Student Entrepreneurs - Agents of Change

In the ongoing coverage of exploring new startups coming out of Australia, Today we explore a new initiative by a young entrepreneur, Amir Nissen from Melbourne Australia, Student Entrepreneurs - Agents of Change

In a recent email-based chat with Amir, he explained what motivated him to start this initiative.

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
Amir Nissen. I'm currently a fifth-year commerce/arts undergraduate at Melbourne uni. Interested in social entrepreneurship mainly, but also raising awareness of entrepreneurship, particularly amongst the student population.

• Please tell us about your venture?
We run a few initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship on campus. These range from spotlighting some entrepreneurial students on our site to bringing successful entrepreneurs in to talk about their experiences. Our most recent event was 'Entrepreneurs Week' - comprising a series of seminars on various aspects of entrepreneurship, and an innovators competition that spanned the week, giving students a first-hand experience of being an entrepreneur. We've also launched an entrepreneurial mentoring service for students, and are working on a few more before the year's out.

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
Started with me roughly a year ago, and have had help from many many people (too many to name). It started when I wandered into MUEC - The Melbourne University Entrepreneurial Challenge - a business plan competition run by the Melbourne Business School - and found I was the only undergraduate there. With two weeks to the submission date and little chance of joining a team with MBA students, I spoke to the competition organisers about getting more exposure at an undergraduate level. They seemed keen, and the rest is history...

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
The vision is to create a culture of entrepreneurship on campus. A platform for entrepreneurship. I don't want any others to have to go through my experience when I first came to MUEC.

• What type of audience you are targeting?
The students who are smart enough to get in and stay in, but aren't satisfied with doing the work others set for them. A study of one of the big US universities found that the most successful students - those who went on to start their own business or make CEO etc. weren't the top achievers in class. They were the middle band who had the talent but not the drive for the academic program. Those are the people I want!

• How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
Our current concern is the student population at the University of Melbourne. We've got a mailing list that keeps an account of the people who are interested in keeping abreast of what we're up to. I look at the web stats now and then, more out of curiosity than any pressing need. It doesn't matter too much if we get however many outsiders on the site at this point, given the scope of our market.

• How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up? Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
I go to The Hive - a network for Melbourne entrepreneurs that started up earlier this year. It's got a great atmosphere, full of people keen to get things off the ground. A fairly young crowd too.

• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Quote I heard from somebody successful: "If you aren't absolutely embarrassed by your first attempt - you waited too long"

Thanks, Amir for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for the future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, and tech trends, check this out and our coverage on interviews can be found here


Anonymous said…
His initiatives in promoting entrepreneurship in the campus sounds great. It would be very helpful to the students.

This could probably help also check out the YES movie at A must see movie for young entrepreneurs by Louis Lautman.