Entrepreneurial prize supports international social guide
by Lisa Thorpe
UniSA graduate and Managing Director of Adelaide company Insider Publishing James Martin (pictured right), and his team have been presented with the annual Pank Prize for Entrepreneurial Activity for their Insider Guides, which help international students find their feet in their new cities.
James, who graduated in 2010 from UniSA with a Bachelor of International Studies and Marketing, recognised the need for a social guide for international students who have arrived in Adelaide to study, and so Insider Publishing was born.
With friend and fellow UniSA graduate Sam Trezise, now Production Manager, James established an annual free guidebook, called Insider Guides – International Student Guide, targeting international students arriving in Australia to give them inside tips on getting the most out of their city while studying here.
James said he first recognised the need for a guide when working in a bar in the city.
“I was working in a bar in Rundle Mall and many international students came in without any local student friends,” he said.
“I realised that there was a huge gap in knowledge between what local students knew about Adelaide compared to what international students knew.
“After doing a bit of a business analysis and some further research, it became obvious that a business could be built on giving international students the inside word on living in Australia.
“International students are often price-sensitive and time-restricted because of study. They want to know how to enjoy Adelaide like a student.
“For example, where can one find a cheap meal late at night? Where are some cheap weekend trips?”
Following the guide’s expansion into Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales, Insider Publishing created Australia’s first smartphone app for international students, Australia – Student Guide, a continuously updated resource which provides information and suggestions on restaurants, events and activities in each city.
Announced in April, the Pank Prize for Entrepreneurial Activity was established in 2004 to help set up innovative new business ventures.
The $15,000 cash prize is provided through the Pank Family together with guidance and support from UniSA provided through the School of Management and ITEK, UniSA's commercialisation company.
Peter Balan, Senior Lecturer within the Division of Business, provides mentoring support to winners over the year to help set up the business.
He said it’s good to see proactive entrepreneurs acknowledged with such an award.
“It’s great to see a young entrepreneur like James being acknowledged for the hard work he has put into a start-up company,” he said.
“Entrepreneurs don’t just create business to make money, they provide innovation and a service to the community and the guides produced by Insider Publishing are clearly valuable to students studying in a foreign country.”
James says the smartphone app was a natural progression for the business as it continues to grow.
“We looked at the way international students use their mobiles and thought an app has to be the next step in the evolution of our guidebooks,” he said.
“We could build in unique functionality that would make it a really useful tool for students to have in their pockets.
“Our app and guides help international students enjoy the city from the ground up and not like a short-term visitor.”