In big cities, securing $10,000 to kick-start your idea could cost you a slice of your business before it’s even successful. Yet here in Townsville we have incredible grants and highly skilled mentors at the Philip Leong Youth Program who can take your idea from a backyard garage gig to a city-wide success. Your dad gets his garage back and you get to boost your idea – there’s really no downside here!
To see how the Philip Leong Youth Program is benefiting our community we spoke to a variety of past winners and gained a whole new level of appreciation for this local initiative.
WHAT IS PHILIP LEONG?
“The idea of Philip Leong is to support youth in the community by getting them involved with business ideas,” says Jaquie Goldsack, past winner and current Philip Leong Deputy Chair. “A lot of people feel like they aren’t good enough to apply, but the committee sees the potential in people. We don’t expect you to come in with this beautiful, thought-out business that is perfect. The bones of a good idea is all you need to apply, plus the determination to see it through. When it comes to the application process, we can help you.”
Mentors are also available to those who do not take out a grant through Philip Leong, with several industry leaders able to help. Yet, despite all this, Jaquie says that general grant myths often stop start-ups, businesses or young entrepreneurs from applying, which has seen previous years with no applicants or winners at all.
“The idea that it’s too hard to apply is a big myth,” Jaquie says. “Another is that you have to have an established business. You don’t. You just need a business idea or you need to be studying or working towards your business idea.”
What really cemented this program for us was the dedication that they had to the community with winners expected to give back to Townsville through employment, purchases, services or more. However, no one quite sums it up like Jaquie.
“If you’re reading this and thinking of someone who should apply, just encourage them. Where else would you get $10,000 towards your business, plus mentoring and business advice? Don’t pass it up.”
Since 2005, Philip Leong has given almost $200,000 towards Townsville’s future businesses. Two recent winners, Kate Thomson and Tyler Giudes have made their mark on a local scale and already have plans to expand beyond Townsville.
MAKING A MARK IN FASHION
Before Tyler graduated high school he had already won competitions for his wearable art pieces. Now, his clothing brand – Tyler Giudes Designs – have been seen on politicians, Fashion Festival runways, in Brisbane pop-up stores and even on women internationally.
Tyler heard about the bursary from a friend and said it forced him to sit down and think about where he wanted the business to go. He worked around his full-time job to perfect the application and eventually won $6,300 through the bursary.
“I used a local business to get me onto the World Wide Web and then I invested in visiting my international manufacturer,” Tyler says. “The bursary literally gave me the ticket to grow my production.”
When it comes to the bursary, Tyler says the biggest thing is not to feel like your idea isn’t worthy. “I really want people to look in to the bursary because no idea is a dumb idea. It might be under-developed, under-researched or not all the questions have been asked yet but it’s never a dumb idea. It’s a great opportunity for the city and there’s nothing like this anywhere else.”
FAST GROWING SPEECH THERAPY
In just eight months, Kate Thomson’s speech therapy business, SpeechEase Speech Therapy, has gone from a one-woman operation to a successful workplace employing four locals and looking to branch out even further.
“We’re looking at putting on another person early next year in Townsville,” Kate says. “We are also opening a clinic in Mackay and formalising our outreach to Mount Isa and potentially Palm Island. Eventually, we would like to have a clinic in most regional towns. The long-term goal is to have one in Rockhampton, Cairns, Mount Isa, Mackay and here.”
Although the idea to start SpeechEase Speech Therapy was already around, Kate says Philip Leong gave her the confidence to get started and give it a go.
“I thought it was a good idea but I didn’t think anyone would believe in it. If I didn’t start when I did, who knows where it’d be.” Kate says.
However, through the help of the Philip Leong leaders and bursary, Kate’s business thrived – and she says others can too.
“I would say just back yourself, because I doubted myself throughout the entire process and then I ended up winning the major bursary, which I couldn’t believe,” she says. “Don’t doubt yourself, back yourself and stick to one idea so you can give your all to something rather than spreading yourself across different ideas.”
PHILIP LEONG FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED IN PHILIP LEONG?
Jump onto their website, download an application form, put on some motivational music and get typing!
WHAT SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE?
Stop selling odd household items on Gumtree to fund your bright ideas. Philip Leong has two scholarships available. One to help with the cost of study, rent, tutoring and textbooks and another designed to assist startups with a current business or business idea. Startups can apply for any amount from $500 up to $10,000 depending on the amount of financial assistance they require.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?
Are you a young spring chicken aged 15 – 26? Do you live in the gorgeously humid paradise that is Townsville? Are you a citizen or permanent resident of Australia? If so, you’re ticking all the boxes. Look at you go! Check out their website for the full criteria.
AM I GOOD ENOUGH?
IS MY IDEA GOOD ENOUGH?
WELL I FEEL A LITTLE BETTER NOW…
Good. Use those positive feelings to put together a cracking application!