(Scroll down for photo gallery from the event).
Young women risk being left behind in the modern economy without access to education in entrepreneurial skills like problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork and digital literacy.
Recent data on workforce trends shows that while the gender pay gap is closing slowly, the proportion of women leading businesses has remained static at 17 per cent over the past six years. It comes at a time when more employers are also looking for workers with ‘enterprise skills’ to qualify for positions that pay higher salaries.
Developing these transferable ‘enterprise skills’ in today’s school-age girls is the focus of a new national program to be launched by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Parliament House today.
The Academy for Enterprising Girls - delivered through the Australian Government’s Future Female Entrepreneurs Program - is aimed at ensuring more young women harness future career opportunities by being able to develop enterprise and design thinking skills.
“We know enterprise skills will be critical in the future economy. More and more jobs are demanding enterprise skills, yet girls are being left behind,” said Academy for Enterprising Girls spokesperson Annie O’Rourke.
“Businesses founded by women are still underrepresented, and there are fewer female-led businesses starting, scaling and securing finance.
“By encouraging more girls to develop enterprise skills we not only give women greater economic security and a pathway into the future workforce, but support Australia’s economic growth as well.”
The Academy for Enterprising Girls will take over Parliament House today, with girls from schools around the Canberra region taking part in an Academy for Enterprising Girls workshop to pitch their entrepreneurial projects to policymakers and business leaders.
The program is funded by the Australian Government and backed by an industry alliance led by small business advocate COSBOA. It is supported by matched in-kind contributions of online subscriptions and expertise from private sector partners including tech giants Amazon Web Services, Canva, Google, and Cisco.
Jodi Phillips, Amazon Web Services Program Manager Educate, Australia and New Zealand, said supporting the Academy for Enterprising Girls will help to provide young Australians with skills needed to thrive in the future workforce.
“AWS is committed to tackling the ICT skills shortage and providing people across the country with education and training to help grow our economy. We are proud to be part of the Academy for Enterprising Girls, as it plays an important role in inspiring students with technology, and will help equip them with the knowledge and skills to build their vision for the future,” said Ms Phillips.
Working with entrepreneurship and STEM education experts such as Young Change Agents, Tech Girls Movement, Foundation for Young Australians, Code Like a Girl and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, the program aims to reach up to 50,000 girls across Australia. Female-led enterprises, Sustainable Salons and Seer Data & Analytics, will also contribute practical tools to girls to pursue their own social enterprises and harness the power of data for their communities.
COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said it was important for more young women to see female business leaders and be inspired by them.
“Through the Academy for Enterprising Girls, young women will get access to amazing advice, a free e-learning program and workshops that are designed to support them to confidently develop their entrepreneurial skills and mindset, and understand what it takes to start your own business.
“COSBOA is proud to lead this program because it’s really important for young women to get practical experience - to learn through doing - when it comes to starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur.”
The Academy for Enterprising Girls online platform is now live, with a new digital e-learning program and and in-person workshops across regional Australia to launch in 2020.
For more information visit: https://enterprisinggirls.com.au
Fleur Anderson, 0409 342890
Academy for Enterprising Girls 2020 Program
Digital e-Learning Platform: The Academy for Enterprising Girls will roll out a 15-part e-learning program from January 2020 that includes modules with videos, articles and fun interactive challenges. Girls can complete the online learning program at their own pace, or it can be done as a classroom activity. The program is open to all Australian girls aged 10-18 years old.
Workshops: A series of more than 90 in-person workshops will kick off in early 2020 across Australia to bring the Academy for Enterprising Girls to regional and metropolitan locations. Girls aged 10-18 years old will be encouraged to attend. More information about the workshop itinerary will be available on the Academy for Enterprising Girls website.
2020 Workshop Locations:
North Gold Coast
South Gold Coast
Upper Hunter Valley
Northern Rivers (Ballina/Byron)
Victoria and Western Australia locations to be announced shortly.
Data on workforce trends