A few weeks ago I ventured down to the beautiful Burleigh Heads to meet with Kaylene Langford from StartUp Creative. Kaylene is young entrepreneur who recently began living the dream of “working for herself”. Her organisation, StartUp Creative, is a unique business incubator, professional development and mentoring program tailored specifically for young people. Kaylene and I got together at her local coffee shop, Canteen Coffee, to talk about youth, business, social entrepreneurship and how to stay sane when you’re building your dreams. Kaylene’s career began working in high schools as a youth worker. During this time she realised the unlimited potential of young people and became incredibly passionate about advocating for at-risk and disengaged youth. She also began working with St Vincent De Paul to develop and launch the SENSE Youth Mentoring Program. The program supports disadvantaged young adults by providing them with a mentor and role model.
“Young people have taught me and continue to teach me that no matter how much planning and control you would like to have over a project, idea or situation there will always be variables that can change the goal or direction and you just have to learn to roll with it,” Kaylene said.
With years of experience in youth work and a real understanding of the issues that affect young people, Kaylene went on to work as the Program Officer for the Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS). While her role allowed her to work directly with the change-makers, Kaylene had to question whether she really wanted to spend her life commuting on the train to Brisbane every morning and afternoon. The answer was “NO!” and so she started her next venture. Drawing on the networks and experience she had gathered throughout the years, Kaylene founded StartUp Creative to connect creative, innovative and passionate young people with organisations, opportunities and individuals capable of helping turn business ideas into reality.
“Young people are fearless and committed followers of awesome ideas when you inspire them, motivate and appreciate them along the way, and when things start to get hard they are often the ones who pick you back up.”
And as if that is not enough, Kaylene has also jumped on board as the National Coordinator for the Startup Spring Festival in October this year. The festival is an initiative run by StartupAUS, a not-for-profit entity with a mission to foster and build the community of technology entrepreneurship in Australia. Kaylene will be in charge of showcasing the startup community in her role as National Coordinator of the three-week long, Australia wide festival with over 100 events and activities! So how does she stay grounded with so much to do? Kaylene swears by a healthy diet, a good to-do list and a strong coffee at her local.
“Over the last few years I’ve learnt that it is possible to do what you love as a career and I’ve decided to back myself in what I think I am good at, engaging and inspiring young people. I live in a beautiful part of the world, my family is loving and healthy and I get to drink amazing coffee everyday. Life can’t get much better then that!”
For more information on Kaylene and StartUp Creative then head to the website here or like StartUp Creative on Facebook. Even better, StartUp Creative will be hosting a networking night with wine, cheese, keynote addresses and a take home toolkit on 25th September. Click here to find out more and RSVP to this incredible event! To find out more about StartupAUS and the Startup Spring Festival then you can head to their website or follow them on Twitter. Even more, you too can get involved by applying for the social media or board guidance and engagement position with StartupAUS. Click here to learn more!