Entrepreneur extraordinaire and The Employables mentor, Creel Price believes that business success hinges on the founder — “if you haven’t got the right founder the business isn’t going to be successful”.
And so the quest begins for Creel and his team to find the right founder with the right startup business idea selected from the growing pool of Australia’s long-term unemployed. Which of these candidates will break-through?
Abu’s business idea is to be the boss of his own green fast food truck delivering healthy food options. He is the main carer for his parents and disabled brother. Abu was 3 years old when he and his family migrated from Pakistan. He had little choice but to grow up and take responsibility early in life. Aged 24 and living in Western Sydney, Abu studied medical science at university, but work fitting his skills set is elusive. This unique opportunity to be immersed in leading-edge business mentoring could be the break-though he is desperately seeking.
There is no doubting Daniella’s tenacity: “Being aboriginal we’re not really taken seriously because of the past so I just want to show people that they can actually do it. That would be bloody awesome.” Indigenous elder and member of the stolen generation, 52 year-old Daniella raised 6 children of her own. Paid work has been sporadic, but will her teething lotion idea (in the vein of natural holistic remedies) take her to the next stage of The Employables?
Yarrie and her family fled the civil war in Sierra Leone when she was 11 years old. Now at 23, Yarrie believes that her inability to find work is a combination of discrimination due to the colour of her skin and the stigma of being a refugee. With abundant resilience borne out of a life of trauma and dislocation, Yarrie wants to be healing others. She has set up a business using a recipe for ginger tonic handed down by her beloved grandmother. Yarrie has built a following for her tonic at markets, but her quest is to upscale the business and get Aunty’s Ginger Tonic on the shelves of supermarkets. “Because of the way I came here I was afraid of going out there and starting up a business but I want to prove to myself I’m ready for the challenge,” she says.
At 46 years of age, Lazarus says he’s tired of collecting Centrelink benefits: “I want to work and I’ve realised that the only way that’s really going to happen is if I create my own work”. Lazarus lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2008. He feels like he’s facing a wall of discrimination from employers because of his disability and the fact that he is transgender. Will his entrepreneurial spirit and determination to set up an online “One Shoe Shop” be powerful enough to overcome the barriers to employment that are stacked up in front of him?
It’s a tough gig in the fashion industry, but 32 year-old Sarah is on a mission to create a sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly Australian fashion label. After leaving home at 15, she completed year 10 and studied fashion, but like many sole parents, she found it difficult to go back to work with a toddler. She describes how things got a whole lot tougher last year when she became homeless — “We went into a refuge and then I found myself really in the system”.
55 year-old former head chef Ian was forced out of the kitchen 2 years ago when he suffered a detached retina and was declared legally blind.
“The ophthalmologist — first thing he said was you’ve gotta give up work,” he says. “And I said well you know, what am I living for?”
Ian’s idea is to open up a vision impaired cafe for those in the industry like him who have disabilities and want to work.
The experience of violence, trauma and dislocation is common among refugees from Africa, with many unable to secure employment commensurate with their skills in Australia. One of seven children, raised by a single mother in Sudan, Achan and her family fled the civil war to Egypt in 2000. Achan is no stranger to hard work – she was forced at age 9 into low paid jobs to prevent the family from becoming homeless. Now 26, the struggle for Achan persists in Australia. “I try not to take it personally,” she says. “I try to empower myself and keep being persistent and keep going”. Highly motivated and keen to succeed in business, Achan’s plan is to ensure that there is great coffee made by trained baristas in remote communities in Australia.
The reality of contemporary labour markets is that too many mature-aged workers are displaced and forced into redundancy. Graham, 63, raised four children on his own but when the company he worked for went into receivership, he was unable to get another job.
“Eventually I was told I was just too old for what people were looking for,” he says.
His business idea? Using alternative therapies with dementia patients.
Rebuilding life after doing time in prison is proving to be one closed door after another for 45 year-old Vicki. An experienced health sector worker, Vicki believes she is being discriminated against because of her incarceration. “Even with my certificates and diploma, because of that bit of paper saying that I was incarcerated, the person beside me that hasn’t got the qualifications and know how will actually get the job over me,” says Vicki, who wants to set up a counselling service to help other women adjust to life on the outside.
A 57 year-old mother of six, Eve has been out of the workforce for 20 years raising her family.
“I've put my heart and my soul into my children and it needs to be my turn now,” she says. Everyone knows someone like Eve in our own families or neighbourhoods. Eve will have many backing her to be selected for the next stage with her idea – a clothing label that specialises in up-cycling pre-loved clothing.
Throwing down the gauntlet to his unemployed peers, Tadd, 26, is on a mission to build a live-action battle games business using special foam and latex swords. Tadd has found the discipline of his military family challenging – and he battles depression - but he is eager to create his own brand.
Jess falls into one of the highest unemployment demographics in Australia —young and from a rural area. After three years of looking for a job that matches her university degree she still finds herself unemployed at 27 years of age.
“I’ve been a job seeker for a few years now,” she says. “I’ve got my bachelors and a lot of other things but they just don’t seem to get me anywhere.” Will Jess succeed on The Employables with her online community for people around Australia who are obsessed with nail polish?
Jon has found that an MBA and loads of experience isn’t a ticket to employment when you are a mature-aged worker. Now 68, he has been unemployed for six years.
“You don’t get too many opportunities in my world, in long-term unemployed, but it’s something I want to happen and I don’t know how to make it happen,” he says. Having a vegetarian wife isn’t stopping Jon form advancing his innovation —home-made beef jerky that he reckons is good enough to be sold on a commercial scale.
Watch The Employables Wednesdays from 22 August at 8:30pm on SBS. After they air, episodes will be available at SBS On Demand.