Developing an entrepreneurial mindset

Griffith business graduates Yiota and Thessy Kouzoukas have enjoyed international accolades, showcasing their Sabo Skirt label on the runway at New York Fashion Week and signing a deal with retail giant David Jones.

How do you know if you have a good idea for a new business?

That’s the challenge Dr Julienne Senyard from Griffith Business School sets for the students in her Entrepreneurship and New Business Ventures course.

“If you think of entrepreneurship as a process, where people complete a number of steps to realise their idea, my course is at the very start, where you assess the viability of your idea,” she says.

The course is part of a suite of entrepreneurial-focused study options at Griffith, which attract students from across the university–from business and marketing to science, engineering and IT.

“These courses are designed to help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset, which is valuable irrespective of where you might end up. So, whether you want to start your own business or work in a corporate environment, the skills you learn–like creativity, problem-solving and innovation–will help,” says Julienne.

Professor of Entrepreneurship Evan Douglas helps students take their ideas to the next level in his Business Plan Development course. In this course, offered as the capstone of the Entrepreneurship and Self-employment major, which is available to students in most degree programs, students learn about topics such as business modelling and intellectual property protection. They also learn to apply their knowledge of market research, marketing, production and operations, human resource, and financial management in the integrated context of a potential new business venture.

“The major culminates in the production of a formal business plan and pitching this to a panel of potential investors,” he said.

Evan says a business degree helps students gain the foundation knowledge needed for a successful start-up that might otherwise take years of business experience to learn.

This knowledge, coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset, was essential for Griffith business graduates Yiota and Thessy Kouzoukas. Their Sabo Skirt label, launched while they were students, has had two runway shows at New York Fashion Week and the pair was recently named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.

“When we created Sabo Skirt, we started with a detailed business plan, very similar to those we completed throughout our business degrees. This enabled us to predict, prepare and plan what was required in order to take our online store from an idea to a working concept,” Yiota says.

Likewise, graduate Jeremy Hartley highlights his business studies in economics, accounting and international relations as crucial to the development of his business ventures Hartley Watches and Teatox Australia, which together turned over more than $1 million in 2016.

“My studies have helped me to develop and sharpen my skills as an all-round business person,” he says.

Hartley Watches and Sabo Skirt are just some of the remarkable start-ups launched by Griffith students and graduates.

Find out more about student entrepreneurship at Griffith.