OKRDY aims on bridging the gap between university students and corporations. The average university student pursues academia, however, beyond the books they often lack guidance to help them pave their way through this constantly changing corporate world. That’s where the OKRDY platform intervenes, it is a student mentor matching service which matches students to potential mentors who work within their relevant industry. The service will be web-based and will be on all the accessible platforms available to your average student.
OK RDY provides access to flash mentoring services for both graduate and undergraduate students. The platform also provides the ability for professional development within a workplace and mentoring for those who wish to partake in workplace community service. During on campus surveys it was found that among the general student population 76% of felt that they were under prepared to enter the workforce. From community engagement with these students it was determined that the platform needed to be able to provide networking as well as flash mentoring opportunities as students in general we’re not prepared to move into a professional work environment and required guidance. Business and Industry will also benefit from integration of the platform
into there community service, professional development, and employment stream systems. From meeting and engagement with business it was determined the feedback benefits through the development and having a more workplace ready student population would be extremely beneficial. Student institutions (Universities, TAFE, Business Schools) would also benefit from a wider implementation of the platform as graduates and alumni would finish there education with a higher level of employability.
Currently mentorships are sought through two categories of channel. Either through existing associations such as Old Collegians, industry bodies or close connections. Usually these mentorships are managed through the use of excel and an assistant doing their best to assign people. Our product fundamentally improves this method by using an ergonomic platform to match willing mentees with devoted mentors. This allows both parties to build connections outside of their usual spheres, while exposing mentees to possible future careers.
The other channel for mentorships and connections is through the use of Facebook and LinkedIN. These two platforms allow the mentors/mentees to connect easily and quickly. OKRDY however is more suited to mentor matching than these two services. We will have greater engagement with students and young people than LinkedIn, yet because of our partnerships with Telstra, IBM and other professional bodies we will have a large source of professionals using the service.
While our initial focus will be on the approximate 60,000 students studying Information Technology, the OK RDY platform is designed to be an agnostic tool that can facilitate career preparedness and development opportunities across all fields. Education figures show student enrolments have increased every year since 2001. Current (2015) Australian Department of Education and Training figures list enrolments over 1.4 Million and globally student numbers are forecasted to reach 262 Million by 2025.
Our realistic go-to-market with a continued focus on only Information Technology students for bootstrapping only from the ACT region:
Year 1 – 200 students
Year 2 – 400 students
Year 3 – 800 students
If we are able to secure minimum scale up funding and support our aim would be to expand to ACT and NSW, growing from 5% to 20% of technology students within the first 3 years. This in combination with our strategic partnerships and community engagement we also will on board mentors from organisations to ensure sufficient supply and demand within the OK RDY marketplace.
Year 1: research testing, development and Canberra-based launch
focus on STEM and communication careers
Years 2 – 4: domestic expansion to other locations and professions
Years 5+: International expansion.
Bill gates and Mark Zuckerberg started out their journey with mentorship, and what better way to inform our mentorship matching platform than with our own mentor to guide us. The OK RDY platform is a mentorship and skilled-volunteer matching marketplace with an initial focus on connecting students to professionals and organisations; to help improve employability, diversity and cultural outcomes. We’ve already partnered with some of Australian world-leading companies and universities – we are looking for a mentor who can help us expand our networks, provide insights on growth strategies and ultimately steer us in the right direction as we scale the OK RDY platform.
In our case, we have different groups of customers as the platform provides different value propositions to distinctly different groups, therefore, the models are designed differently with respect to consumer acquisition and communication goals. Solely focusing on the student consumer base our channels are as follow: Our Brand Awareness and Engagement Channels a) Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter b) University Brand Ambassadors c) Website and Search Engine Optimisation d) In person Given the platform is designed to be compatible with both mobile and desktop based platforms, we decided
to initially roll out a web application. The channels above should redirect our consumers to the platform. After our consumers reach the platform
we focus on interactive engagement through the creation of profiles and providing to updates. Ways to communicate : -Facilitating the interaction
on the platform, by Fleshing out platform activities / online matching to offline mentoring conversion – Gaining public exposure, by Creating
content/posts/feed/updates on both the application through web notifications and the website and social media presence on the platforms above.
Our team is well suited to execute our venture as given certain members of our team have history in working in the sector, hence, we know who to contact within the technology and communication space. For instance, we have already contacted and partnered with various industry leaders.
Furthermore, the team also consists of a diverse set of both University of Canberra and Australian National University students (our Brand Ambassadors) who would be our target market, therefore, through the various student channels we can maximise our exposure.
The product is primed to enter the closed beta phase. OKRDY is hosting a launch event on the September 20th at the Canberra Innovation Network. We have over 100 participants signed up.
In order to make our venture reality, we need to gather more students to utilise the platform by raising awareness as our product is ready for closed beta. We can achieve this through giving our consumer awareness channels a strong emphasis. Ideally, they should be updated frequently.
Potential collaborators can contact one of our Brand Ambassadors (Sherbaz) at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved or suggest pathways to achieve our goal of further brand awareness.
Our main costs consist of product development, testing and deployment, accounting, marketing and related services such as hosting, app store fees, Trademarks etc. Our primary costs will go towards supporting our ongoing business costs, social media campaigns and staff funding towards full-time technical development and casual student brand ambassadors. A rough summary of costs to complete public MVP targeting large B2B, B2G, B2E are:
Tier 1 Activity – 4 Trial Partners (400 ACT mentor capacity*) Est. Costs App, Biz Dev & Website Development $40 x 90 hours $3,600 Student
Brand Ambassadors $20 x 60 hours $1,200 Social campaigns & Marketing $2000 Trademarking costs across multiple classes (Australia)
$2,200 Accounting, hosting etc $1500 Total Est. $10,500
Tier 2 Activity – 6 Trial Partners (600 ACT mentor capacity) Est. Costs App, Biz Dev & Website Development $40 x 180 hours $7,200 Brand Ambassadors $20 x 120hours $2,400 Social campaigns & Marketing $2000 Trademarking costs across multiple classes (Australia) $2,200 Accounting, hosting etc $1500 Total Est. $15,300 Tier 3 Activity – 10 Trial Partners (1000 ACT mentor capacity) Est. Costs App, Biz Dev & Website Development $40 x 360 hours $14,400 Brand Ambassadors $20 x 240 hours $4,800 Social campaigns & Marketing $2000 Trademarking costs across multiple classes (Australia) $2,200
Accounting, hosting etc $1500 Total Est. $24,900
*Calculated at a 1 to 2 mentor/mentee ratio with trial partners on 50
We’ve have engaged with local and national leading organizations such as Telstra, Australian National University, University of Canberra, IBM, ACT Government and Digital Transformation Agency, DXC, Dimension Data Learning Solutions, NEC, Deloitte, Seeing Machines, Leidos, Red Hat and Canberra Institute of Technology.
Depending on the level of engagement these stakeholders are providing, cash and/or in-kind resources. In return, in-kind partners receive access to our mentorship matching platform and paid partners receive access to the data analytics platform. Use of these tools allows partners to identify emerging talent, enhance corporate social responsibility outcomes and leverage forward indicators that help key areas such as employees retention, professional development and strategic planning.
Customers are mentors/mentees/organisations. We provide our mentors and mentees a free user-centric tool to connect for mutual professional growth. Organisations leverage our data analytics platform to inform strategic planning and increase their capacity and capability to execute HR/CSR & outreach programs.
We have a Software as a Software model which generates reoccurring revenue with the opportunity to value add through additional consultation and integration services. Our business model is to monetize the date collecting from interaction through platform. Our organisational customers can access to either own data analytics information of employee and outreach engagement metrics; which is based on a per seat allocation of users. Our pricing is still being finalised and has been informed by our trial and pilot partners, as well as desktop comparative research.
There is an acknowledged gap between student academic outcomes and the work ready expectations of employers. Keen students want more opportunities to learn and develop their real-world skills but don’t know how to start, who to talk with or how to engage professionals/companies in the Industry they are preparing to enter.
This results in a personal and financial ‘cost’ to both graduates and employers and a collective cost to already skills strapped industries.
Our platform recommends mentorships between eager students and industry experts based on professional goals and personal interest. It also connects users to skilled-volunteering social impact initiatives in areas including: women in leadership, diversity, STEM Education, Indigenous/Aboriginal skills capacity building, cultural support and accessibility equality. While our data analytics platform saves companies time and money through the automation of existing manual mentoring, HR and corporate social responsibility processes/programs.
Our combined team has decades of experience and benefits from a range of complimentary digital and business skills in areas such as communications/marketing, business development, software engineering and app development. We are receiving expert guidance from our InnovationACT mentor, Australian Computer Society leader and innovation higher education champion Professor Tom Worthington. We also directly benefit from the team’s established networks in the education and technology industries; along with active membership in local community groups CollabIT, CBRIN/Entry 29 and holding a position on the Australian Information Industry Association’s federal council.
Our aim is to grow locally and scale globally. Initially beginning in ACT and targeting digital, ICT and business-related careers. With additional financial support we will expand to other industries and locations. Our goal is for OK RDY to facilitate 1,000,000 mentoring minutes on the platform by 2020.
We launched late September 2017 with an invitation only closed-beta event. Around 150 attendees, approximately 50/50 mentors and mentees. Our pilot/trial partners include Telstra, IBM, ACT Government, University of Canberra, Australian National University and the Digital Transformation Agency. Over the next 3 months we will commence our paid trial, listen to user feedback and continue development our product roadmap with the objective to launch a public Beta and expand our partner user numbers in early 2018. Based on demand and revenue will be also look to expand industries and Australian locations throughout 2018.
InnovationACT funding will greatly help us while we are still testing our product in closed-beta we are requesting funding in 3 tiers detailed on our team page from $10k, 15k, $25k. This is based on our teams ability to service our existing customers, respond to user feedback, complete our closed-beta trial, provide additional features and if more funding secured, grow our customers to achieve sustainable revenue going into 2018.
We will be looking to expand our paid partners to begin a pathway to sustainable revenue and seek additional funding programs such as ICON Grants, Capital Angels and CBRIN programs; as well as direct collaborations with the local university/TAFE sector. Funding enable us to continue executing our venture, grow our capacity to scale and raise awareness of our innovation during this critical phase.