Entrepreneurship empowers. It gives people independence, financial freedom and stability. It also equips people with a range of critical skill such as personal leadership skills that can be applied to any business or workplace. In fact, entrepreneurship has recently been identified as one of the top 2020 career choices, suggesting that it is a key part of the future of work. Entrepreneurship is not only rewarding, fulfilling and engaging, it is something that should be accessible to everyone.
However, unfortunately the entrepreneurial ecosystem is neither sufficiently diverse nor accessible. It remains largely dominated by mainstream groups, and while governments around the world continue to celebrate and encourage the growth of small business and start-ups, this call to arms shouldn’t be limited to only certain parts of the community. Entrepreneurship should be accessible and available to all.
There are some amazing examples of people from a vulnerable or disadvantaged background who have broken through barriers to achieve entrepreneurial success. For example, Arthur Young, the pioneering leader of Ernst & Young was inspired by his own struggles in finding work due to his deafness and low vision, and so started his own accounting practice; now a global business. This was before entrepreneurship training and support was a thing and is an example of how entrepreneurship can be a powerful vehicle for independence and positive change.
More diversity in entrepreneurship and leadership is not just a social imperative; it is also an economic priority as we cannot thrive in a global economy if half of the population is missing.
And even though Australia is beginning to thrive in the start-up and entrepreneurship space, it is still not a level playing field.
Gemstar is very passionate about both the power of entrepreneurship as well as inclusivity and diversity. That is why our Founder and CEO, Gemma launched the YoungGems™ real-world entrepreneurship program in 2016, now a Diploma with Kaplan Singapore, to give people the opportunity to gain these skills.
Through the YoungGems program, we have now helped over 150 student and adult entrepreneurs to take the next step in realising their dreams. Now, we are taking the commitment further with today’s launch of HiddenGems, a program aimed at driving diversity in business.
We are bringing the HiddenGems program to parts of the community that are often overlooked. And it begins today with the announcement of our partnership with AccessPlus WA where we will be running a 3 month program for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. Participants will be guided through designing ideas as viable businesses through a series of masterclasses, ongoing consultation, guidance, encouragement, and access to a business network and opportunities that span Australia, ASEAN, the US and UK.
Our Founder says, “I am so delighted that Gemstar and AccessPlus have joined forces to deliver entrepreneurship to deaf people in Western Australia – the first of its kind of program in Australia. To be the first to do this is incredibly rewarding and I feel extremely proud that my company is behind this. We are extremely passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to entrepreneurship education and will continue to work towards a more accessible future for all. I hopes that as Gemstar takes this first small step towards driving more diversity in business, we will see other leaders do the same – coming together to empower the community as a whole.”
For more information about HiddenGems and our other programs – please contact us here.