As a supporter and driver of the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem I’ve spent a long time advocating for entrepreneurship to be recognised and supported as a career path in the same way that the traditional ‘get a qualification and get a job’ career path has always been.
I’ve worked hard to help people of all ages, from 8 to 80, that have an idea that they are passionate or excited about to bring that idea into reality and ‘create their own career’.
I’ve encouraged business owners to ‘think bigger’, ‘think global’ and to create repeatable, scalable business models and have led the building of the Gold Coast Innovation Hub specifically to help people in a regional city to create local, sell and connect global.
In the past year, working hands on with businesses, governments and industry here at the Gold Coast Innovation Hub, a growing new economic segment has caught my attention.
20% of the workforce on the Gold Coast are registered business owners, making us ‘Australia’s most entrepreneurial city’, however, when you look beneath the surface on that statistic, you find that many of our local residents are not starting a business to change the world, to pursue a passion or to explore an idea. They do not have entrepreneurial aspirations at all. With the growing gig economy, what is actually emerging is a rise in the number of ‘necessity entrepreneurs’. These are people that want a job, but are unable to find employment, so instead they register a business and do what they can to scrape by – take contract roles, drive an uber, clean houses, walk pets, babysit and accept administrative, design and other short term jobs on Airtasker and Gumtree.
These businesses are not engaged in the startup, innovation or small business community so have little knowledge of or access to business support networks which in turn puts them at incredibly high risk of getting into legal, financial and tax issues – after all, they never set out to run a business and have very little understanding of their responsibilities as business owners, they are just trying to survive.
How do we support them? How do we educate them to ensure their businesses, legal, accounting and governance structures are suitable for the work they are completing?
What do they need to be able to excel? How can we help them perform more efficiently?
If they were to see themselves as business owners, rather than self-employed – see their income as revenue, see the tools of their trade as assets, recognise the products they are selling both in terms of their time and their IP, would this lead to a more strategic approach to the way they work? Would it result in higher earnings? Would it lead to more delegation and outsourcing of subsidiary tasks and create additional opportunities for other local entrepreneurs – book-keepers, marketers, lawyers?
Some of the key differentiators I have observed between entrepreneurs:
Whilst the Gold Coast Innovation Hub workspace is primarily targeted at businesses looking for and achieving high growth, we also have loads of events, programs and partnerships to help create better business outcomes for all business owners in the region.
If you have created your own job or have thoughts on how to better support the new entrepreneurs emerging from the gig economy, please share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.
If you are a high growth business or want to adapt your business model to achieve higher levels of growth, come and join the hub.
By Gold Coast Innovation Hub CEO, Sharon Hunneybell