Round trip from Queensland to Texas

Earlier this year Griffith University student Tahlya Boreham travelled to Texas for the 3 Day Startup Global Roundup. Currently in her second year of studying towards her bachelor of business in entrepreneurship and self-employment and a bachelor of international business and international management, she tells us about competing to win the ‘worst pitch’ award, her favourite startup weekends and her plans for the future.

Tahlya Boreham

Can you tell me how you got involved with 3 Day Startup and their events?
In October last year I was involved in a 3 Day Startup (3DS) event down on the Gold Coast through Griffith University. We did a startup weekend, where you create a business idea on a Friday and then throughout the weekend you create the business plan and the business model, get customer validation, and then on Sunday you present to a panel of investors.

The team that I was in were working on the idea of a life saving band, targeting children and tourists who planned to go swimming in the sea. If they were in trouble they could send a signal to lifeguards and an inflatable would blow up to help them swim. We also planned to go on a use drones to help locate the individual.

I went to the weekend with my best friend who is in PR and there were two girls and six guys all studying engineering. It was really interesting as they were all different types of engineers and we all had really different perspectives and strengths. 
 
At the end the 3DS people who ran it were like ‘hey guys, you should come over for the global roundup’, and I was like ‘I’ll be there’. 
 
Was that the first startup weekend you have been to?
It was my first time to a 3DS event, but I also took part in Australia’s first Indigenous Startup weekend in Brisbane. I got to work with a great group from the Suncorp they came with a team that I just grouped up with. That was in August last year.

How did you end up in Texas for the 3DS Global Roundup?
I applied for some scholarships, Griffith University helped out a lot and then Advance Queensland paid for my 3DS ticket. I flew over with my mum, and I thought it was going to be a stressful weekend, we are going to have a full long weekend to do exactly what we did on the Gold Coast. Instead it was a massive learning guide on how to start up a business, presentations from successful people, different workshops for a range of business types, how to bootstrap and how to grow your business.

What was your favourite moment/were there any stand out ideas?
On the Saturday, which was a fully packed day, we started at 8am and finished at 9pm and flying in from Australia you get quite jet lagged; so I was tired already. So at 6pm they decided we would do what you usually do in a startup weekend and pitch an idea about a business problem. But instead of pitching like it was the next big thing, you pitched the worst thing. Instead of having serious intense conversations it was like who can come up with the worse idea and pitch it to the group. You could make up the worst slide deck, so everything you could do wrong in a slide deck: different fonts, memes and too much information on a page. That was one of the best parts.

Overall I got to travel and go to a great conference, and see the United States version on entrepreneurship which is a vastly growing community. I also got to experience an amazing opportunity, by being on a panel on the Sunday. They asked some of the students to be on an international entrepreneurship panel and talk about how entrepreneurship is in their country. I was one of three Australians who went over with me so we could bounce of each other.

Do you have your own startup or business idea that you’re working on? 
I haven’t found my niche market or unique calling as yet; hopefully I find it by the time I graduate, if not I’ll continue on that journey.

What excites you about studying in Queensland? 
Griffith University offer a lot of programs, and this is the first program of its type. I think we’re starting to adopt new technologies and new emerging trends it’s becoming more apparent to us that we can be entrepreneurs and we can start our own businesses, and I know it’s not easy, but we can move towards a world in which people do not have so much stress in their lives. Queensland isn’t cold, and it’s got a bit more of a laid bad culture than Sydney or Melbourne.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received? 
I think the best piece of advice was from a lovely lady, Cheryl Peate, when I was interning with Ernst and Young last year. I’m indigenous and she came up to me and said ‘“’can we go have a chat?’, and so I went and had a chat with her. She said the best thing you can do if you’re going to start a business is to think about yourself, how you want to achieve a successful career for yourself, and achieve that work live balance. And then go back into the community and give back to the community. Study for yourself, prove that you can do that and then go out and spread the joy and your success and you can teach others how to become successful.

Do you have a message for Queenslanders who might have an idea or a passion that they think could make a difference?

Go for it. If you think you can change the world, or improve at least one person’s life, then go for it.

I think a lot of people, once they get past their 30s have a lot of commitments and they might have an idea, but they keep pushing it back because they have so many responsibilities. Just go for it and if it fails you can learn from it.

What is next for you? 
At the end of the year I’ll be travelling to East Timor, for a volunteering program with Project Everest, which will be very interesting. I’ll be over there for one month helping implement water infrastructure and then I hope to travel to Canada next year on an overseas exchange, and do another internship at Ernst and Young. I’d like to go on to graduate and pursue honours.

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