Co-founder of babysitting and nanny service SitClique, Carmen Pascoe, having just recently completed the Queensland University of Technology’s MBA program, says that the greatest benefit the experience has given her is the confidence to execute on an idea.
Starting SitClique two years ago with her sisters, Julia and Nicole, the service was established through the three women looking for greater support in looking after their young families and juggling professional lives.
The SitClique platform helps families find local babysitters, nannies, before and after school carers and home-tutors. A personalised recruitment experience is provided to help find the perfect match, and at the same time creating careers for carers.
With SitClique’s foundation perfectly coinciding with her entrepreneurship unit in the QUT MBA, Carmen also credits a number of skills gained in helping bring SitClique forward from a concept to an operating entity.
“I think the biggest impact has been in terms of the combination of so many of the things you learn in the QUT MBA, which gave me the confidence and ability to execute on our idea,” Carmen said.
“Other valuable skills I have gained relate to being able to think differently, creatively problem solve, create the business value proposition and in leading others.
Carmen credits the MBA entrepreneurship unit as being extremely productive in terms of advancing SitClique further than just being an idea.
“At the first class in entrepreneurship you have to present your idea – the 30-second pitch,” she said. “You pitch the idea and your class votes on the top five ideas. I was successful and we were able to take our concept through the entrepreneurship class and build out a lean business canvas and take that idea through the class and then was able to continue on that idea with my sisters as a business.
“That process really helped us to get early customer validation points. It gave us a critical lens to say, ‘Well what else do we really need to think about?’ and helped form the next steps in terms of launch.”
QUT Entrepreneurship – Inspires and Amplifies Opportunities
Access to QUT’s student-centred entrepreneurship initiative, QUT foundry, and the resource digital platform, QUT Orbit, was very helpful to Carmen in providing support and key contacts, especially as she was fairly new to Brisbane and not having a lot of contacts in the startup space.
Manager QUT Entrepreneurship Graham Fellows said that ‘relatedness to others’ is one of the features of an entrepreneurial mind and one of the many entrepreneurial mindset concepts that the QUT MBA connects its students with.
“One of the key things we’ve been able to achieve in the program is connection amongst our community, with opportunities for students to make these connections through our entrepreneurship ecosystem including community spaces, programs and mentors,” Graham said.
“In recent years, many more of our MBA students have come to the program wanting to start their own business.
“As much as it’s been about connecting them with local, national and international resources, programs and opportunities, it’s about them connecting with each other to form entrepreneurial teams, connecting them to IT Capstone units to help with the development of their ideas and guiding them through QUT’s resources, communities, customers, suppliers, mentors, programs, and external funding opportunities to enable them to realise and develop opportunities.”
Carmen said that SitClique is still in its infancy, and she credits her MBA learnings in focusing on the value proposition of the fledgling platform and ensuring the business has an agile culture able to execute changes to better deliver unique value to its customers.
“I now feel like I have so many more tools available to me in terms of being able to solve a problem and being able to deliver a solution,” Carmen said. “Not only in terms of management, but in terms of being able to lead others and how you apply those leadership skills and being able to adapt. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is valuable no matter what sort of organisation you are working in. I know I can apply these skills regardless of where my career takes me.”
Carmen has also since taken on a role as program manager with SBE Australia. The SBE Australia by Springboard Enterprises Program runs programs for female founders or organisations with a female leader, and exists to help women build and scale global, sustainable businesses, recognising that female founders face a unique set of challenges. Previously completing the SBE program herself has given Carmen the perfect lead-in to running the program for other female entrepreneurs.
Carmen sees SitClique continuing to evolve on its journey and still very much in its early stages as a mission-led business.
Her ability to understand her customer and their actual needs were greatly sharpened by the entrepreneurial component of the MBA.
“Some people said don’t bother doing the MBA as I was pregnant at the start and seemingly had no time to do it, but the last four years completing the QUT MBA have been personally and professionally so impactful – even though I have juggled so much.
“I’ve been able to make the most of it and am so glad that I have completed my MBA. The flexibility in terms of classes at QUT was so important to me as a mature age student juggling family and a career, and was critical for me completing the program.”