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What is 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative that was launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
Marita Cheng, VIC (b. 1989)
Name: Marita Cheng
Age: 21 (Born: March 1989)
Marita Cheng’s drive to energise young girls about engineering and science has lost not one erg of energy since 2009, when she was added to that year’s 30under30 list. If anything, her drive has kicked into another gear.
About two years ago, Cheng formed Robogals, a student-run non-profit that aims to engage young schoolgirls in engineering, with the long-term goal of increasing female enrollment in university engineering, science and technology courses.
Last year, Robogal had two chapters — one in Melbourne and one in London. Today, it has 12 chapters in four countries after adding Ireland and New Zealand to the mix. A month-old newsletter, The Amplifier, already has more than 1,000 readers. Robogals this year held events at six cities around the world and generated media mentions in more than 50 distinct outlets in eight nations. A recent exhibition of robotic art in Sydney’s central business district was seen by more than 100,000 people.
It’s enough to make a person break into a robot dance, which 351 people did as a Robogals publicity event. The crew fell short in its goal to set a Guinness World Record for the biggest such dance, but peruse the video below and tell us if anyone seemed disappointed.
Cheng also continues to own and operate Nudge, a service that reminds people, through a phone call or text message, to take their prescriptions meds. The service, which Cheng co-concocted in 2007, is currently sold at five pharmacies.
Cheng also developed a new way to spread the word. After taking a one-month course at SYN, she landed a Saturday morning radio show that she and co-host Mark Parncutt called “Screw It, Just Do It.” Over two seasons she made lots of new friends and connections, including fellow 30under30 alumni, such as Phillip Kingston and Campbell King.
And through Facebook, she plugged into an Sandbox, an international community of under-30 achievers. When she went on holiday to Asia this year, Sandboxers created networking events that allowed her to meet young entrepreneurs in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Pardon us, Marita… we need to take a breath.
“I challenge myself,” Cheng says. “If I’m not growing, then I’m either shrinking or standing still. For me, there is only one choice.”
Marita Cheng’s favorite quote:
“The master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his work and his play, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he is always doing both.”
— Michael Scott Karpovich
Robogals: A really big robot dance
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.