Five ideas that’ll inspire you to unleash your inner entrepreneur

December 07, 2015
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Want to be your own boss one day? It’s never too early to get going. We teamed up with CPA Australia to look at some awesome ways to become an entrepreneur.

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The summer break usually means you either enjoy the hard-earned rest and put on the summer kilos, or you enrol in summer semester to torture your mind. But a third alternative exists: getting your entrepreneur on.

If you’re aiming to be your own boss one day, it pays to take this route. And the best part is it’ll keep the weight off and keep you in a studious mindset in preparation for semester one. If you’re looking to be a little more productive this break, here are five things to try out to unleash your inner entrepreneur.

Technology: digital natives’ playground

Why not design your own app? For high risk-averse people, getting into app development is safer, since it’s been on the rise and predicted to perpetuate. You could develop one related to a passion, like UNSW student David Morrison’s Fire Front Solutions’ PocketFire, which allows firefighters to share immediate bushfire information in real time.

Or maybe you’re more tangible: follow Taj Pabari’s lead by taking an existing product and deconstructing it for education. Pabari pulled apart a Google Nexus to create DIY tablet kits for children. He’s shown that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking concept not seen before; rather, it could simply be putting new twists on existing products.

Social enterprises: altruistic greed

If you prefer to create something that’ll improve the human condition, then a social enterprise is your calling. Look at recent proposals by teenage entrepreneurs at UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine about how they would improve the lives of the poor and marginalised via sustainable methods.

Another idea is to start an enterprise that uses one concept to serve many causes. Conscious Step, founded by Hassan Ahmad, Adam Long, and Prashant Mehta, designs socks to match a charity. “An allocated amount from the retail price of each pair goes to the organisation's charity partners,” says Hassan. “The impact is quantifiable.”

Journalism, publishing platforms: digital disruption a challenge to the status quo

Here’s your chance to steer the course of news delivery for the foreseeable future. If you think current news stories online are immediate enough, think again: Summly is “pocket-sized news for iPhone” states its slogan. Founded by Nick D’Aloisio at age 15, its aim is to summarise news using fancy AI; it wants to ensure that the proliferation of mobile phones doesn’t result in idiocrasy.

For long-form content, Tablo Publishing, created by Ash Davies in his early 20s, is a great example of a holistic, mobile and inclusive approach to the writing, publishing and reading experience. To ensure young’uns remain connected to information and literature, you may want to start young, since toddlers toying with tablets is becoming the norm.

Employment agencies: job-hunting pain is a gain for others

When the job-hunt gets tough, the tough start a job-finding company themselves. That’s the case with Gen George who, in her early 20s, founded One Shift after frustrations with the traditional method of sending applications for temporary jobs.

Likewise, UNSW’s Mahesh Muralidhar’s method of using the power of referrals and networking resulted in Ureferjobs, where referrals are rewarded with not only gratitude, but also with cash. “Personal referrals are consistently identified as the best way to find talent,” says Mahesh. The key is a unique selling point.

Renewable energy: power by youth

You must be thinking, if world leaders have a hard time negotiating with each other about commitment to climate change and renewable energy, how can young people even consider stepping up to the plate? Fear not. As 15-year-old Hannah Herbst shows, developing an energy-producing machine all for less than US$12 is possible.

Maybe you’d like to focus instead on your local area’s energy consumption problems. For example, 19-year-old Joie Laurent Sangwa is part of the Domestic Biogas Use Promotion project that uses human waste to create energy to reduce deforestation. Passion, willpower and creative use of resources can kick-start something. Even if it’s small initially, it could have huge potential.

Toby Vue

Toby is a Master of Arts (journalism) student at Charles Sturt University. He tweets at @tobyvue.

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