Recognising the increasing importance of entrepreneurship education at tertiary level, Viclink recently appointed Abby Buchanan into the newly-created role of Student Entrepreneurship Manager.
In the past, it was rare for a student to have entrepreneurship experience on their CV; today, employers often seek students with entrepreneurship skills and experience when hiring for entry-level positions.
“My goal is to support Victoria’s students with any entrepreneurial education and opportunities that will help them to graduate with a job,” says Abby (pictured). “The more we can help them to engage with real businesses on real-life problems, the more skills and confidence the students will build; and that will ultimately lead them to either create their own careers as entrepreneurs, or make them highly sought-after by employers.”
So why do employers often prefer students with entrepreneurial experience? Abby explains: “Not only have they learnt how to be accountable for their own actions, and how to execute successfully, they also have the soft skills – such as communication and sales – that are necessary to be successful in business today. Clever companies know that if they don’t innovate, they won’t exist in the future. By recruiting young entrepreneurs, they bring new perspectives and ideas into their businesses.”
As her role develops, Abby says she plans to promote entrepreneurship more widely across the University, not just to the more obvious disciplines such as design, and the sciences. She is currently investigating new education programmes, supporting student-led clubs such as the Student Entrepreneurship Club and managing the Viclink Futures Programme – a summer ‘boot camp’ where graduates learn how to develop, build and bring a product to market.
To ensure students are aware of all the opportunities available to them through the local innovation community, Abby also works closely with partners such as BizDojo, Creative HQ and Lightning Lab.
After joining Viclink in 2009 as an intern (whilst finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree), Abby then studied part-time and worked full-time at Grow Wellington as the Internships and Tertiary Engagement Manager, where she continued to develop her interest in Intellectual Property (IP) and business development. Having now completed a second degree in law, focusing on IP, commercial and employment law, Abby is back at Viclink full-time in her role as Student Entrepreneurship Manager.
“Thanks to economic constraints and global competition, the old career pathways are virtually non-existent,” says Abby. “In today’s world, you’ve got to create your own path, so I’m really excited to be helping our students with the right education opportunities and experience to do just that!”