News & Analysis

Australian edutech startup JobHack creates annual entrepreneurship challenge to tackle youth unemployment

- August 15, 2016 3 MIN READ

We constantly hear of the success stories of startups that enter accelerator programs, get funded and go on to world domination. But what about the startups that don’t make the list, those whose ideas were just at the cut-off? What about the people who need that little extra push to get going?

For many young entrepreneurs, entering into an accelerator program is the first real attempt of starting their business, as without help and mentorship initial ideas may never get off the ground.

With the government pushing for an ideas boom, education in entrepreneurship needs to start early. Edutech programs are on the rise to teach the latest skills on coding, how to run a business and now how to create your own job.

The latest free challenge for young entrepreneurs is an initiative called JobHack. The edutech startup is a non-for-profit organisation that looks to tackle global youth unemployment by teaching practical skills of entrepreneurship.

According to JobHack, less than one percent of Australians under 30 get to experience entrepreneurship education. With the unemployment rate in Australia increasing by an average of 13 percent since the 1970s it is important than ever that there are more initiatives like JobHack. It is important that people not only receive help in finding employment, but are also given the tools to create their own jobs.

JobHack is targeted towards 18 to 30 year olds and is available for budding entrepreneurs to take the challenge in Australia, Malawi and the UK. So far more than 500 people have registered for the first JobHack event, and for those countries not yet competing, a ‘request your country’ is available to help make the event accessible all over the world.

Participants of JobHack take part in seven online challenges, each taking less than an hour to complete. The challenges help people to build skills sets in areas like validation, design, marketing, digital, pitching, and so on.

The challenge will take place during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in November. GEW is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch startups and create new products and services. During November GEW looks to inspire all startup activities from large scale competitions to small scale challenges like JobHack. The week is all about introducing people to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

Founder of JobHack Nathan Murphy wrote in a blog post about the challenge that the idea for the event came out of frustration in the industry.

For the last two or three 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,” said Murphy.

In accelerator and incubator programs and even hackathon events only a select number of entrepreneurs get the chance to build on their ideas. While these events provide entrepreneurs with crucial funding and unique industry insights, they are still exclusive. Murphy believes there is a gap in the education system for entrepreneurs. Those who need to upskill can potentially spend tens of thousands of dollars at university, which each year still only takes a small cohort.

“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,” said Murphy.

With free online courses, Murphy aims to empower one million young people across Australia with the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs. With the seven challenges being short and sweet, JobHack is more of an introduction to the world of entrepreneurship than a complete course. It is a way to spark people’s interest in starting their own careers and take away the fear factor of creating something new.

For more intensive edutech programs Australian startups like Academy Xi, Austern International and 3P Learning offer paid courses in entrepreneurship, real world experiences and tech skills.

There are gaps to be filled everywhere from education in schools, universities and post careers. To gain some insight and understanding into new skill sets without taking out a loan, initiatives like JobHack provide people a way to test the waters and start reinventing their careers.

“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,” said Murphy.

JobHack is currently looking for government and corporate partners to help promote the organisation as a learning opportunity for more young Australians.

“I’m most passionate about entrepreneurship education initiatives that can achieve true scale and democratise access for a large percentage of the young population,” said Murphy.

Image: JobHack. Source: JobHack.org.