Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie rallies unemployed youth to launch a startup

Entrepreneurship is the solution for young people in Australia who are struggling to find work, according to Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie.


“These days young people have an amazing opportunity to start their own business in ways not possible before,” Barrie says. “It’s a gold rush out there.”


Barrie made the comments ahead of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit (G20YEA) where he will be speaking, with an aim to tackle global issues around youth unemployment.


One quarter of Australians aged 18-24 are currently under-employed, and youth unemployment has reached 50% in many countries.


“Conventional industries are being overturned every day, and young people are in a good position to make the most of that,” Barrie says. “The costs of starting a business are not expensive any more, compared to what they have been in the past.”


Barrie says that the opportunities like those offered by sites like Freelancer also make it possible for young people to obtain employment on their terms.


“My grandfather used to say, you can’t do what you want, but you have to like what you do,” he says. “These days it’s the other way round – you can do what you want. You are only limited by your imagination.”


The opportunities of self-education are also out there for the taking, says Barrie, with online universities and sites like Khan Academy making it possible to learn anything.


“It’s an amazing time to be alive. Small businesses have the opportunity to get big quickly, and the ability to start something from nothing is very real,” says Barrie.


“If you’re young right now, there is work in front of you and you’re in the ideal situation to take risks and try something. Remember even if it fails then you are back to square one. As you get older, it gets harder to take risks.”


The 2013 EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer found small businesses deliver 69% of the overall employment growth in Australia, while across the OECD, SMEs with fewer than 250 employees account for two-thirds of employment.


In the EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer, Australia is ranked highly against other G20 countries for the pillars of education, training and entrepreneurship. However, it is ranked 15 out of 20 for coordinated support – a measure of the collaboration between the public, private and voluntary sectors.


The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit will be held at the Sheraton on the Park, Sydney on 18-22 July 2014.


To register visit:


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.