young Australians’ are missing out. Specifically people aged 18 to 30.

There are more and more incredible programs and pathways for young people under 30 to learn entrepreneurship. But almost all of them are limited in reach by the heavy cost of program delivery. Less than 1% of Australians under 30 currently get to experience entrepreneurship education.

 

The rhetoric of our government has been to start investing in the ideas boom now that the resources boom is nearing its demise. Young people’s energy & ideas are going to be the source of this new ‘boom’. And yet, we’re not arming them with the practical skills of entrepreneurship to take advantage of the unlimited commercial innovations that are coming down the pipeline. The government’s most successful entrepreneurship initiative for young people is undoubtedly the NEIS program (New Enterprise Initiative Scheme). The latest funding announcements for this program mean that an estimated extra 2300 people will get to participate each year. $88 million dollars allocated and 2300 more people enrolled, it’s not great ROI, and the reach is too low to truly prepare for the coming disruption in job markets.

 

I’ve been the lucky recipient of some of the scarce entrepreneurship learning opportunities in Australia that are available. Last year I went through one of Australia’s top startup accelerator programs, AngelCube. From 200 applicants I was one of 6 lucky founders to get $40,000 in startup capital and entry into an intense 3-month accelerator program which forced me to learn how to build a startup quickly.

 

But 194 other founding teams got turned away and didn’t get the educational life experience that I did.

 

Other accelerator programs across Australia are booming. But they are all limited to just a handful of participants every year. In more formal education pathways it’s not much better. More and more universities are offering entrepreneurship courses that can take a small cohort each year and cost tens of thousands of dollars in fees to be paid back later in life.

 

In the end, the people who get to go through these accelerators and courses are the most educated, best networked, highly ambitious, demographically advantaged people.

 

Private education companies have tried to fill the gap as well but usually, cost just as much and sometimes more. A reliance on private education means the majority of young people are getting left behind. People that can’t afford an expensive education, people that don’t have time for an intensive program, people that live further away from city centres and simply don’t have access to these programs.

 

And while it might seem I’m against these pathways, I’m definitely not. They’ve done wonders for helping to train more people with the entrepreneurship skills required to create the next generation of Australian innovators and job creators. I applaud and encourage the efforts of each organisation and individual who has created and grown these respective programs.

 

But, we need something more. We need something for everyone that isn’t rich enough, aware enough, lucky enough or savvy enough to get into these programs and courses. Quite simply, we need to democratise access to entrepreneurship education.

 

That’s why we’ve started JobHack.org.

 

More than 500 people have registered for JobHack 2016 so far, which shows great promise and demand for the model.

 

 

If you work in a government, corporate or media organisation – we’d love to talk about partnering up to promote JobHack as a learning opportunity to more young people.

 

If you have access to an audience of people under 30 years of age, we welcome you to share the opportunity with them. Contact us for marketing collateral – our team can be reached via hello@jobhack.org
April 2017 Update:  Since this post we’ve had over 5000 people sign up for JobHack from over 160 countries around the world. We’re currently seeing more than 100 new students sign up each day.

 

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