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Macleay College students pitch their business ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs

On Wednesday 22 July Business Marketing students came together with their
entrepreneurial ideas to present to an expert panel of judges for the tri-annual Macleay College Enterprise Exhibition Day. On the judging panel was business owner Gen George (Founder of OneShift Jobs), Dan Siepen (Co-founder of The Coder Factory) and Ashley Lim (Founder and Director of Extraordinary Ordinary Day).

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Amongst the six presentations were some innovative ideas including ‘E-Logs’, a mobile app which utilises technology to access your car log book and alert you when your service is due, and app ‘Night M8’ which is aimed at travellers and backpackers to inform them of nightclub dress codes, cover charges and lock-out times.

This event is an excellent opportunity for Macleay students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and test their ideas on real life entrepreneurs who are in business today. Ronan Healy, Macleay College business lecturer spoke about the importance of teaching entrepreneurship to students.

“You are going to learn a skill set - we are passionate about teaching you that, but also a mindset which is equally as important”.

“Gone are the days where you just come to college to learn some information. You need to learn a mindset and it’s that insight into what an entrepreneur is and also how they think”.

“This day is about having fun, gaining some skill sets and understanding the mind of an entrepreneur. Also understanding the hustle that an entrepreneur has to go through - pitching to potential investors who will help the business grow and talking to customers”.

Sigourney Lemke-Berry and Harriet Tomkins of team ‘Swipe & Swap’ took out both the
Killer Pitch and Killer Sales titles with their app that allows users to swap unwanted household items with other users in the area at no cost and with one simple swipe.

We caught up with Harriet after the event to hear all about the win and learning entrepreneurship at Macleay College.

epTell me about your business idea and what inspired it?

Our business idea was inspired by the frustrations we have both felt as students living out of home in share houses for a number of years. We both identified with accumulating a mass of unwanted items and clutter that we would like to get rid of e.g. couches, television, wardrobes, and bedside tables.

How did it feel to win?

Amazing! It’s great to have our business idea validated by the college and the judges especially because we have been working on it for 6 months.

How do you see the entrepreneur subjects as being relevant and important areas of study?

Not all of us want or aspire to be an entrepreneur, however the subject gives us the skills to make that possible. Through this subject we learned the enormous amount of hard work that young entrepreneurs beginning a start-up have to go through. We also learnt the practical skills of presenting and pitching which is so important in the real work force!

Who is an entrepreneurial role model for you and why?

In class we watched a short documentary on the founders of SoundCloud Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss. I respect people who believe in themselves and their ideas enough to drop everything else and make a career out of it! SoundCloud began from a small apartment in Berlin; the founders had nothing but a love for music and a drive to get their start up off the ground and look at it now! What they have achieved is amazing.

How has your time studying at Macleay College assisted you in being prepared for the workforce?

The internship program ensures that we have workplace experience before we graduate. Additionally the teachers we have had throughout the course here have been industry-based teachers who have current insight into their various industries.

Internships are a compulsory part of Macleay College programs – how do you see this as being important and relevant for today’s students?

Working in any workplace is important for every student. You will rarely speak to an industry professional that will hire a student based solely on their grades and merits at university and high school. The skills you learn in work places and internships are those that you carry throughout your career.

What is it like to be taught by industry professionals?

What we are learning feels current and therefore more valuable. Our teachers are constantly relating what we learn back to the workforce to reinforce our learning and ensure that we take away everything into the career path we intend to follow.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and what are some of your best memories so far?

I decided to study at Macleay because of the industry professionals working at Macleay, and also upon advice from friends. This Enterprise exhibition day has been the best memory so far.

What advice would you give to other students who are considering studying at Macleay College?

If you like small classes and value contact and time from teachers it is a really great place to study.

What are your goals for the future and where do you see yourself?

Hopefully working in a creative marketing environment in the near future!

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