Australia's youngest entrepreneurs
A holiday class is teaching kids how to package, market and pitch business ideas for the start-up economy.
The fact that he was only 11 years of age didn't deter Alex Henderson from hatching a plan to launch his own online business.
The young surfer recently launched an online paddle boarding retail business, called Watercooledsup.com.au, with the support of his father. And he's already clocked up a few sales.
As a recent graduate of Lemonade Stand – The Business School for Kids, he felt empowered to put his learnings into action. He's one of 600 children to complete the two-day holiday program across the country.
The student of Melbourne's Oakleigh South Primary School student believes he'll succeed because his marketing includes a growing library of video reviews published on YouTube made with his father. He's also selling his products at a cheaper price point.
Lemonade Stand co-founder Steve Glaveski says adults tend to underestimate what kids can achieve.
"The reality is that more than 50 per cent of today's jobs won't exist in 10 to 15 years' time, so the opportunity to fail small, make tweaks and make the product fit the market is a skill that will set them up for life," Glaveski says.
"Children these days are tech natives. They're growing up in a time when all they need to build a business is an idea and internet connectivity. They're able to get their website up and running for $100 and start sharing their business with the world. Kids aren't limited by pre-conceived ideas of what's possible, either."
Henderson is one of a growing number of school-aged children looking to access finance and entrepreneurial courses outside of school.
Girl Guides Australia is about to start rolling out a Guide Your Money program with funding from Financial Literacy Australia to teach money basics to Girl Guides aged 7 to 12. It recognises that women in Australia are at some risk of falling behind in the development and practice of this major life skill.
Meanwhile, Australian entrepreneur and Rare Birds founder Jo Burston has recently launched the Phronesis Academy for 12 to 17 year olds. Over several weeks, participants learn to apply the thinking of an entrepreneur.
"They learn to the basics of financial literacy and borrowing money, how to read contracts, negotiate and what shareholder agreements need to contain," Burston explains.
"We've set out to show kids that entrepreneurs are ordinary people just like them to quash that 'entrepreneurs are rock stars' thinking."
There's also Club Kidpreneur, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise that sets out to foster entrepreneurial skills in primary-aged children. The courses teach children to build and launch their own micro-businesses through inspiration, education and empowerment.
Henderson, meanwhile, was quick to respond when asked whether he was saving for something special. "I won't be spending earnings for a very long time, because I'll be investing any earnings back into the business."