Are you tired of the life of office worker and the traditional office environment?
Have you ever thought about being an entrepreneur to launch your own ‘Startup Company’?
It’s the life of 9-to-5 office job, day-by-day monotonously:
You are stuck in an extremely crowded tram in the morning rush hour, just like sardines in a can.
You hate it so much! So much!
However, you cannot escape from here. It’s the only way bringing you to the office.
After a long day, three meetings, one proposal, numerous emails and office works, you finally finish work and come home. You are exhausted now and just want to lie down on the couch without any disruption.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle,” Steve Jobs said.
Startup is a new trend or new option of future work. According to serial entrepreneur, academician and Silicon Valley legend Steve Blank, a startup is ” a temporary organisation designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model“, which is different from a small business or a large corporation.
And StartupAUS defines a startup as an “emerging high-growth company that is using technology and innovation to tackle a large and most often global market“. Compared to traditional companies, startups’ team and operation are much more flexible, innovative and creative.
Thanks to the improvement of technology, the accesses and the strategies of marketing have transformed from traditional media, such as television, print resource and radio to digital platforms and channels. People nowadays tend to shop, consume information or share the link via mobile devices based on the ubiquitous node of Internet. That is, it’s a massive and potential market for digital business or so-called ‘E-commerce‘.
Australia is currently in the time of a startup explosion. According to Google trends, there was a dramatical increase of startups in Australia from 2005 to 2015.
Startups accelerators and incubators are good choices! However, many people are still curious about ‘how to start a startup’. The question can be answered by numerous programs, supports, lectures or competitions, which open to individuals or startup teams in Melbourne.
As a city with the second highest numbers of startup companies in Australia, Melbourne has many accelerator organisations, such as Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) , Startup Melbourne, and Startup Victoria, help and give potential candidates support to start their startups journeys from idea generation through to scaling.
Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), based on University of Melbourne, provides a range of assistance, including workshops, programs, forums and events, for entrepreneurs and guides them through all stages of development in Australia’s startup ecosystem. What’s more, MAP offers the networks, mentors and resources for entrepreneurs have access to make the journey easier.
The Melbourne Accelerator Program supplies $20,000 funding and free workplace for 10 teams per year, whereas the only eligibility requirement is at least one affiliation, a student, staff or alumni, of any year from the University of Melbourne. For those who are not from the University of Melbourne but also passionate about startups company, MAP also launches a pipeline program about various activities on a global level for them.
After fierce competition, series of pitches and interviews, the 10 luckiest teams have been selected with strict criteria for MAP16 Startup Accelerator!
“ There are most diverse 10 teams this year,” Sarah Gundlach, Marketing Manager at MAP said.
In terms of the MAP program in 2016, it is a year in a variety of startups participants, across ages, ethnicities and the type of industries. The diversity of ideas or concepts from the 10 ventures are included from physical products, like ‘bacon seasoning’ or ‘Altered Electric Skateboards’ to data service, ‘algorithm software analysis data’ and a range of software and hardware companies.
STARTUP MUSTER 2015 REPORT shows, the majority of startup founders in 2015 were male, tertiary educated and aged 30-35 in Australia.
“There are more female founders apply for the program. That’s a good start! And we do have 2 female founders as the part of those this year,” Sarah said.
Even though the proportion of female participants increases from year to year. MAP still endeavours to work towards getting more women engaged in Australia’s startup ecosystem.
They ran various special meetups and events for females particularly with the partnership of the largest Female Founders’ Melbourne. In addition, MAP has a great range of female mentors with a strong connection helping to revise member’s strategies or ideas as well.
The way of starting a business is changed because of the Internet. Most of the startups do not have their physical office or store! Entrepreneurs might just build up and work the business in their bedrooms or garage via online platforms and resources in the beginning. It helps them reduce the cost of developing a new business and operation.
The Melbourne Accelerator Program from MAP offers a comfortable co-working environment, a physical location at Lab-14, for the newest MAP 2016 accelerators. And it is the first day for those teams working together in the same space on June 1.
Sarah said the idea of co-working space or house where people can work on their own project and interact with other entrepreneurs who face the same challenges.
“When they come to here, they can cooperate and bump ideas of the other people in the office.
“That gives them ideas; that gives them motivation, and they fell like they got the support network around them”.
Startups not like the 9-to-5 job. Startup founders are working all the time! According to the data from MAP, co-working space also gives accelerators a physical break between their home and their work life. It is a way to draw a line between their life and work.
‘Funds’ is one of the important parts relating to the success for the initial stage of startups. And it is the key element in the start of the journey. So where are the funds from?
Some of them have successfully approached investors; some of them launch the idea on the crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, or do the hackathons and win the prize money for their project; and lots of founders are self-funding.
“No weekend! They don’t have the weekend. The 9-to-5 job is to support their project with passions. They work at their day job and also work hard on the weekend,” Sarah said.
But don’t worry; there is a bright vibe for startups founders in the future. In order to help the growth of Australian startups system, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged a further $15 million as the funding for Australian startups to expand the government’s incubator support program.
The culture of the startups is always a hot topic. In April of 2014, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky wrote a letter, Don’t Fuck Up the Culture, to his employees. As one of the successful international startups ‘Airbnb’ around the world, the strong company culture is the most crucial part of a startup company expected to run long term.
“The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation.
“When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous,” Brian said.
There is no definitely a good or bad culture, nonetheless, it’s either a strong or weak culture. Because every startups are unique, they are different from each other.
Kishan Thurairasa, CEO and co-founder of Jobbop also the 2015 MAP accelerator, agrees with the importance of culture in a startup company while talked about that is very different culture for startups from different scales to the stages.
“ We won’t give up until we made something successful – you can argue that is the culture,” Kishan said.
Generally, startups’ product or service is more creative and innovative than traditional industries. Kishan said if people would like to have new ideas, there are the 2 vital things have to follow – ‘being a problem solver’ and ‘estimating accurately where is the potential market in the future’.
“First of all, just start with problems which can be fixed. And ideally big problems.
“Is it in potentially a big market? If it’s not in a big market, then think about that is it in a growing market and rapidly expanding one”.
Talking about the toughest thing Kishan met when the process of the startup he built, he said that regardless of how hard did you work, it usually takes longer than you expect.
“Understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
“You can’t just rock up and expect success. Not anyone can do it, but if you really work hard then you can,” Kishan said.
The revolution of the Internet and digital online environment makes the world become much more dynamic, full of challenges but also opportunities in the future. According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)’s report, it is the era of the entrepreneur.
“The startup is definitely a trend of the future work.
“It’s a generation thing! Younger generations are looking for more flexible ways to approach the work or the motivation from different inventive things,” Sarah said.
For those potential candidates who want to get involved in the startups system, Ivan Lim, CEO and co-founder of Brosa Furnitures and Greywing Mattresses, has 2 suggestions that people should equip with are ‘Resourcefulness’ and ‘Resilience’.
“Resourcefulness – the ability to figure things out, learn quickly and problem solve without needing a huge amount of time, money or guidance.
“Resilience – the ability to keep moving forward and focusing on making progress even in the face of huge odds or overwhelming opposition”.
Lastly, golden quote for the future of work, startups and entrepreneurship, from Peter F. Drucker:
“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice”.