BY NATASHA SCHAPOVA
Two Monash University students have created an online platform for students to publicise their startups in a bid to increase the number of young entrepreneurs.
Actea, co-founded by Ishaan Kotecha and Deep Bhattacharyya, launched in April and aims to connect student entrepreneurs across Australia with like-minded people to help develop their businesses.
“Myself and Deep believe that university students are very talented and skilled and that a lot of the time students are too shy to get themselves out there, whether that be with a skill or a project,” Mr Kotecha said.
The website is designed to help assist in the financial stresses of starting a business, while giving other university students the opportunity to utilise their skills.
Mr Kotecha said Actea helps start-ups find local talent instead of sourcing affordable workers online, who may not meet the criteria of skills required.
“The traditional pathway [to building a website] is you can either hire someone who is a proper web developer, which is really expensive for a uni student and also potentially hard to find...[or] if you want to find someone who’s cheap you may end up using a platform and finding someone who’s in a completely different country where you don’t have much visibility over what is actually going on,” Mr Kotecha said.
Riverside Creative founder Sanjaka Wickremasinghe used Actea to find both his business partner and marketing employees for his photography business.
Mr Wickremasinghe said Actea fills a gap in the market and if it did not exist, he would have had to use an unfiltered platform such as Monash Stalkerspace.
“I think Actea really does bridge the gap between an idea and a small business,” Mr Wickremasinghe said.
“Obviously we aren’t skilled in every discipline so having the ability to connect with those who are is amazing.”
Co-director of entrepreneurial business Startup Grind in Melbourne, Warwick Donaldson, said he wished innovation and technology was discussed during his time at Monash University.
“I didn’t really socialise much with people at [university] and I think with a site like Actea I would have found my people who are always solving problems and tinkering with ideas,” Mr Donaldson said.
Mr Donaldson said student entrepreneurs are advantaged because they have “access to university resources, lecturers and motivated students”.
“[Students] haven’t been taught yet what the industry thinks isn’t possible,” Mr Donaldson said.
“I see a lot of students trying to solve problems that more experienced people think is either impossible or requires a huge amount of resources to do.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of new business entries has risen from 284,153 in 2014 compared to 354,520 in 2018.
Australian entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 24 are the least common amongst business starters according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
Mr Kotecha hopes the number will rise with Actea helping to “motivate students to put themselves out there” and reduce the shyness around becoming a young entrepreneur.