Elise Fritsch has been participating in Hub Australia’s Spark program, growing her startup ‘Work It Girl’. She was recently nominated for Adelaide’s 40 Under 40 award for her entrepreneurial success.
Hub Adelaide’s Spark program is a 12 month all-inclusive workspace and mentorship package for entrepreneurs who need extra support to get their startup up and running.
What motivated you to start Work It Girl?
I first entered the workforce at 19, straight out of high school. When I was exposed to negative workplace cultures I started thinking about how I could get information and research on a company’s culture before I apply. Culture is an essential part of the decision to join a company!
Women in the workplace have other things to consider as well, such as flexibility if you have or are going to have kids, or bullying and sexual harassment. All of these combined on top of the pressures of a normal job can be quite stressful.
I created Work It Girl because of my personal experiences in my career, and it was an issue for so many other women I talked to – the common denominator is that most issues are just not being talked about.
Work It Girl is designed for young girls and women to have a resource where they can do research on companies, come to a platform to seek out advice and answers and find jobs with organisations that want to work for and with women, especially post-millennials. I realised this at a young age, and I knew the gap was still there for young people entering their careers.
How did you find out about Spark?
It was destiny.
I was searching for office spaces to base myself in and came across Hub Adelaide, where I saw the Spark Program. I applied and was successful, and the program’s worked really well for me.
As a startup, you go through similar motions – financial issues, stress, challenges, failures and success. I really wanted to be reinvigorated and my aim for the Spark program was that it would reignite that energy and motivation for me.
What’s the best part of the Spark Program?
I’ve found an amazing newfound network that is so helpful in my career – our lecturer is wonderful, and I knew my mentor, Mark Kough, was perfect for me as soon as I met him.
He works in the online space, and sold one of his businesses on Shark Tank – I knew I could get so much out of that relationship.
In the space, you’re around other startups and students that haven’t necessarily had a business before either, and you’re able to get feedback and bounce ideas off each other. There’s a vulnerability at the beginning that you bond over, as you’re going through such similar emotional struggles trying to develop your businesses into something great.
I have much more support and structure with Spark, so my business is in a much better position.
What’s your advice for this year’s Spark applicants?
Come with a solid idea and don’t deviate from it.
There’ll be times where people will question your ideas and concepts, but if you know deep within your heart it’s what you want to do, you can create it – whether it’s a product or a service, the core behind the way you run a business is always the same.
Be prepared for a crash course, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Each week you have a different subject from the business course and we power through it – it can be very overwhelming but the reward is worth the energy you put in.
What does success look like for Work It Girl?
Our aim is to begin operating interstate, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, which is another reason Hub is really helpful as a coworking space.
We want to begin an education platform for young women, with mini masterclasses on how to get a pay rise, how to get a promotion, how to be competitive in your industry – modules that are productive and educational for how to conduct yourself in the workforce and reach your goals.
What do you like about working in Hub Adelaide?
I love being in Hub – there’s an amazing startup energy and great vibe in the design and layout.
When you arrive there’s events and networking, so you can connect with other businesses and partners, and there’s a potential for new clients and connections.
The beauty is that even a flexible membership allows you to work interstate at Hub sites in Melbourne and Sydney.
Through Spark, I have a great place to focus on my business and my work, and the facilities are great – it’s perfect having a meeting room I can just book and practice my speech and pitch without interruptions.
The professionalism of the staff is a highlight – they’re always on the side of the members, and they’re always ready to listen to our suggestions and help take them further.