Curious entrepreneur turns ad-Venturer

Debora (second from right with oar) and the Venturer Mission 2 crew

A love and curiosity for entrepreneurship saw recent Bond University Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws graduate, Debora Kocak, embark on an adventure to the remote wilderness of the west coast of Tasmania after she was selected to take part in last month’s Queensland Venturer Mission 2 Program.

The Venturer Program is a State Government Advance Queensland initiative which entails a seven-day mission involving a range of activities and challenges designed to build the hallmarks of all successful entrepreneurs: mental stamina and physical resilience.

Debora said the Venturer Program, organised by Ben Southall, Advance Queensland’s ‘Adventurer in Residence’ - and 2009 winner of the ‘Best Job in the World’ – is a beneficial program that gives participants the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally.

“It’s a fantastic program which provides immense value, not only through building physical and emotional resilience, but also by enabling participants to grow their professional network, to think outside the box, push boundaries and to walk away with countless mentors and extended networks,” she said.

Queensland’s Inaugural Chief Entrepreneur, Mark Sowerby, said the mission was all about getting budding entrepreneurs out of their comfort zone to help build resilience and develop their perseverance and determination.

“To become a successful entrepreneur, you’re looking at a 10-year journey. The Venturer Program is about building that physical and mental resilience for the long haul,” Mr Sowerby said.

Debora said the Venturer Program facilitated the forging of connections with successful start-up founders of companies including CodeBots, RedEye Apps, Pet Wellness Centre, Best Life Adventures, Canaria and Audeara. 

“I was surrounded by highly intelligent and like-minded people who had a passion for entrepreneurship, and I was lucky enough to be connected with several individuals who have since helped me generate several career opportunities,” she said.

“One of my current mentors, Stewart Glynn – who works closely with Steve Baxter – connected me with multiple start-up owners and I have been able to secure an opportunity in 2018 working in a start-up that closely aligns with my passions in the arts and travel.”

Fellow entrepreneurs who took part in the program hailed from across Australia and around the world, including the UK, US and Zimbabwe.

“The group included 15 people of varying ages, diverse backgrounds, and different industries — yet all aligned with one core calling; a passion for entrepreneurship whether it be as founders, ecosystem supporters, government supporters, aspiring entrepreneurs or investors,” Debora said.

“The trip included rafting on the Picton River, two days of kayaking, overnight wild camping, overland hiking to the summit of Hartz Peak and mountain biking.”

“It allowed me to completely disconnect and actively listen to advice from people from all walks of life, which led me to develop a greater perspective of my passion and potential career direction.”

Debora said she believed that entrepreneurship played a key role in the advancement of society.

“Entrepreneurship seeks out opportunities to positively impact the world by solving an important problem,” she said.

“In the words of one of my new Tasmanian connections, Cathy May: entrepreneurship is to do something worthy that serves a purpose and feeds a passion, that generates enough income to fund a living.”

Debora said Bond University was at the forefront of entrepreneurial education in Queensland as it was perfectly located and well connected to many of the leaders in this industry.

“I was lucky to be able to take part in the Bond Business Accelerator program which teaches the recipe for start-up success and allows anyone to start a business in just 14 weeks,” she said.

“It is with opportunities such as these that Bond caters to the needs of individuals to follow their dreams and drive innovation.

“Bond University is well equipped with all the resources needed for a business-minded individual to thrive and succeed in this modern world, and with access to mentors such as the former Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby and other industry leaders, as well as the Transformer workspace, there is nothing that can stop a Bond student from achieving global success.”

Debora’s entrepreneurial flair has driven her to set up and run her own Fashion start-up as well as to work with several later-stage start-ups including Uber, Silicon Lakes’ own Obzervr as well as consulting tor Rogue and Rouge Foundation, which was founded by fellow Bondy Nicole Gibson.

Earlier this year, Director of the Bond Business Commercialisation Centre and Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Bond University, Baden U’Ren, was one of the 19 participants on Venturer Mission 1 to the Whitsunday Islands.