A Melbourne business focused on empowering international students and graduates with professional internships and work placements has opened a co-working space dedicated to helping them build startups from Victoria.
Outcome-Hub, established by Outcome.Life co-founder Gerard Holland and Domenic Saporito, will be officially launched on May 11 at an event, with guest speakers to include LaunchVic chief executive Dr Kate Cornick.
The co-working space received a $94,510 LaunchVic grant, revealed in January this year, to encourage international students in the state to build startups. It’s receiving the payment from LaunchVic in instalments throughout 2017.
According to Holland and Saporito, international education is one of Victoria’s most important industries, with the state currently hosting 175,000 international students.
“The reason we actually started a co-working space was there was no one really having a focus to help internationals,” Holland tells StartupSmart.
Outcome-Hub, which has been operating for “a couple of months” now, will accommodate up to 60 people at full capacity, says Holland.
It currently has 20 work desks with a further 36 to become available in the next two weeks.
“[International students] have left their families, their friends, their social networks, their business networks back at home,” he says.
The lack of these core connections and the general challenges involved with starting up new ventures means it’s vital international students and graduates with a “real appetite” for entrepreneurship are bridged into the startup ecosystem, Holland says.
“A big part of what we do is actually connecting those networks for them to help connect them into the business community,” he says.
Holland says Outcome-Hub plans to run between 40 to 50 events a year, which will include regular talks by local entrepreneurs and tech companies like Xero, as well as networking opportunities and access to support from lawyers and accountants for founders.
The international community of founders already working at the hub is building a variety of startups ranging from a marketplace for luxury vehicles to new edtech solutions.
“Last Wednesday, there wasn’t a spare desk,” says Holland.
Holland and Saporito are aiming to create a co-working community that is 70% international students and graduates and 30% local businesses and startups.
The key purpose of this, says Holland, is to drive “integration” and help talent from overseas forge critical relationships with Victoria’s startup sector. The goal is for the entrepreneurial activity this creates to boost the state’s ranking as a global startup destination.
“Our co-working space is not so much a real estate play but it’s an enabler for us to get more international students and graduates in Victoria involved in the ecosystem and startups,” says Holland.