Home Startup & Entrepreneurship Marita Cheng, 2009 Anthill 30under30 winner

Marita Cheng, 2009 Anthill 30under30 winner


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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. Anthill’s editorial team then trawls through hundreds of applications and identifies and profiles the top 30 Australian entrepreneurs under the age of 30. The process culminates in an event held in Melbourne where the 30 winners will network and celebrate. We’ll be releasing this year’s Anthill 30under30 winners over the next couple of weeks via our Twitter account – youngest to oldest.

Name: Marita Cheng
Age: 20 (1989)
State: VIC
Industry: Robotics, Education, Medical
Companies: Robogals Inc., Nudge Pty Ltd

Marita Cheng is still at university (studying a mechatronics engineering and computer science double-degree), but she already owns and runs two businesses.

Robogals is a non-profit organisation in two countries whose objective is to get more girls into engineering and technology disciplines at university by training university students in robotics, and then having them teach at schools. Nudge is a phone call or SMS reminder service, sold through pharmacies, for patients taking prescription medications.

Cheng is currently planning a Robogals camp in Australia and the UK, as well as a double-fundraising event in Hyde Park, London and the Ministry of Sound. Nudge won the undergraduates division of the Melbourne University Entrepreneurs Challenge, and received rave reviews from VCs, angels and mentors in Helsingborg, Sweden at Mini Seedcamp Sweden 2009.

In addition to Robogals and Nudge, Cheng has set up mew, a robot-building society, and is in the process of helping to bring NACUE, an international entrepreneurial organisation, to Australia. And she has scheduled another four self-started projects to work on in the following year. But she doesn’t aspire to be a serial entrepreneur. Why? “Because my dream is to be the CEO of a robotics company that I found – the Apple of robotics. I think I’ll concentrate on this company, once it’s founded.”

It’s a big vision, but you wouldn’t back against her having a red hot go.

Life according to Marita:

What set of circumstances do you think best qualifies you as an entrepreneur?

“I’m terrified, but I do things anyway – I make an effort to do things that scare me. I hold myself to account – if I want something to be done, then I know that it’s my responsibility for causing it to happen, not anyone else’s. I listen – so that I know what people are trying to communicate. I study engineering – if something isn’t going the way I want it to, I find another way. I love success, but know the rewards in failure. I don’t take things personally. I appreciate people, and I revel in the present.”


Here’s a University of Melbourne video explaining the Robogals concept (it doesn’t feature Marita, but does provides a good overview).