Young graduates celebrate business success
by Rosanna Galvin
Two go-getter graduates from the University of South Australia have been recognised for their successful start-ups in the Business SA 2012 SA Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards.
Bachelor of Physiotherapy graduate Emily Smith (pictured right) took home The Advertiser Business Planning Award for her venture Physiyoga, while Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma of IT Management graduate Kelly Northey (pictured below), and her brain child Bamboo Bubby, walked away with the UniSA Start-up Award.
Both women recently completed the Business SA’s South Australian Young Entrepreneur Scheme (SAYES), a dynamic 12 month program which provides selected South Australians with the skills to develop and implement their business ideas.
Smith, who graduated from UniSA in 2008, used her time in SAYES to build up health business Physiyoga in the Adelaide Hills. She said the Scheme complemented her studies at UniSA, which gave her not only the right foundation to practice physiotherapy but also a passion for lifelong learning.
“Physiyoga provides pilates, physiotherapy and yoga to clients, offering a holistic and exercise therapy approach to health,” Smith said.
“UniSA gave me a high quality education to become a successful physiotherapist. It has also given me the drive to pursue further study and the ability to be resourceful and seek out new learning opportunities.
“After my degree, I worked for a year and then travelled to Nepal to volunteer. From there, I continued on to India for nearly five months, training at the internationally recognised yoga school Yoga India. I have since returned to India for further training and plan to continue learning at every opportunity.”
Since its modest inception in September 2011, Physiyoga has gone from strength to strength, moving from a single room for treatments and a hired space in the local community hall for classes to now having its own location with two treatment rooms and space for group classes, which opened early this year.
Meanwhile Northey’s Bamboo Bubby, which is a natural bamboo-cotton sleeping bag designed for babies with eczema and sold predominantly through an online store, began in earnest in March 2012. The product is the direct result of a concept that came to Northey in the dead of night, after yet another sleepless night with her then six-month old baby.
“The idea for my business came during a chronically sleep deprived time approximately two years ago, when our baby was unable to sleep without waking himself to scratch the eczema that covered his whole body and made him just generally really unsettled,” she said.
“Desperate for sleep and to stop the damage caused by scratching, I made the first version of the Bamboo Bubby Bag and it gave our whole family peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.”
Northey credits hard work, combined with the skills she gained at UniSA and the strong support from SAYES, for Bamboo Bubby’s quick success. While at first glance her university degrees don’t appear relevant to her current industry, Northey explains the transferrable skills she’s obtained at university have played an integral role in setting up her own business.
“Both my degrees have helped me build this business. While neither is directly related to this business’ particular industry, the skills from these degrees, and the previous jobs I have filled using these degrees, are very transferrable to what I do in Bamboo Bubby,” Northey said.
“Research skills in particular were a huge help throughout the business planning process, as well as in ongoing keyword research for search engine optimization and for sharing of information on Facebook and Twitter pages. The IT focus of both these degrees has also impacted my business, which has an online sales focus. I enjoy setting up all the various systems to help the business grow in the online world.
“I’m also so grateful to SAYES and the many mentors who give their time freely to help participants. It has instilled a collaborative and sharing approach to how I now conduct my business. My business would not be the same if it weren’t for SAYES.”
For more information on SAYES, of which the UniSA Business School is a program sponsor, click here.