Girls entrepreneurship - developing the mindset, skillset and toolset for success



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Margaret O'Brien

07 Mar 2019

Young Change Agents recently engaged 1,345 female students to foster their interest in entrepreneurship, develop their innovation and entrepreneurial skills, and build their professional networks. The programs, funded through the Australian Government's Women in STEM Entrepreneurship (WISE) grant, were held across Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory and saw the development of over 400 social enterprise ideas. 

All teams that participated in the 2.5 day program completed their business model in a social lean canvas format and pitched their idea to a panel of judges. Following this, 30 teams were selected to work on their ideas at 5 different YINC (Youth Incubator) programs. The feedback from student’s was overwhelming positive with 95% saying that would recommend the program to others.

I've learned that if you fail once, don't let that stop you , learn from your mistakes - Student participant - Yeronga High School, QLD

Your age doesn't matter if you want to make a change - Student participant - Cairns, QLD

I learned that young people can make big changes - Student participant - Killara HS, NSW

I have learnt the whole process of trying, failing and succeeding and knowing all the risks and aspects of creating a pitch. - Student participant - Hurlstone Agricultural College, NSW

I learned you can use the tools you have to make a difference - Student participant - Marrara Christian College, NT

(I learnt) how time is just a number, we made a prototype in like 2 days - Student participant - Darwin HS, NT

The programs engaged over 150 teachers and 300 volunteers (of which 177 female), equating to approximately $90,000 of in-kind support. Similarly to the participants response, the feedback from teachers and volunteers was highly positive.

It has definitely been a worthwhile event and the start of an exciting journey. I thank you for your passion and dedication in bringing your program to change agents across and beyond Australia and would highly recommend your program to any interested parties. - Sanija Hrncic Teacher - Kiera High School, Wollongong, NSW

The Young Change Agents is an incredible program. It changed the way I teach, and view education. It even changed the attitudes of some students towards education. The online modules (for teachers) were easy to follow and a great learning tool. The support from Kayleigh and Margaret was above and beyond, and the learning environments that they helped to create during these workshops were sensational. I wish it were a mandatory program for every student either during their middle school education, or before. The spark it creates in the students, and the self esteem and confidence it builds, is invaluable. - Campbell McDonald - Teacher Palmerston College, Darwin, NT

I learnt how much the students were able to work independently on passion projects. it really highlights the fact that teachers generally do too much for students; the kids already have the ability to self teach, they just need facilitators. - Daena Scheuber - Teacher Emmaus College, Rockhampton, QLD

An independent evaluation of the program, undertaken by Spark Strategy, reported that the Young Change Agents program was been able to increase participation of girls and women in parts of the innovation ecosystem as a result of its ability to establish relationships with key start-up hubs and industry professionals. They also noted that the program’s reach, robust participant receptivity, positive user feedback, and deep sector engagement was particularly worthy of praise. 

"Young Change Agents' programs represent a distinct and impactful vehicle through which to foster female interest in entrepreneurship, develop innovation and entrepreneurial skills, and build professional networks. In our view, Young Change Agents have achieved the WISE grant core objective of increasing awareness and participation of girls and women in entrepreneurship education. Based on this evaluation, we can say with certainty that with additional funding to scale the pilot, the partnership could be a major contributor to eliminating barriers for women’s participation in STEM education and careers, especially entrepreneurship.” - Spark Strategy

The Federal Government recently validated the importance of programs like Young Change Agents having announced $3.7m in funding for girl’s entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship