Hands up if you’re perfect?
Splashed across the front page of the papers today was the fresh, baby face of a teenager. What was he guilty of? Murder? Theft? Abuse? Terrorism?
Alexander Beniac-Brooks was running an online business venture that failed.
Once I’d read past the inflammatory wording used by the newspaper, who called his business dealings a “get-rich-quick” scheme, and said that private schools had been “rocked” by the “implosion” of the students entrepreneurial “scandal”, I thought just one thing.
This isn’t a scandal.
Instead, I thought: good on you, Alexander Beniac-Brooks. Good job thinking outside the square. For taking a risk. For seeing a business opportunity and exploring it. For having faith in your entrepreneurial skills, thinking big, and not relying on a textbook education to pay you a wage.
It’s not to say there aren’t questions related to the story. How did these students procure these types of funds to invest? Do they have the capacity to know what investment is? Did they understand the risk? What’s an 18 year old doing trying to trade in European watches and luxury import brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton?
Taking a risk, is what. And for that, they should be congratulated. Because there’s a good life lesson here. And it’s exactly what happens when you take a punt on an investment – sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.
Australia needs to stop being so averse to business failure. Those wringing their hands over the children need to realise we can’t shield high school students against these dealings and nor should we. What we need to do is educate them.
The old system of going to school, learning by rote, studying the curriculum hard, getting good grades, going to University and getting a job for life is crumbling. The jobs that these graduates will be doing in 10 years probably don’t even exist yet. So we need to encourage more students to have an entrepreneurial mindset, not denigrate them when they do.