Published on 16 October 2018

Youth enterprise nurtures young entrepreneurs

Onkaparinga Youth Enterprise Hub (OYEH) is an incubator for innovators, creatives, change makers and entrepreneurs aged under 30.

In its first 12 months OYEH recorded over 2300 attendances, launched three startups, and provided space for 13 young entrepreneurs to run their businesses.

Onkaparinga Now introduces you to four creatives who Community Development Officer Wilson Ndung’u says “are great examples of young people in our community who show what is possible, that you can maximise
your potential and achieve your dreams”.

Sam Wannan, 23, is a talented and versatile artist whose creativity is expressed on canvas and on screen, with his digital illustrations exhibited at art events, including the Adelaide Fringe.

His reputation is growing. So is his commitment to seeing other young artists gain the same opportunities he has been given through OYEH programs.

Sam now influences these programs, equipping young creatives to turn their passions into profits.

He’s also a member of OYEH’s steering committee, supporting the youth hub he says has been “an amazing boost” for his personal and professional development.

“It’s allowed me to connect with the community in a way nowhere else could. I’ve been able to advertise and sell artworks as well as connect with young artists to mentor them in developing their portfolios and selling their work.”

Josh Moorhouse, 24, shares Sam’s passion for OYEH, saying it changed his life.

The professional jazz musician was trained at the Elder Conservatorium of Music but the thought of inspiring others was something Josh could never have imagined in 2017. He just wanted to get well. Even playing the piano was difficult. But Josh says his adversity became his “ammunition to make big changes” in his life and the lives of others.

“OYEH has been an incredible platform for me to do that; to build relationships with people in the community and get them involved in our programs.” Today, Josh tinkles the ivories splendidly and invests in others selflessly.

“OYEH allowed me to start playing again,” he says. “And it’s given me opportunities to get involved with other young people, transition to volunteer roles, be a crew member at our Dare to Dream events, and get involved in the advisory group.”

Josh’s passion for his community led to his selection in the Bendigo Community Bank Fleurieu Future Leaders program. Council endorsed the selection by sponsoring Josh. Watch this space.

Stoly Mercer’s creativity shone from a young age. The busy toddler painted everything in sight, including the family home – with water! (No mess, says mum, Kym.) Today, the 19-year-old’s passion for creating and changing the world is expressed through her jewellery; beautiful sterling silver bracelets, earrings and necklaces, with a penchant for Harry Potter items. She even customises pieces for her growing market, working tirelessly to ensure there is a wide selection on her Facebook shopfront. Even when it hurts.

Debilitating pain from rheumatoid arthritis restricts Stoly’s mobility but not her determination to achieve her dreams. Attending OYEH’s jewellery making workshop 12 months ago sparked a desire to make a living from the hobby she lives and breathes. Her journey has been inspiring. Stoly embraced other programs, learning business and marketing skills, working alongside other creatives and volunteering. She is now a valued member of OYEH’s leadership team and even has her own business: Stoly’s Craft Creations.

“I love OYEH; its community and support, and how it’s helping me achieve my dreams,” she beams.

Michael Davies, 21, is a parkour instructor who sees things differently. Nothing is too hard. Nothing is impossible. If you want to get from A to Z he’ll show you how.

An urban space with its steps, rails, poles and benches becomes an environment to leap, vault, climb and quadrupedal land. Think acrobatic chases in James Bond’s Casino Royale. But Michael’s ‘nothing is too hard’ attitude was reserved for parkour. Life outside the discipline had obstacles too hard to scale. Until he joined OYEH.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without these guys,” he says. “From the age of 12 all I wanted to do was parkour. Even when I was doing something else, my mind was on parkour.” Michael says he tried to “kick off a hobby business”, instructing children at local playgrounds and thought that was the best he could achieve.

“Then I got involved in OYEH and they’re like ‘you can do it’. They showed me what I could do and how I could do it. “I now have my own business and make a living from teaching parkour to kids aged eight to 18. “I’m a different person now than when I came here and it’s only going to get better,” the young entrepreneur says.

Young entrepreneurs