Slingshot is a self-employment pathways program designed to assist young people who have an interest in running their own businesses to learn relevant skills and to explore the opportunities presented by self-employment. Slingshot's target group of young people aged 18 to 24 years old who might otherwise not have the opportunity to establish their own enterprises included a particular focus on young people facing barriers to education and skills development and to employment.
In this report Lois Bedson, Koto Fukushima and Fiona Macdonald document and review what has been learned from the Slingshot program over its three years of operation as a demonstration project established to inform policy and practice in the area of youth employment programs. Specifically, they consider how Slingshot has achieved its objectives, documents the reasons for success and gauges the impact of Slingshot on the experiences and pathways of the young people involved. The paper also considers what could be done differently to increase successes in future programs, suggests appropriate benchmarks and measures of success, and makes recommendations for similar youth enterprise projects in the future.
The information, analysis and views presented in this paper are the result of consultations and interviews with key program stakeholders - the young people and mentors, the program manager, the Slingshot committee of management members, and the trainers. The paper is also informed by examination of Slingshot program documentation and other literature, and other relevant literature relating to self-employment and enterprise development programs.