The current education system is failing to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, according the most recent monthly MYOB Snapshot Survey. A staggering 58 percent of the businesses surveyed said the education system isn’t providing students with the skill sets that they need to be entrepreneurial and innovative for the future.

“There is much more we can do support innovation across the country,” says MYOB CTO, Simon Raik-Allen. “The results show that if we are going to foster innovation and entrepreneurialism, it needs to start with the education system. We need to start developing these skills early, so we can tap into the creative potential of the next generation of business leaders.”

The survey quizzed 400 MYOB customers around the topic of education and its connection to the current success of Australian small businesses.

One of the areas the report looked at was the opinions of business owners on university degrees. The majority of people, in fact 78 percent of respondents, said that you do not need a university degree in order to run a small business. Having said that, 76 percent of respondents disagreed that running a business is a ‘simple’ task.

Raik-Allen suggests that business owners are learning on the job and that entrepreneurship and innovation can be fast-tracked within Australia if we start teaching more of the skills needed in this field in institutions like schools, TAFE, private colleges, and of course, universities. Approximately 43 percent of business owners in the survey told MYOB that when it came to running a startup or small business in particular, their own education did not equip them with the skills they need to do their job.

Education that teaches children to be entrepreneurial and innovative also needs to make sure it has an emphasis on creating small businesses that think globally. Because that is also an important part of the future of work and business.

This is where technology can help. Teachers can use education technologies like Literatu to develop creative and entrepreneurial activities that encourage students to create authentic works. By giving students a degree of creative autonomy, they become active recipients in the learning process.

Today, students can use inexpensive or free technologies to create and share works that are meaningful to themselves and their fellow classmates. By creating content or engaging in self-driven projects and finding an audience for that content or project, students are more likely to derive a strong sense of purpose and enjoyment in learning. Students are also able to apply disciplined thinking and reasoning, as taught by the teacher, into creative or entrepreneurial projects.

Secondly, technology should be used to personalise education – that is, tailoring pedagogy, curriculum, and learning environment to meet the needs and aspirations of individual students. Personalisation is important when you acknowledge the diversity of students in a classroom or particular learning environment.

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t take into account the fact that students have different cultural backgrounds, learning habits, interests and talents. Through Big Data and Learning Analytics, teachers will be able to recognise, compare and contrast learning and thinking styles among students and adjust their lesson plans where needed.

Through the use of technology, teachers and students alike can create a personalised educational ecosystem that supports everybody’s needs and talents.

“This future focus on entrepreneurship is crucial to Australia’s economic success,” says Raik-Allen. “Roughly more than 40 percent of SMEs are at risk of failing in the first few years due to poor business management. We need to future-proof our students and ensure they have the skills and confidence they need to not only start their own business, but flourish earlier on in their career.”

Cartoon custom for Startup Daily | Illustrator: Ghada Sleiman

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