Monday, 29 June 2020
Chloe Constantinides is a young entrepreneur who's making waves across Western Australia and beyond. In 2018 she won a prestigious 40under40 Award for her work as co-founder and director of digital agency, Dapper Apps.
She was later recognised as the winner of the ECU Young Alumni Award 2018. The ECU Young Alumni Award recognises alumni whose early accomplishments inspire and provide leadership to students and other alumni. This award accentuates ECU’s reputation as a University, and the extraordinary achievements many of our new graduates go on to make, thanks to the world ready teaching received during their time at ECU.
We recently caught up with Chloe to find out what she's currently doing and to get her advice for young entrepreneurs.
How do you become an entrepreneur? What led you down that career path?
I love learning, experimenting and creating, so if you combine that with an appetite for risk - I guess entrepreneurship flows on from that. It was never something that I set out to do, but I think it has come about from having a genuine interest in a lot of different fields.
The spark of a new idea and the feeling of creating something that’s never been done before, is really, really satisfying. Whether it’s a new product, or simply a new approach to something – I find that really rewarding and exciting.
What have you been working on?
I’ve been consulting across innovation, technology, growth marketing and future education programs for the last 2 years, maintaining shares in a few of the companies I’ve worked with. I’ve worked closely with Software as a service (SaaS) companies in particular, setting strategic direction and looking at a holistic approach to their growth and marketing efforts.
One of the big highlights from last year was putting on the inaugural Dream Summit for the Minderoo Foundation. The event brought together some of the best Indigenous entrepreneurs from across the country, where experts helped them to refine, iterate and grow their ideas, with an incredible final pitch event looking over Sydney Harbour.
I’ve also been lucky enough to facilitate a few accelerator programs with researchers and startups, helping them to commercialise ideas. Most recently, this included companies producing things such as hydro fuel cell batteries for drones, bionanocomposite plastics and non-invasive medical testing for common diseases.
On top of this, I’ve been teaching entrepreneurship to university students. This involves taking students from all domains through a series of workshops, to understand the fundamentals of the future of work and to feel better prepared for a new world of careers.
How has COVID-19 affected your work and what adjustments have you made?
COVID-19 impacted my work in some ways, but at the same time I have been relatively unscathed. All of the events and programs I was running, had to pivot to go purely online. We quickly adapted to running large programs on Zoom, and using different techniques to engage audiences in an online format.
Other events and programs have either been cancelled or postponed, so that has really been the biggest hurdle. But work overall did not dry up or slowdown in any way.
During the height of COVID-19, I joined a volunteer task force of people in the tech industry, leading the sourcing assistance efforts for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) into WA. It was wonderful to see the amount of people prepared to share their knowledge, time and energy to help WA and Australia survive this epidemic.
For my day-to-day work, I am still able to create apps and websites, write, produce content, coach startups, etc remotely - so I’ve been able to continue that from home without any hiccups. Most of my work can be done from anywhere with an internet connection and my laptop. I’ve been very lucky in that respect.
You are in the process of moving overseas, where are you going and what are you planning to do?
I’ve been planning to move to Berlin, Germany for a while, as it is one of the tech capitals in Europe. I wanted to learn how startups are operating there and get an insight into the tech and innovation industry in the European Union. COVID then hit, and this threw a bit of a spanner in the works. I was wrapping up all my in-person contracts in Perth, but as I wasn’t certain of when I would be able to leave the country, I started to accept new jobs again in WA. As it happens, I’m now working with one of my fantastic client’s full time leading their strategy and growth, with a big focus on international expansion. I’m able to continue this from Germany and it places us well within Europe to lead the expansion from there.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
It’s exciting. No two days are ever the same. And I get to work with other founders, startups and super smart people who are working on building the future. That to me, is unbeatable.
What advice would you give to ECU Alumni looking to forge a career in entrepreneurship?
The main thing you need to be is adaptable. Entrepreneurship is extremely challenging and extremely rewarding. But you’ve got to be prepared to ride the rollercoaster, and not be afraid of uncertainty. Build up enough of your skills that you can feel confident that you’ve always got a way to make money and to back yourself, and that should give you a good base to leverage from and start taking educated risks with new businesses and ideas.
Do you know a fellow ECU alumni like Chloe doing extraordinary things – either in their career, in the community or through their personal achievements? If so, why not nominate them for the ECU Alumni Awards.
Through this program, we aim to showcase and celebrate the wonderful things that ECU graduates go on to do after their time at University.
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