St Andrew's Cathedral School

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StartUp, up and away: student businesses take-off


Since its launch, StartUp has inspired students to think creatively about coming up with business ideas. Where are those ideas now? Ethan Crosweller caught up with two StartUp participants who turned their business idea into a reality. 

iUpgrade – Jamie Sullivan (Year 11) 

What is your business?  

I’m focused on preserving the life of old Apple computers. You can save a lot of money and help the environment by upgrading your computer instead of buying a new one. That’s where my business comes into the picture.  

How did you come up with the idea? 

Once day it just sprung into my head. I was getting tired of my own Mac and I realised I could upgrade my computer. I’m a pretty techy guy so I thought why not give this a shot and then I joined the StartUp program. It took off from there.  

What’s been the hardest part of operating a business?  

Getting customers is not easy. I thought the difficult part was generating the business, coming up with the idea and improving on that idea. But that’s the easy part compared to getting customers and providing them with the service they expect. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt from this. It’s an art to understand what people want and how to get people on your side.

How has StartUp helped you along the way?  

StartUp really helped me focus on improving my business. I had help from a mentor and he helped me generate a business plan. I ended up winning $500 at the StartUp Finale which was also useful in growing my business. 

Take a look at Jamie’s tech business here 


Joyen Creations – Emma Chau (Year 9) 

What is your business? 

I create affordable, cute crocheted toys and polymer clay creations which you can give as a gift to your family and friends or even purchase one for yourself! 

How did you come up with the idea? 

I’ve been artsy for a long time. When I was younger I created polymer clay creations and I also learnt how to crochet last year. I taught myself how to create toys and create gifts that I could possibly sell in the future. 

Who are your target customers? 

I’m mostly selling to teenagers because my products are affordable for them to buy, it’s a good price point for them. But my crocheted toys are also good for little kids. I’ve made gifts for some of my family friend’s children and they love the toys. They carry them around with them everywhere. One day I hope to take my business to a market because it seems like no one’s offering what I create.

How has StartUp helped you along the way? 

StartUp was a very helpful starting point to learn how to ideate, research my target market, prototype and also how to advertise and pitch to audiences. Those are basically the things you need to learn how to start a business and that’s what StartUp teaches you. 

To view Emma’s wonderful creations, click here 

The StartUp Finale 2021 is fast approaching with a fresh new group of students and business ideas. You’re invited. Tune in on 20 July at 6pm here: