Next generation of entrepreneurs ready to innovate

Professor Attila Brungs, picture by Jesse Taylor

Professor Attila Brungs, picture by Jesse Taylor

In summary: 
  • With the Federal Government's Innovation Statement newly released, a survey of UTS students and recent graduates has found they strongly identify with entrepreneurialism and startups as career options
  • UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said almost 40 per cent had either started their own business or were considering a startup or entrepreneurial career path

UTS Vice Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs has welcomed the Federal Government's Innovation Statement, saying it was a vital blueprint to build Australia's entrepreneurial and innovative talent.

Professor Brungs said the statement comes as UTS releases a major new survey of university students and recent graduates showing almost 40 per cent have either started their own business or are considering a startup or entrepreneurial career path.

The survey of almost 1300 current UTS students and recent graduates found the cohort strongly identified with entrepreneurialism and startups as appealing career options.

This is a major change from past expectations that the vast majority of graduates would progress to full-time employment in traditional workplaces as their preferred path.

The findings reinforce the need for the Federal Government's shift in policy and planning for the jobs of the future, which will be powered by digital technology and led by entrepreneurs and tech startups.

Professor Brungs said over a number of years UTS had been preparing its students for the changing nature of work and designing courses and learning to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation.

"The nature of work is changing rapidly. We know that young Australians are likely to have up to five career changes and 17 jobs in their lifetime," Professor Brungs said.

"We also know that the jobs of the future are changing rapidly with research telling us that up to 60 per cent of the jobs university students are currently studying for are likely to be automated in the future.

"The jobs of the future will be powered by digital technology and led by entrepreneurs and tech startups. Many larger companies are already taking advantage of this by deliberately creating entrepreneurial cultures and much more flexible work groups internally."

Professor Brungs said this was reinforced by a recent CEDA report which argued that more than five million jobs, almost 40 per cent of Australian jobs that exist today, have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years due to technological advancements.

"It is critical that policy makers, educators and industry gear up to support our next generation workforce to succeed in this changing environment and maximise the entrepreneurial spirit of today's young leaders."

Professor Brungs said UTS had been undertaking a 12-month pilot of a university-wide innovation strategy which is now fully operational.

"We are completely transforming our approach to research, teaching and learning and to industry engagement with a focus on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism."

This includes creating incubator programs such as the Hatchery which guide and support students on their entrepreneurial journey; new innovative courses that partner students with industry to solve complex problems brought about digital disruption; and, embedding startups and innovation industry partners on campus to work alongside students and academics.

This is underpinned by a $1.2billion redevelopment of the UTS campus to make it a truly open and connected campus right in the heart of Sydney's digital creative precinct.

Key findings from the UTS Entrepreneurship study….

  • 37.8 per cent of the 608 current students sampled either have their own business or are seriously interested in having their own business or startup.
  • 39 per cent of the 674 alumni sampled either have their own business or are seriously interested in having their own business or startup.
  • 70 per cent of those student respondents who are seriously interested in having their own business cited lack of finance as the most significant barrier to starting their own business.
  • Main areas of interest for students interested in startups were:
    • Digital creative (56 per cent),
    • FinTech (29 per cent),
    • EdTech (28 per cent) and
    • CleanTech (25 per cent). 
  • 30 per cent of student respondents who intend having their own business indicated that the preferred location would be anywhere as it can be run from my computer.
  • Of the alumni actually running a startup, 39 per cent run it from home.
  • 26 per cent of students are bloggers or website contributors – a higher proportion than those in full-time employment (23 per cent) or those in part-time work (20 per cent).