Accelerating Hybrid Entrepreneurs

Hybrid entrepreneurship may be an innovative solution to wellbeing, decent work and economic growth

By Professor Alex Maritz, Professor of Entrepreneurship, La Trobe Business School

We continue to deal with the disruptive economic and social challenges associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic, and hybrid entrepreneurs have been touted as an innovative solution to these sustainable development (SDG) challenges.

The magnitude of these challenges is enormous, across all industries including technology and digitalisation, particularly priority sectors such as Agtech, The Care Economy, and First Nations.

Hybrid entrepreneurship, often referred to as moonlighting or a side-hustle, is the process whereby individuals engage in self-employment activity while simultaneously holding a primary job in wage or remuneration work. These entrepreneurs contribute approximately $9.86 billion to the Australian economy, comprising 315,000 start-ups in total, representing an average of 12,600 hybrid start-ups per annum over the last decade. One-in-four Australian entrepreneurs engage in start-up activity via the hybrid-mode.

We are engaging this form of entrepreneurship to address the economic and social challenges faced by Australian communities.

Research and engagement in hybrid entrepreneurship led by Professor Alex Maritz, Dr Abu Ismail and Dr Quan Nguyen and La Trobe University wide teams, and industry partners such as War on Wasted Talent, are addressing these challenging issues. By informing policy and practice, the team plan to make it easier for people to combine full-time work with starting a small business, thereby accelerating the prevalence of early-stage entrepreneurs in Australia and strengthening their entrepreneurship capability. And the benefits to employers are significant too!

The project aims to build upon economic and social benefits of hybrid entrepreneurship, including supplementing income, creating employment, job enrichment, psychological well-being, social recognition, transition to full-time entrepreneurship, and diversity and equity. Whilst hybrid entrepreneurs are more risk-averse than fulltime entrepreneurs, they are more innovative than fulltime employees. Hybrid entrepreneurs are often better educated than mainstream entrepreneurs, and the start-ups they create usually have higher growth potentials.

It’s all about an optimal mix between paid employment and self-employment.

Hybrid entrepreneurship will become a bigger issue for employees, corporates and government in the next decade. In the gig economy more people will combine multiple forms of work, free-lance, and part-time, job-sharing, corporate employment and self-employment.

Many full-time employees will need side jobs to make ends meet and create wealth

Through this initiative, La Trobe Innovation and entrepreneurship will be offering Hybrid Entrepreneurship webinars, workshops, hackathons and events Victoria-wide, integrating with our Alumni, Partners, Industry and communities we serve.

Hybrid entrepreneurship can be a great source of personal fulfillment, creativity and meaning, and also an important antecedent of many important outcomes, for example, happier people have more satisfying work, tend to have more psychologically fulfilling lives and more likely to live longer and healthier lives.

Successful hybrid entrepreneurs embrace skill variety, innovative behaviour and psychological wellbeing

Watch this space to participate and engage in our hybrid entrepreneurship initiatives, the transition to fulltime entrepreneurship may be easier than thought! Or you may even be one of many who juggle the benefits of simultaneous fulltime employment and self-employment.

La Trobe industry contact: Hope Terdich, Manager – Marketing and Communications,