Each year the University awards current and future students’ dozens of scholarships to support them in their higher education journey. One of those awards is the QUT Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship, which is specifically awarded to budding student entrepreneurs who have shown a drive and passion for the pursuit of entrepreneurial success. This year, six young people were awarded with this prize.
The scholarship was first offered in 2021, and to date there are 18 young scholars who have been awarded this prize. Applicants must be in their first year of tertiary student and have recently graduated from high school. One of the eligibility criteria for the scholarship is that applicants must be “making a positive difference through entrepreneurial action such as establishing and operating an entrepreneurial venture for profit or for purpose”.
New scholars are able to build their personal and professional networks through events at the Foundry, group mentoring, and through participating in all the programs that the University offers. They also receive financial support of $24,000 provided over three years of their degree.
Glass asked Professor Rowena Barrett, QUT’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Entrepreneurship), what qualities she looks for in entrepreneurial scholarship applicants.
“Scholarships seek to recognise entrepreneurial passion and activity amongst incoming QUT students in any degree. Entrepreneurial activity is wide and at QUT we see entrepreneurship as ‘the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled’. So, student don’t have to be running a business (but some are), they could be organising activity that has a social purpose or working on a project that bring value to others.”
Professor Barrett said the scholarship program was established because she could see budding entrepreneurs who were experiencing success while at school, but were then being forced to choose between continuing their studies or committing 100% of their time to their business.
“This scholarship provides some financial resources but more importantly social support, mentors and networks to help them continue on their entrepreneurial path while studying. It’s important, as an entrepreneurial mindset and capability amplifies discipline knowledge gained through study, and provides students with choice about how they want to build their career.”
Keep reading to learn about each of the QUT Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship winners for 2023 and how they plan on changing the world.
Jack Howie is a Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design student, who has been working as a bicycle mechanic for the last four years. While working at a big Brisbane bike shop, he set out to build his own toolset and soon realised that good quality tools were hard to find in Australia. So, he decided to do it himself.
“Two years later and I’m working with suppliers all around the world to provide Australian mechanics with the best tools I can find.”
Jack said while the scholarship money is definitely one of the main reasons he applied, one of the best parts of this award is the opportunities offered to students through the QUT Foundry.
“The best part about these opportunities and events is that they are open to all QUT Students – so if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, it’s definitely worth checking out.”
“In 10 years, I see my business in a very different place to where it is today. I’ve recently been doing a lot of work experimenting with 3D printing and CNC machining. I want to continue to develop my design and fabrication skills through my degrees and move the business towards designing and manufacturing products in house, rather than just retailing someone else’s products.
“In 10 years, I’d also love to have a strong team of employees around me with different teams for product development, customer service, and order fulfilment.”
Sarah Small is studying a double degree in Finance and Industrial Design. Even though she is only recently out of high school, she already has plenty of experience in running a business; together with her sister, she ran a language school teaching Mandarin to children, and she runs an outfit hiring business.
“Being lucky enough to be fluent in Mandarin enabled my sister and I to teach younger kids the Chinese culture and language, which has been such an enjoyable experience.”
Through the QUT Foundry, she has been able to access mentoring and attend networking events, while working to improve her current businesses and work towards future plans.
“Choosing QUT, and getting this scholarship, has had so many benefits – not only the funding for start-up projects but also being part of such a creative, supportive, and growing community.”
“In 10 years’ time, I wish to make more of my business ideas a reality, and to improve my existing businesses. I’d also like to expand my knowledge and network to increase opportunities, not only for myself but for the others around me, both at QUT and in the real world.”
Sabrina Guse is studying a double degree of Environmental Science and Journalism. She is a self-described ‘green thumb’ who loves being outdoors, gardening and advocating for climate action.
She was inspired to become more involved in climate action after watching a David Attenborough documentary in high school which opened her eyes to the serious problem of animal extinction.
“After watching that film and realising just how dire the situation is with animal extinction, I decided it was time for me to take action and learn a bit more about climate change. So, I headed to our school library.
“I borrowed a book called 2040 by Damon Gameau and it shifted my perspective on climate change from this looming, insurmountable catastrophe to a problem where small everyday changes can make a big difference.”
She then joined and became a leader on her school’s environmental committee, which installed a veggie garden in campus. This led to the work she is doing with EnviroMentoring right now.
While working as an educator at an outside of hours school care program, Sabrina created ‘Earth Day’ programs which have evolved into a business. EnviroMentoring runs term programs and workshops for students at schools and OSHC programs around Brisbane to educate and motivate more students to action.
Covey Reyes is studying a double degree in Biomedical Engineering and Business. They became inspired to help people in developing countries access prosthetic devices after noticing the vast difference in what elite paralympic athletes have access to and those living in underdeveloped nations.
“With an egalitarianist perspective, closing the gap of technological accessibility between elite athletes and average citizens is my greatest ambition. It is my passion to provide another step towards equality for all people.”
Their goal is to build an organisation which provides highly technological prosthetic limbs – such as legs and arms – to less fortunate individuals in third world countries.
“Western prosthetics and orthotic equipment are yet to be accessible in developing areas across Asia. Moreover, a study conducted by The University of Southampton approximated that 80% of people worldwide are unable to access these products and services.”
“Within the next 10 years, I envision the business as a key player in contributing artificial limbs to those in underdeveloped nations.”
Peter Samios is studying a Bachelor of Business – International, majoring in Finance. When he was just 11-years-old, he started getting into website development and he has been actively participating in the e-commerce industry for the last six years.
He has launched, scaled and sold multiple businesses over the years, and currently owns a dropshipping Discord community with more than ten thousand members.
“Time is an invaluable resource, especially during our formative years. It is crucial to be discerning about how we allocate our time and with whom we choose to spend it with. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences and removing those who might have a detrimental impact is so important.”
“Obviously, there’s much more to entrepreneurialism, however, the liberation of time that can be attained is arguably its most significant advantage, emancipating individuals from the perpetual obligation to exchange their time for monetary compensation.”
He is a strong advocate for the side hustle, and believes that dedicating the majority of your time to personal growth and physical fitness is key.
His best piece of advice for young people looking to get into entrepreneurship is, “freedom will only come when you no longer trade your time for money”.
Abigail Lowden runs Abrolow, a sustainable jewellery brand that creates luxurious yet affordable pieces. She has always wanted to make a positive difference in the world, and wanted to be an inventor when she was growing up. She started her entrepreneurial journey selling crushed glass beads on Etsy, followed by handmade cards and jewellery at the markets.
“I envision Abrolow being accessible to everyone. I warmly invite you to join me on this extraordinary journey. Together, we can embrace the transformative power of positive change, one stunning piece at a time.”
If you are interested in entrepreneurship, then check out the Foundry located in B Block at Gardens Point campus or follow QUT Entrepreneurship on socials to keep up to date with their workshops and events.