Just the beginning...
By Shanice Nagy
Entrepreneurship wasn’t on my radar while I was in high school and I didn’t want to pursue medicine or science like my family wanted, so I set my sights on Business at Monash. I worked super hard throughout year 12 to achieve a high ATAR, and when the December results came through, I fell short.
I was devastated and felt like a failure, but when I received an offer from RMIT to study a Bachelor of Businesses (Management) I accepted it without hesitation. Looking back, I strived for what society and my family expected from me. Life was tough growing up and I’ve always wanted a better life for myself. I wanted to write my own story and university was the place to start.
Within the first few weeks, I fell into a podcast addiction that fuelled my mind with the voices of Entrepreneurs. It empowered me to take action in my life, and start a business.
RMIT University is in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, and even in the short distance between the train station and uni, the streets were full of people experiencing homelessness. I shared food, heard their stories and developed a connection with these individuals who ignited a call for action to start a not-for-profit clothing line that supported the homeless.
Starting EN.apparel was like jumping off a cliff. I didn’t know anything about starting a business, but my sisters loved fashion and design, so I encouraged them to take care of the creative aspect while I started sourcing suppliers to get my idea off the ground. I tried to ideate possible strategies that would differentiate my brand from HoMie and incorporated the use of 100% cotton t-shirts with organic printing. I re-adjusted my suppliers search, made a Facebook page and ordered prototypes of our design.
I was fuelled by passion and I loved every moment of turning the idea into a reality. During RMIT Clubs Day I heard about a pitch comp hosted by the RMIT Entrepreneurship Association, so I took another jump and signed up.
I didn’t even know what a pitch was, and the idea of pitching to an audience and a panel of entrepreneurs was terrifying. And that’s what I wanted – to be taken out of my comfort zone and to grasp every opportunity in front of me, just like my podcast sages told me. It was such a great experience and I loved the chance to speak passionately from my heart about creating change.
However, the idea crush quickly faded away as I learnt about the skills required for evaluating business ideas and realised that EN.apparel needed to be shelved for the time being.
I didn’t realise how much thought, research and planning was required for business development, and that an idea had to survive the shaping stage to be viable. For example, who were my customer base? What did they want? What were my revenue streams? How could I compete in a highly competitive industry? How would I be able to accommodate my customers, but also support my business as a not-for-profit?
I couldn’t answer those questions then, but a year later and I feel that I am much closer.
As an entrepreneur without a venture, my journey didn’t stop there. When one door closed, another door opened with fresh new opportunities to pursue. I got involved with the RMIT Entrepreneurship Association to see and experience what entrepreneurship was in practice.
Before long, I started to help the association run events and was elected as Vice-President. The title still kind of blows my mind, which helped convince me to change my major from Management to Entrepreneurship.
It wasn’t easy.
This ‘entrepreneur’ title can be quite heavy when you’re starting out. I was terrified and ran the decision around in my mind for weeks before I realising that our society, thoughts and ideology is built on entrepreneurship. It’s about so much more than just owning your own business and raking in the cash. It’s about transforming your ideas into reality. It’s about change and making a difference.
Entrepreneurship has fuelled a fire within me. It is a space where I achieve the impossible, be unique and be true to myself. A space for my own self-discovery, but also an opportunity to learn about the world and help others.
What resonates to me the most about entrepreneurship is the infinite possibilities and opportunities. While it’s a tough, fast-moving, and a risky career path, it’s these elements combined with passion that’s what makes it so special.
I still don’t have a start-up, and that’s okay. I used to believe that to be an entrepreneur you need to have a business and you need to know what you’re doing; but essentially, you are the core of entrepreneurship. You bring your own perspective, values and creativity that fuel your actions, and that’s where the entrepreneurship thrives, in you, and the self-belief that you can transform a piece of yourself and share it with the world.
“You are the most important asset in this world. Cherish it and you will thrive.” - Shanice
Shanice Nagy is the RMIT Entrepreneurship Association Vice President and an entrepreneurial changemaker.
Currently Shanice is building her entrepreneurial capacity in the RMIT Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship) degree and in our community.