What is the 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative 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.
Owen Yang, 20 (NSW)
Name: Owen Yang
Guess who made the most in the famous Gold Rush? Not the ones who went in search of the gold but the ones who sold the pans to those went after the gold!
Owen Yang’s story is somewhat like that. He built his first tutoring business around the UMAT, while himself dropping out of the race to medical school.
“I had not sat the UMAT, nor did I have any accreditation. The students I was selling my course to were in the same year as me in high school,” he recalls about his startup called UMATE.
Owen may not have had any teaching qualification or accreditation but showed the smarts for business even at that tender age. To strengthen his tutorial offering, he hired university medical students who had done well in their exam as tutors.
“I used their credentials to market my course. Furthermore, I ran free information sessions and offered unique money-back guarantees,” he says.
What was remarkable was this: Owen built UMATE, together with three friends, while interning in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and subsequently while at UNSW studying five subjects.
“Overcoming this required not only hard work but creativity. I learned the power of outsourcing tasks that weren’t crucial for me to do. Furthermore, UMATE leveraged off another company called PrepGenie, who helped us with our content generation,” he says.
Eventually, Owen never went to medical school but turned to establish another tutorial called Australian IB Tuition.
This one capitalises on the growing popularity of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Australia. AIBT works connects students in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne with tutors spread across the country, and takes a commission on each lesson.
The business is almost fully automated to generate passive income. It is run by two managers who hire and organise tutorials, invoice students and pay tutors. Owen and his founding partner work almost exclusively on expanding the business rather than the day-to-day activities, and are currently examining international markets.
“I am talented at recognising areas of demand in society, particularly within the education sector and subsequently meeting the demand. I am not afraid to take calculated risks for ventures where there is a great possibility of a high return,” says Owen.
To Owen, being an entrepreneur isn’t about the money. It is about the ability to live life on his own terms and to do work that he truly enjoys.
Anthill asks: Owen Yang, have you ever been lucky, punk?
“I think my greatest luck is the friends who I have worked with on my businesses. I was mid-way through an investment banking internship when I was introduced to another entrepreneur over Skype. Within a few minutes of talking, I felt that there was much we could learn from each other – straightaway, I organised to take a flight to Melbourne to meet him. This is how UMATE began.”
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.