Student paths to entrepreneurship

How our programs are introducing students to the “infectious energy” of entrepreneurship to create founders of the future.

Partnership at a glance

  • We have a range of innovative partner programs and internship opportunities to help students engage with founders and startups.
  • The Student Pathways to Entrepreneurship initiative includes a range of workshops, programs, events and LinkedIn groups designed, to enhance career opportunities and pathways in the startup sector.
  • 25 placements or paid internships have been provided for La Trobe students.
  • Seed funder and operational venture capital firm Skalata brokered seven internships for La Trobe students, creating mutual growth and the possibility of ongoing roles.
  • Hacks4Entrepreneurship Success, running across semesters 1 and 2 in 2021, attracted 50 participants.

Case study

“Being around founders and entrepreneurs, there’s an infectious energy that rubs off on you,” says Maxine Lee. Inspired by that energy as a university student, Lee is now chief operating officer at Skalata Ventures, a seed investment funder turning early-stage startups into thriving sustainable businesses.

And it’s that exhilarating startup spirit that La Trobe is fostering with a range of opportunities, from workshops and events to internship programs like the one brokered by Skalata, that introduce students to the unique culture of entrepreneurship and help equip them with the skills to thrive in that environment.

“Skalata’s vision is to help transform Australia into a knowledge economy, and we believe entrepreneurs will do that, working on innovative businesses and generating lots of jobs. We wanted to facilitate a value exchange between the portfolio companies that we’re investing in, and the students at La Trobe looking for placement opportunities and maybe even their next role.”

Lee explains Skalata works with their portfolio companies to establish their hiring plans for the year ahead, sharing that information with our Student Pathways to Entrepreneurship team, who match a vetted student with the right opportunity. Last year, seven matches were made through Skalata. Students commit to two days a week for 12 weeks, gaining powerful real-life experience.

We’ve been lucky that La Trobe has a diverse range of skill sets within student pools. It’s reflected in the roles, which include anything from business analysts to marketers, legal and commercial specialists.

Maxine Lee

Mindsets Learning, a Skalata client, is an education startup with an innovative real-world problem-solving curriculum for math and STEAM subjects available in over 100 languages. Founder and CEO Marissa Di Pasquale says that after Maxine Lee introduced Mindsets to La Trobe, the company has taken on two interns, with one likely to be offered ongoing work. Maria, a trained librarian, was a perfect fit for Mindsets’ education mission.

“We were able to build a relationship with the interns and find talent that could help us in some of the areas that we needed to have a bit more support in. And they learned a lot about our product and services to US schools, while collaborating with our US team. Maria was also able to help us with some product testing along the way.”

The interaction between Mindsets and Maria is the win–win scenario Skalata’s Maxine Lee hopes for.

“It’s such an exciting opportunity for student interns in these startup environments, where things change, not year-to-year, but day-to-day and hour-to-hour, and you constantly have to pivot and learn and iterate. And that’s a fantastic learning cycle to be a part of.

“Hopefully, once they’ve had that experience, they’re thinking, ‘I might not just work in a traditional, corporate organisation. I might even consider doing this myself one day. I could consider joining a startup, I could even start one myself’. That’s the breadth of thinking that we’re hoping to grow through our partnership with La Trobe.”

To find out more on our partnerships, please contact us.