When he signed up to Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, Jacob Lescove-Uduwalage didn’t think he’d finish the course with a full-formed idea, a co-founder and a network of mentors that could help him turn that idea into a successful business.
But, of course, that’s what happened. Alongside his studies at University of New England, Jacob is now working on his business, UnicornShift – an on-demand labour marketplace for the road traffic control industry that efficiently connects employees with available jobs.
“SSE has been pivotal in the formation and growth of our business,” he says. “It was the catalyst for everything else.”
Jacob Lescove-Uduwalage SSE alum, UNE student and UnicornShift co-founder
I went from having no mentors to having a group of about 20 or so coaches and mentors who I can reach out to for advice and support
Ahead of joining SSE’s Activation course, Jacob was asked to bring an idea for a potential business. The kernel came from his work with a community organisation in Campbelltown, distributing meals to disadvantaged community members. There, he’d spoken to a group of men in their 50s who were reskilling as traffic controllers and finding a new source of income to support them and their families.
At SSE, Jacob not only met his co-founder Lachlan Jacobs, who was studying at Macquarie University, but also made key connections in the ecosystem who would help him expand his network, starting with facilitator Phil Hayes St-Clair from UNSW.
“I went from having no mentors to having a group of about 20 or so coaches and mentors who I can reach out to for advice and support,” he says.
During the short course, Jacob learnt how to apply the lean innovation framework and consequently, achieve his first revenue for the business. Not only has the framework and associated methodologies helped him with his business, but they’re also helping him through his studies at UNE.
“I’m seeing the concepts that I learned at SSE applied in my university assignments,” he says. “The lean canvas and related concepts, like lean stack and running lean, are all about testing assumptions in an efficient manner. That’s a really good way to tackle any task.”
With a strong idea, a talented co-founder and supportive network, Jacob is now working on the next steps for his business, using what he learned at SSE to further test the feasibility, desirability and sustainability of UnicornShift.
“SSE really was ground level for everything,” he says. If this is the ground level, we can’t wait to see Jacob and the UnicornShift team go through the roof.