Young entrepreneur goes global

When BSSC Year 11 student Jackson Landry discovered TiE Young Entrepreneurs program last year, he had no idea it would take him on a journey of learning and self-discovery, culminating in a trip to Silicon Valley in the USA.

TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) is a global program aimed at fostering future generation of entrepreneurs. It focuses on teaching entrepreneurship to high school students and helping them discover the rewards and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur.

Students go through classroom session modules focused on different aspects of business and entrepreneurship, then write and present their own business plans.

“Over a period of eight weeks I travelled to Swinburne Uni every fortnight for a four-hour lecture,” Jackson said. “The lectures covered everything from building an idea, to making a business plan, and how to present powerfully.”

Jackson then teamed up with two other participants, Devnith DeSilva  and Anirudh Prakash, to create a product from scratch and present it to their peers and industry professionals.

“Our product was a low-cost boxed set of electronic components, marketed to students and hobbyists—with an educational guide to teach customers how to program the equipment,” Jackson said. “The jury were impressed by the educational aspect of teaching programming combined with the low cost of the hardware.”

With the other members of Jackson’s team living in Melbourne, the trio spent a lot of time on Skype with their mentor Rod Smith, to fine tune their idea.

“I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of the guys,” Mr Smith said. “They’ve done a great job of working together as a team; they’ve tackled the project with enthusiasm; and have been open to new ideas. I’m very heartened by the whole experience.”

As the winning team, the boys were rewarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley where they visited the headquarters of Apple and Google, Stanford University, saw Steve Jobs home, and presented their winning product idea to their US counterparts.

Jackson is now a student ambassador for the TYE program, encouraging other young people to get involved and explore their potential as young entrepreneurs.

“You really do gain skills for life, not just entrepreneurship,” Jackson said. “The workshop on how to present powerfully has made a real difference to me. I’m so much more confident in how I present ideas now.

“The program requires commitment, but if you’re up for the challenge it really is lifechanging.”

Expressions of interest are now open for this year’s program and Jackson says the organisers are particularly keen for more females to apply in 2017.

If you’re interested, check out the You Tube clip featuring Jackson and his winning team, and fill out the expression of interest form.