Grassroots entrepreneurship should be part of the culture of Ballarat, according to a celebrated demographer and futurist.
But how will Ballarat encourage young people to create and invest in business?
Bernard Salt, who studies demographic changes and provides independent analysis to governments, shared his thoughts on shaping Ballarat's future at Civic Hall on Tuesday as part of the statewide Digital Innovation Festival.
His data analysis shows there is a spike in the number of people in Ballarat aged in their early 20s, but a high number leave by their mid-20s.
There is an opportunity to harness their potential in Ballarat. The solution Salt suggests is establishing Ballarat as an entrepreneurial hot spot that will create a local workforce for the next generation.
"Millennials should be the most entrepreneurial generation in history," he said.
"I want an Australian version of Bill Gates to surface by 2030."
Ballarat couple Tami and Andrew Titheridge have experience working in startups.
Mrs Titheridge worked for customer feedback startup RateIt for three years and now works for text analytics startup Kapiche, while Mr Titheridge continues to work for RateIt.
The couple shared their experiences of what it is like to work in a startup, how it differs to more traditional small business and why the start up culture attracted them at a StartUp Ballarat MeetUp on Thursday.
Mrs Titheridge started working for RateIt remotely from Ballarat three and a half years ago after connecting with the company's founder.
What I love about the world of startup is how fast paced and scrappy everything is.Tami Titheridge, RateIt
It was her first introduction to working in the startup world, one where processes are not yet established and 'things are figured out as you go'.
Within six months of working for the company Mrs Titheridge was invited to join the leadership team as the first leader outside of the company's owners.
"What I love about the world of startup is how fast paced and scrappy everything is,"she said.
"I remember when we were finding our feet I would set up customer operations on my kitchen table. There was no process for things like leave, so we had to come up with that. I wrote heaps of processes which I had never done before so we could grow and scale."
Last year Mrs Titheridge decided to join another early stage startup Kapiche and now works in Brisbane.
"I love being a part of something bigger than myself and knowing every decision you make, every conversation you have, all have an impact and contribute on whether or not this company goes from being a scruffy five to six person start up to a successful global, international leader. That is where RateIt ended up," she said.
What are schools doing to prepare students for the future of the workforce?Tami Titheridge
Mr Titheridge joined the startup world with RateIt after 20 years of running his own businesses, internet provider Q Online he started in year 12 and computer sale and repair company Centrecom Computers.
"For me the biggest draw of start up is the freedom and the requirement to be always learning," he said.
Mr Titheridge said he had planned to move to Melbourne after high school but starting his own business kept him in Ballarat.
He said creating a culture of entrepreneurship required funding support for young people to begin startups or financial incentives to encourage businesses to move to Ballarat.
Mrs Titherage said thinking about entrepreneurship as a potential career pathway needed to begin in schools.
"What are schools doing to prepare students for the future of the workforce?," she said.
Salt's analysis predicted Ballarat will be the 16th biggest city in Australia in 2054, with a population of 212,000.
He also noted Daylesford was an entrepreneurial hot spot, with 27 per cent of people owning their own business, while the Ballarat rate of entrepreneurs is slightly lower than the Australian average of 15 per cent.