Source: ABC News
Students aged nine to 12 have willingly returned to the classroom during the school holidays to embrace a new program aimed at giving Australia's future entrepreneurs a head start.
They are being taught basic business skills, 3D printing prototypes, web design and mobile app development at a course run in Melbourne by innovation consultants, Collective Campus.
Co-founder Steve Glaveski said his two-day program, called Lemonade Stand, helped children understand how to take small risks and learn by their failures.
"If you think about kids' businesses, it's always about a couple of five or six year olds on the footpath selling homemade lemonade," he said.
"But ours is kind of like a 21st Century lemonade stand.
"In 2001, it cost $5 million to start an online business. Today you can start something for a few hundred dollars due to cloud computing, the internet getting faster.
"Kids today growing up with technology have never been more capable of doing something with those opportunities."
But children also face a very different industrial revolution and must learn to be more adaptable and resilient in the face of technological and commercial changes.
A Centre for Economic Development of Australia report last year found almost 40 per cent of those that exist today are likely to disappear in the next 10 to 15 years.
"Often [people] ask kids: 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'" Mr Glaveski said.
"But we're entering a time where what you want to be when you grow up may no longer be there.
"Malcolm Turnbull talks about us being more agile, creative, innovative, and I think we need to really start from a young age because we have a tendency to beat creativity out of young children by Grade 3 or 4.
"This is about planting the seeds to say: 'Hey this is what's possible. What problem do you want to solve?'"
William Stevens, 10, returned for a second time to the Lemonade Stand course after having completed it in the January school holidays.
"It's really fun and you get to learn lots of new things ... I'd like to help people," he said.
Emma Mitchell, 12, already makes and sells newborn baby dolls for around $200 and said the course would help hone her business and online skills.
"It's teaching us how to have a website and the things that you need to learn to have a business so it's quite useful," she said.
Maxim Leideman, 10, said he had not minded returning to the classroom during holidays and said it was fun.
"It's not boring school. We make websites and we learn businesses and stuff, however at school it's just maths and English," Maxim said.
"Everybody should get the chance to do this — it's epic."
Mr Glaveski disputed the course was pushing children to grow up too quickly or keeping children away from healthy active pursuits, saying many already spent time indoors playing computer games.
"Instead of playing video games, we're showing them that they can actually build businesses that either make money or make a difference in people's lives from the comfort of their own homes," he said.
Mr Glaveski said he was also working with an independent high school in Williamstown, in Melbourne's south-west, on a program modelled on the course.
Parent advocacy groups called for similar programs to be included in Australian school curriculums.
Executive director of The Parenthood, Jo Briskey, said while giving children time to play outdoors was also important for development, learning entrepreneurial skills was also key for children's future employment.
"We have to make sure we're allowing our kids to be kids, but sometimes we're at our most creative when we're young kids," she said.
"It's really enjoyable for them to test their creativity. These are the skills that they'll need for the future, so it should absolutely be available to all kids in our schools."
The course will run nationally during the next school holidays.
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