Following on from our post about the School Entrepreneur of the Year competition (registrations close on 16 July so hurry if you’d like to sign up), we took the opportunity to ask Generation Entrepreneur some questions. We wanted to talk about Entrepreneurship in more detail and get some pointers on how a budding Entrepreneur could get a project off the ground.
Ronaldo Keng, one of the Gen Entrepreneur team was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
If you’re not sure what Entrepreneurship is all about, or if you have tonnes of great ideas but aren’t sure how to go about turning them into a solution or business, why not sit back and have a read of this interview.
SWG: What is Entrepreneurship?
Ronaldo: Entrepreneurship is positively impacting the world by solving problems you truly care about.
SWG: Why are change makers important?
Ronaldo: As our world changes rapidly, new challenges such as climate change and a growing population arise constantly. We need remarkable people to lead us to change the status quo and embrace these challenges. Those remarkable people? Well, they are called entrepreneurs.
SWG: Are entrepreneurs just founders of multi-billion dollar tech companies, or do entrepreneurs exist in everyday life?
Ronaldo: Entrepreneurs exist in all walks of life. Lemonade stands, pizza shops and street side cafes are all products of entrepreneurship.
Some start-ups focus on positive societal impact rather than profit, Generation Entrepreneur is one such example.
SWG: Why is it important for students to learn entrepreneurial skills at school?
Ronaldo: Entrepreneurial skills are often labelled as ‘21st century skills’ that are essential to our future workers however learning these skills at a high school level are extremely important. High school is the perfect time to experiment, fail and learn by utilising skills in the entrepreneurship space.
Skills including problem solving, design thinking and building problem based solutions are very beneficial in school projects as they provide a more real life experience within academia.
SWG: What are the core skills that you’ll need to become a successful entrepreneur?
Ronaldo: Anyone can become a successful entrepreneur with a growth mindset and resilience. Read any business biography and you’ll find that entrepreneurs persevere through great challenges before becoming “successful”. Learn to fail fast and learn fast, and never give up.
SWG: Can entrepreneurial skills help people to thrive in their careers even if they don’t want to be an entrepreneur – are the skills transferable?
Ronaldo: Entrepreneurial skills are some of the most adaptable skills a high school student can learn. These skills can be used in all career paths and even one’s day to day life.
The skills to problem solve, think critically and strategically and then communicate your ideas is something that humans need to use every day. Learning these entrepreneurial skills provide us with the ability to do things efficiently and deliberately.
SWG: For students interested in beginning their entrepreneurial journey, what advice would you give?
Ronaldo: Transform your passion into a personal project.
- Love painting? Build a website to showcase your best work.
- Love exercising? Host a training club and motivate each other.
- Love politics? Write a blog and share your viewpoints online.
Your first attempt will probably have lots of room to improve, but your only regret will be not starting earlier.
SWG: Could you name three things high school students could do right now to help them on their way to becoming an entrepreneur?
Three things that aspiring entrepreneurs could do right now are:
- Find a problem you’re truly passionate about
- Go out there and network with people who are also passionate, and then put your ideas into action.
- Test things out, try to have a go at the problem and if you fail, learn from it. The more you fail, the closer your final product will be to perfection.
SWG: Once you have an idea, what’s your top tip to move it forward?
Ronaldo: One way to make yourself accountable for action is to publicise your idea! Share it on Instagram and tell your friends about how great it is! Naturally, you will put your idea into action, rather than get “embarrassed” about doing nothing about your great idea.
SWG: What are the biggest highlights and challenges of entrepreneurship?
Ronaldo: Entrepreneurs are truly the “master of their own fate”. The feeling of creating your own business, working with people you love and making a positive change in the world is simply extraordinary. You have complete control over your time, energy and commitments. You will also be working on something you truly care about.
Of course, entrepreneurs go through the ups and downs. Most businesses fail within the first year, and entrepreneurs must learn to cope with failure, learn aggressively and adapt to a growth mindset.
SWG: How could students benefit from taking part in Generation Entrepreneur programs, workshops and competitions?
Ronaldo: Students get access to practical education around business building and entrepreneurship as well as industry mentoring. This allows students to learn by doing and through this, students also walk away with the confidence of knowing their potential. Every student walks away with a well thought out business plan which has been reviewed by industry professionals.
SWG: So Ronaldo, do you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur?
Ronaldo: Definitely, and this applies to everyone at Generation Entrepreneur. As an entrepreneurial team, each of us has the freedom and resources to communicate our ideas and enact changes for the better.
In our lives outside of Generation Entrepreneur, we lead our lives with the same set of entrepreneurial skills. This often translates into successful businesses and careers fulfilled in a meaningful way.
SWG: Could you tell us a bit about your pathway into your current role?
Ronaldo: As a student, I felt that schools didn’t teach us any real skills that were useful beyond the classroom. In Year 10, I came across Generation Entrepreneur and attended Initiate 48 – a weekend startup hackathon for high school students. I learned essential business skills but more importantly, I felt surrounded by ambitious young people who were ready to change the status quo.
I felt the urge to improve students’ scope for the future and its infinite possibilities. I started a few ventures surrounding this idea, represented Australian youth entrepreneurship internationally, and eventually returned to join the Generation Entrepreneur team and answer my calling – to empower high school students through entrepreneurship.
I believe programs such as Initiate 48 and our upcoming national tournament, School Entrepreneur of the Year, can truly change young people’s lives as it changed mine. Today, as a Co-op scholarship recipient and first year representative at UNSW, I urge you and/or your students to take the first step in a transformative education – explore entrepreneurship, whether through Generation Entrepreneur’s national programs or other avenues in your community.
Who are Generation Entrepreneur?
Generation Entrepreneur is a Non-for-profit instilling an entrepreneurial spirit within the future generation of young Australians. For the past 6 years, we have delivered entrepreneurial programs in partnership with industry and schools across NSW, empowering students to become social entrepreneurs, impacting over thousands of students and over 100 schools in 6 cities.
As a young organisation, we have been featured in the likes of Forbes and TED Talks, and sat alongside leading thinkers from the likes of NASA. We see entrepreneurship as a key vehicle for change, and an opportunity for students to live a life filled with passion, solving issues in their communities and making a positive impact on their world.
We run different programs such as Startup101, Initiate48 and for the first time ever, School Entrepreneur of the Year, a national entrepreneurship tournament in collaboration with Finder to find Australia’s most promising young entrepreneur. We tailor our program to the needs of individual schools and students, and aim to unlock their full potential.
Generation Entrepreneur is on a mission to spread entrepreneurship across Australia. We have a heart for inspiring young high school students, and we are passionate about empowering them to change the world.
Listen to our story of the past 6 years and our vision for the next 5 years to come.
What starts here, changes the world.