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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Entrepreneurship initiative paves the way for youth self-employment

    Aspiring entrepreneurs have received a leg-up with the launching of a new program aimed at encouraging self-employment among young people.

    The Entrepreneurship Facilitators initiative will provide young Cairns residents with practical assistance and support in developing their ideas into a business.

    Local business identity and winner of the Cairns Business Women's inaugural young businesswoman of the year award Tara Diversi has been named the city’s Entrepreneurship Facilitator.

    Ms Diversi said she was looking forward to building a community of young entrepreneurs, and providing opportunities for education, coaching, mentoring and increasing connections in the Cairns region.

    "There are so many exciting things about this role, and the initiative overall.

    “I meet young people every day that have fantastic ideas, but not the knowledge, skills or networks to develop their idea into successful, sustainable self-employment.”

    “I think this has the chance to really turn youth unemployment in Cairns around.”

    As part of the program, Ms Diversi has set up the Young Entrepreneurs Project (Y(E)P), which will run free, small-group workshops covering topics related to all aspects of business including finance, risk, sales, digital, marketing, human resources and business development.

    The first workshop, focussing on helping people get started online, will be held on March 22, followed by one on March 24 covering the application of and management of grants.

    The regularly-occurring workshops will provide assistance and education to a maximum of six participants and have what Ms Diversi calls “a mentor-like feel”.

    “We’re already well on the way with one-to-one clients, and I’m really looking forward to reaching even more people through our workshops.

    “Young people are 'digital natives' so find it much easier to navigate through new markets, and they might not have the same responsibilities as they may have when they are older, so with help, it's a perfect time to have a go at self-employment.

    "It is easy to see barriers, but now, more than ever, there are more and more opportunities and fewer barriers to entry.”

    Leichhardt MP member Warren Entsch said the launch was timely in light of recent figures showing that youth unemployment in the Cairns region had risen from 20.5 per cent in January 2016 to 24.4 per cent in January 2017, the third highest in the country.

    "Persistent high levels of youth unemployment remain a social and economic constraint on our future prosperity," he said.

    "Entrepreneurship Facilitators give young Australians the chance to consider self-employment as a real option.

    “They offer a unique opportunity to connect people with existing local services and programs and provide one-on-one support to overcome the barriers that could be stopping people from starting their own business.”

    To book a spot on next week’s workshops, email [email protected] or call 0488 047 111.