We welcome the announcement today by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer to support young women from across Australia to develop the skills and mindset required to thrive in the new world of work.
“The new Future Female Entrepreneurs Program will help women as young as 12 develop their business skills and knowledge so they can be bold, brave, and even disruptive when it comes to their working future,” COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said.
“It’s great to see to the Morrison government recognising the urgent need to build an entrepreneurial spirit in the young girls of today to ensure our small businesses thrive into the future.”
We see this program as being one of the critical measures to address the imbalance we currently see:
Small businesses contribute billions of dollars to the Australian economy and employ 4.8 million Australians yet in Australian small businesses, women do almost half of all the work but men are twice as likely to own the business. In larger businesses, women make up just 17% of CEOs while men make up 83%.
Key skills for future entrepreneurs include STEM knowledge and expertise yet the current gender distribution of people with STEM qualifications in Australia is highly skewed, with men making up 84 per cent of the total.
“This needs to change and change right now if we are to ensure all Australians are ready, willing and able to create opportunities for themselves. Young women from a very early age need to be encouraged to see themselves and the world differently in order to build an entrepreneurial spirit in the way we work, the way we think and what we do."
The Future Female Entrepreneurs programme, led by COSBOA and a number of corporate and community partners, will provide a platform to promote the many initiatives that are available - whether they be Federal, State, Corporate or Community as well as plug the gaps in the pipeline.
“There are many organisations who are already shifting this mindset, particularly for girls in the later years of high school and early in their careers, but currently there is a gap of support to get the journey started,” Mr Strong said.
“We need to build the pipeline much earlier because our entrepreneurs of 2025 are today’s 12 year-old girls who need to be encouraged that anything is possible with the right skills, attitude and support.”