A good example of a young entrepeneur

July 15th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Following up my post on promoting entrepreneurship to students, I got the following release:

An 18-year-old Christchurch entrepreneur has ditched his plans of studying at university, including a $40,000 scholarship, to launch a website designed to inspire young New Zealanders.

has today (Monday, 14 July) launched his new start-up business OOMPHER – a motivational website featuring video interviews with some of New Zealand and the world’s most successful individuals. The aim is to inspire school leavers and people to do extraordinary things through the wise words of leaders in their fields.

In just six months Jake has gained the support of dozens of New Zealand’s high-flyers as well as major corporates, including lead sponsor BNZ.

Fashion designer Karen Walker, Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, comedy legend Rhys Darby, businesswoman Suzanne Paul, renowned architect Ian Athfield, bungy pioneer AJ Hackett and political leaders are all standing up for the vision of OOMPHER and an 18-year-old in Christchurch. Rarely have so many of the country’s leaders united for a common cause.

Jake has also managed to secure video interviews with international talents such as New York Entrepreneur of the Year Shazi Visram. His sights are now firmly set on locking down Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and film directors Peter Jackson and James Cameron as future interviewees.

By the end of the year his business plan shows he will have 54 interviews on OOMPHER representing nine key sectors: sports, politics, business, arts, entrepreneurship, innovation, media, professions and technology.

As the former head boy of Christchurch Boys High School, Jake was offered a $40,000 university scholarship last year to study law and commerce – but he turned it down.

Convinced that he didn’t need a piece of paper to follow his entrepreneurial dreams, and despite backlash from former teachers and family, he decided to take the risk and see what he could achieve.

In Jake’s own words: “For me, what was missing was the inspiration. I felt I didn’t need to go to university to follow my entrepreneurial dreams – despite a former teacher predicting because of that I’d ‘end up in prison.’ I think this was due to my generally unconventional approach to life.

“A university degree or tertiary qualification is obviously essential for many careers; however research shows that there is a poor correlation between entrepreneurial success and having a framed piece of paper on the wall.

“My dad’s death in the 2010 Fox Glacier plane crash also reminded me that life can be here one minute and gone the next. We’ve got to make the most of it and do what we love.”

OOMPHER will be live from Monday, 14 July at www.oompher.com.

It’s a great site, with lost of interesting and inspirational interviews, Good to see Jake get out there and take a risk, recruiting a team of other young people for the project – plus lots of corporate sponsors.

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19 Responses to “A good example of a young entrepeneur”

  1. Lucia Maria (2,275 comments) says:

    He can always get that piece of paper later if he decides he really needs it.

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  2. straya (73 comments) says:

    Well, he could do with some grammar lessons. His cover page should refer to “fewer people” not “less people”. Mind you, getting this sort of thing right seems to matter less these days.

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  3. PhilP (163 comments) says:

    Whats this backlash from Teachers and Parents all about. Fuck they need to get a life. Good on the young man for having a go at his dream. Bet he’s a Centre Right voter too.

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  4. Don the Kiwi (1,684 comments) says:

    Very good – but how does he expect to become wealthy? What is he selling?

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  5. dog_eat_dog (773 comments) says:

    Don’t you know Don? Most young people seem to want to get rich by talking about themselves. They seem to be incredibly good at it, so more power to them if they can monetize their naval gazing.

    In all seriousness if he believes he can make a go of it and is backing himself that much then he’s probably onto something I’m too stupid to see :P

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  6. Paul Marsden (991 comments) says:

    Much to the horror of my peers and family, I too ditched my job at 17 as an up and coming accountant/manager, to go work at the local freezing works, so I could obtain capital for the first of my many business start-ups over the years.

    The university of life is the best teacher, where the best and many hard lessons are learnt

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  7. Peter (1,687 comments) says:

    Hmmmm…..one doesn’t need a university piece of paper, but it’s harder to get taken seriously if you don’t have it. Yes, I know Gates and The Google Guys and Jobs didn’t finish, but they were obvious geniuses. Outliers.

    The benefit of a University education is learning how to learn.

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  8. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    I got as far as “comedy legend Rhys Darby” and decided that it couldn’t be serious and gave up

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  9. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Comedy “Legend” Rhys Darby?
    That annoying whiney-voiced git from the 2 Degrees ads??

    And how could mumbling Steve Hansen inspire anyone with an IQ over 70??

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  10. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    He seems to have lots of energy and enthusiasm – good luck to him!

    Someone with his kind of drive and energy is likely to succeed sooner or later.

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  11. Colville (2,242 comments) says:

    And how could mumbling Steve Hansen inspire anyone with an IQ over 70??

    I suppose coaching the best sports team on the planet is an ok thing to do… what is the winning steak now? 16? 17?

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  12. UrbanNeocolonialist (264 comments) says:

    The world is changing.

    A huge number of middle class jobs are under threat from automation – as machines get smarter there are more and more tasks that they will be able to cover. To date it has been only the simple repetitive manual tasks but we are on a cusp and in the next 20 years they are likely to move into more more judgement based fields too – like bookkeeping/data management, translating, some teaching, some medical, some elderly care, food preparation/serving, checkout operators, security, driving/piloting, delivery services, horticulture/farming, cleaning.

    When AI finally gets here (probably 10-30 years) there are a tonne of primarily thinking jobs that will be under increasing threat – law, accountancy, engineering, doctors, dentists, repetitious teaching, much of service sector (call centres). A lot of these are already starting to see the initial chipping away at the edges.

    Point is that what we currently regard as safe jobs/careers may stop being so in the near future. Kids need to plan on the job landscape of 40 years hence, as well as getting through the intervening period. I would regard safer jobs as being widely varied tasks that require continued highly varied use of dexterity/strength+minds – construction, electricians, plumbers, repair services or all types.

    But on the down side, any time the job market is tight a degree is the first and easiest discriminator for someone recruiting to throw away a chunk of applicants without further effort. As pointless as they often are, it is dangerous not to have one and that is likely to increasingly be the case.

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  13. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    “I suppose coaching the best sports team on the planet is an ok thing to do”

    Mate you really need to travel a bit- see the big wide World!

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  14. Colville (2,242 comments) says:

    Longknives.

    Save me a few more passport stamps and just tell me the name of one team that compares?

    Just one.

    I know you have some strange needle dick complex about the All Blacks, but its all just a bit odd.

    and sad, did I mention sad?

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  15. mara (760 comments) says:

    YAWN…. Wake me when he is an adult.

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  16. oompher (1 comment) says:

    Thanks for the support David.

    @Don the Kiwi – OOMPHER is not about making me ‘rich’ as such. I’m enjoying the journey and the ultimate plan is to sell the website to either a bank or the MoE. But to do this we have to grow our audience. It’s only my first proper business so I would even be happy if I walked away debt free. The learning and networking opportunities have been massive.

    @Peter – I’ve found one of the things which has helped me the most this year in attracting the $100,000 sponsorship we already have is my age, mixed with the fact that I’m just starting out without any real quals. I’d presume it will only get better with time and experience too. One other thing I’ve learnt this year is that people only care about the product (even more than age, etc)… If you have an excellent product people will buy from you regardless of your qualifications. One of my best mates and mentors is Steve Brooks – check him out – Steve would agree that he’s not a ‘genius’ but he’s much wealthier than any other 27 year old I know:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8134363/Self-made-millionaire-by-19

    @mara, thanks for your awesome feedback. I’m sure you’re super successful.

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  17. Harriet (4,758 comments) says:

    “….And how could mumbling Steve Hansen inspire anyone with an IQ over 70??….”

    He was a Police officer and I am sure he became a Sgt. I knew him and his family quite well through my childhood and right up till he joined the police. I knew them through school, friends, rugby ect and I saw him a couple of times a week for a year or so just before he joined. He sets his mind on things and does them. Good at analyzing things and getting the message across to those that need to know[rugby]. Just ask Alex Wylie! Never let on too much to anyone – he just got on with what he was doing. He was a good bloke to those who knew him. I haven’t seen him since then.

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  18. hj (6,802 comments) says:

    I would regard safer jobs as being widely varied tasks that require continued highly varied use of dexterity/strength+minds – construction, electricians, plumbers, repair services or all types.
    ……..
    Population Ponzi Scheme R Us.

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  19. wrightingright (148 comments) says:

    @oompher , nice videos! Am watching them now.

    Am wondering, how did you make the videos, did you record them yourself or hire somebody?

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