By Jack Bloomfield,

The traditional school system is failing the future entrepreneurs of Australia. How do I know? Because I’m one of them.

I turned 16 years old this year, and I’ve been launching and running e-commerce businesses since I was 12. Businesses that now turn over millions of dollars every year.

And I can honestly tell you that my schooling hasn’t contributed in any way towards any of the companies I have built to date.

Don’t get me wrong, school is great for the fundamentals. But once you learn how to multiply, divide, speak and spell, the value suddenly stops for those of us who want to walk an entrepreneurial path.

There’s nothing in today’s education system that focuses on anything even vaguely entrepreneurial. Instead, we lock kids into a 12-year school system designed only to earn them a place in university, yet another institution for yet more study, until finally — about 16 or even 18 years later — you’re ejected out the other side, tens of thousands of dollars in debt and looking for job.

And that’s an absolutely fine path for a lot of people, but not if you want to build a nation of entrepreneurs; a country of risk-takers ready to build those start-up success stories, people who want to change the world, rather than simply plug into it and wait out retirement. For those people, the education system just doesn’t work.

The majority of schools just don’t encourage entrepreneurial skill sets. There are no subjects or systems in place to support kids like myself and their entrepreneurial ventures. And that makes sense, because a system that’s been largely unchanged for a hundred years is not going to teach a teenager how to start a business, or manage a start-up. That’s just not in the playbook.

At the moment, the school system rewards only two paths. One, you can finish high school, apply for university and get a job. Or two, you can leave school two years earlier, get an apprenticeship, and work in a trade. But isn’t it time we introduced a third option?

We live in the age of the internet, and it’s never been easier to start a successful business online. And our educators need to be aware of it, because this is a real career path, and one that can work for kids if that’s their passion. The world is changing at breakneck speed, and our education has to be just as nimble if we’re going to keep up.
Because there is actually no better time to start a side-hustle business than while you’re at school. All your living expenses are handled by your parents, you have zero dependants and infinite chances to fail, dust yourself off and start again.

The younger you start the better, and with the huge amount of technology at your fingertips, it costs next to nothing to get started. My very first business required an investment of just $500.

But you have to really want it. And that means using your time more efficiently, cutting the time you might spend gaming or watching TV. And isn’t that something our schools should be supporting anyway?

Jack Bloomfield is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.

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