If we discount the DJ business I ran with my brother during high school and university years, the first major tastes of ‘learning by doing’ entrepreneurship for me were via a spin-out venture and then a small business I founded in Japan. In retrospect, you could say I was an accidental intrapreneur turned entrepreneur.
Last week saw 9 startup teams compete for return flights to China, government-led introductions to Chinese partners and an opportunity to be a part of reality TV program, The Next Unicorn through The UNSW Startup China program, which is now in its second year. The top 3 spots at this year’s event were won by female entrepreneurs.
For the recent Westpac The Youth Network Summit I was asked to run a Entrepreneur Development program for a group of 120 young up-and-coming staff from across all business units and branches in Australia and New Zealand.
It’s not difficult to find a frustrated entrepreneur from our ecosystem whenever small businesses, lifestyle companies and startups get painted with the same brush. Small businesses are just that – small versions of big businesses. Startups, on the other hand, as Steve Blank drilled into our heads during my time with him in January during the Lead LaunchPad for Accelerators / Incubators programme at UC Berkeley, are temporary organisations searching for a repeatable and scalable business model.
The development of one young startup currently making waves on Kickstarter has come hand in hand with the development of a support service, network, and community at the University of NSW.
This week has seen seasoned developer and UNSW alumni Gwilym Humphreys come on board as Lead Developer for the FounderLab initiative – a world first on-campus service that seeks to give engineering students first hand exposure to multiple startup projects whilst simultaneously providing a professional product development service for non-technical entrepreneurial founders who apply competitively for the service.
University students must leave the classroom and work in startups to gain entrepreneurial experience
As manager of Student Entrepreneur Development at UNSW, I am often asked about the best way for students to learn ‘entrepreneurship.’ The answer, in my opinion, is by actually being an entrepreneur: by founding and running a startup in tandem with studying a degree, and actually encountering the same challenges, risks, and rewards as a real entrepreneur.