When Life Gives You an Innovation Policy, Make Lemonade

October 19th, 2015

The next generation of Australian entrepreneurs could stem from a modest, after-school lemonade stand. This is the winning idea by Erin Watson-Lynn and her team at the government’s weekend “hackathon”, which united over 150 people on Saturday from the tech, business and government fields to workshop future innovation policy.

Taking inspiration from the United States, the simple pitch was to start a national Lemonade Day to create “DICE” kids – Digital, Innovative, Creative and Entrepreneurial children. The team behind the idea believes this will stimulate an entrepreneurial generation, positioning the foundation for an economy with strengths in innovation and digital skills. One member of the team noted Dutch research that linked early experiences of entrepreneurship to a heightened capacity for risk-taking later in life.

Is this a step in the right direction to shifting Australia’s innovation culture? Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy said changing culture was the toughest challenge to crack for governments, “it is probably the most important thing and it is the hardest thing for us to do.” However, at a projected cost of only $2 per a head, this pocket change could easily make a positive impact on the entrepreneurial culture in Australia.lemon-squeezer-609273_640

The Lemonade Day would target schools across the country and primary school-aged children would go through all the processes of starting a small business. “They’ll set up a lemonade stand, come up with a business strategy, design a marketing plan and execute the business, all the while learning about the different aspects of learning and operating a business,” Watson-Lynn says.

According to Roy, “We want to see a big cultural shift which embraces the entepreneurial spirit in our collective psyche. We need to see greater co-operation between government, research, science and the private sector. We need to grow our talent pool and attract the best and brightest from around the globe…If we can focus on these areas we will be a far more innovative country.”

Whether or not lemonade stands is the key to our entrepreneur and innovative future is yet to be known. However, targeting children and implementing transferable business skills from a young age could  indeed help in  instilling a culture of entrepreneurialism. Only time will tell, perhaps in the future Swanson Reed will be filing Research and Development Tax Credits for the prospective footpath proprietors – ‘Taste Testing Research’ is serious business, you know.