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Young entrepreneurs visit Enterprise Lab to begin their startup journey


Sharlene King
4 June 2018

Proving age is no barrier when it comes to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit, a group of primary school students has just returned from a two-day startup camp at the Enterprise Lab where they got to map their business ideas.

The Enterprise Lab at Southern Cross University hosted the 150 young entrepreneurs from Alstonville Public School as part of the Alstonville PS Young Innovators project.

Over two days, the students were immersed in a real startup environment and learnt all about what it means to be an entrepreneur, how to map and validate their business ideas, and how to build skills in creative thinking and collaboration.

The visit formed part of the Year 5 & 6 students’ studies into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) where teams of students develop a small business that will be taken to a market day.

The program reinforced the Enterprise Lab’s vision of building the entrepreneurial capacity of the Northern Rivers region, and during their time in the Enterprise Lab, the students used design-thinking models and canvasses to map the life cycle of their business, clarify cost structures, validate their ideas, and finally pitch to their class mates. 

Kirstin Beck, Deputy Principal of Alstonville Public School, said: “We are focusing on building students' entrepreneurship skills in this learning as we believe that we need to teach our students to not only be problem solvers but problem finders who are able to produce solutions.”

Alstonville Public School is a NSW Department of Education STEM Action School, mentoring more than 20 schools from around the state in effective STEM learning. Through a project-based learning model, the business savvy young entrepreneurs have taken responsibility for their own learning and worked collaboratively to create startups to fill gaps they saw in the market.

Businesses being developed include wallets made from recycled denim, allergen-free foods for kids to enjoy, and stress balls with a target market of adults.

To help their businesses come to life, the school will give each young startup team seed funding for the students to purchase items for production of goods to sell at market day. All proceeds from the market day will return to the school to support further learning projects for students.

Tanya Egerton, manager of the Enterprise Lab, was thrilled to host the young entrepreneurs and help facilitate their entrepreneurial growth.

“We believe in building capacity and capabilities, and in showing people that entrepreneurship is something that can make a difference in their own lives and in others,” Ms Egerton said.

"We introduced the students to the Business Model Canvas, and it was great to see their young minds grasp this concept so early. We had a great two days with the students and we were impressed with their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship."