Dear Colleagues,

I am always rather cautious about politicians’ speeches as they are often self-serving or meaningless. However, one can modify President Kennedy’s powerful speech in 1960 with my words italicized:
…..ask not what your country can do for you as far as a job—ask what you can do for your country.

There is an Expectation
There is an expectation that when you graduate with an engineering degree or diploma that you then need to seek out employment and a good job (preferably with a blue chip company).

Due to the rapid changing and often chaotic job market, I believe it is critical that we imbue our young ones with the entrepreneurial flair to create their own jobs. I know this can be extraordinarily difficult (and believe me I have been there many times and it can be exquisitely painful to set up a profitable company) but if we can encourage everyone at school or college to start thinking about setting up their own operations and innovating, we will make the economy more vibrant and unemployment less of an issue in the tough times. It doesn’t have to be a massive megacorporation – it can be a sole trader – just you, yourself.

It is certainly not easy being an entrepreneur and creating your own employment. It can be massively difficult with lots of challenges thrown your way. However, I believe the era of large corporations offering unlimited employment to all our school and college graduates has long since passed. The large companies are unable to adapt to sudden economic shocks and to stay in business will often suddenly lay huge numbers of people off.

I do still remember our young kids operating a lemonade stand on our street making a few dollars or busking with their violins in the city (and making a huge amount of money). Admittedly, under close parental guidance. Most of our kids have the entrepreneurial impulse when they are younger. This needs to be nurtured.

Your Entrepreneurial To Do List
This requires you or your kids to think along the lines of:

  • Identify the gap in the market (it may only be for a short time)
  • Ensure the job or company you create is something you are passionate about
  • Create an innovative solution
  • Be flexible in your thinking and operations
  • Do not be afraid to fail
  • Seek advice from others who have proven track records
  • Persist in seeking out the best solutions
  • Work hard on marketing and business development
  • Communicate well to staff, clients and suppliers
  • Understand the need to be profitable
  • Look after your personal health and well being at all times

One of the finest areas of endeavour is naturally engineering and technology. So go for it. Encourage your kids and your young ones to think hard on being entrepreneurial and running their own businesses. Hopefully employing others and enjoying themselves.

Yours in engineering learning,

Steve