Recognising the need to encourage women in business, the Academy of Enterprising Girls was launched in December 2019. No one could have foreseen what lay ahead. Like most ambitious enterprises, major challenges beset the fledgling initiative when Covid-19 emerged just two months later. Over 50 workshops had to be postponed or cancelled.
As a public/private partnership between 89 Degrees East Strategic Communications, (89DE) the Commonwealth Government and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, (COSBOA) there was considerable adaptability at hand.
Enterprising by name and nature, the Academy under the dynamic stewardship of 89DE has pivoted online in a matter of weeks to continue encouraging, motivating and inspiring enterprising girls.
89DE Communications Consultant Miriam Rizvi said the program already had a strong online presence, so the challenge was then to re-imagine how the program would work as a full online offering.
The Academy of Enterprising Girls (AEG) addresses challenges faced by women, specifically that
· Only 22% of business founders are women;
· In Australia, women make up just 17% of the workforce in careers related to STEM;
· Women still only make up less than 15% of enrolments in engineering bachelor degrees in Australia, and;
· Less than one in five senior researchers in Australian universities and research institutes are women.
Initially workshops around Australia were scheduled to cultivate design thinking and business and technology skills among young women. With partners like Amazon Web Services, Young Change Agents, Tech Girls Movement, Foundation for Young Australians, Canva, Google classroom, Seer Data, Cisco, Rebel Girls, Sustainable Salons, Questacon and Code Like a Girl, AEG had all the right connections to get enterprising.
Recognising girls needed to see real examples of successful enterprising women, the adapted program of 10 eLearning modules features interviews with successful women founders as well as digging into what it takes to be enterprising, innovative and start a business.
89DE had to change its communications strategy rapidly. “We needed to make sure educators, who are now looking for great online material, knew we existed, and we have this fantastic resource up and ready to go. It’s especially relevant now as girls are at home looking for interesting challenges,” said Miriam.
Like many businesses, the AEG is finding the dedication to online is resulting in a higher uptake as the program is available to more people. An enterprising outcome!
Visit the Academy here