NEWS.com.au (Australia): Idea works for buddies: “That investment looks set to pay off, and the pair will be named NSW Young Entrepreneurs of the Year at Shell's Livewire youth business awards tomorrow.”: “WorkBuddy beat a field of eight finalists to win the title, which comes with a trophy and a $7000 cheque from Shell.” (ShellNews.net) 5 Dec 04
By Jim Dickins
December 5, 2004
STAFF rosters are the bane of many a manager's life, but two young inventors have developed a system that makes them as easy as sending a text message.
Roland Handel, 28, and Aaron Ng, 24, left secure jobs in the IT sector 12 months ago to start their own company, WorkBuddy, using their savings and contributions from family.
That investment looks set to pay off, and the pair will be named NSW Young Entrepreneurs of the Year at Shell's Livewire youth business awards tomorrow.
It hasn't been easy for the budding businessmen, neither of whom had any experience with the financial and legal issues confronting a new enterprise.
"I couldn't emphasise enough how hard the past year has been," Handel says.
"We came from a big company where we had secure positions and a good salary. We've foregone that, and haven't had any salary coming in for the past 12 months."
WorkBuddy software allows managers to prepare rosters electronically and send them out to employees via a text message.
Employees simply reply to the text message to confirm whether they can work.
Aimed at the hospitality, health and security industries, the system could equally apply to any company employing shift, casual or part-time workers.
WorkBuddy already has two large clients, and Handel and Ng are working with two contract software designers to refine the product to their specifications.
Handel says the idea came out of his casual work as a student.
"When I was at uni, working in hotels and bars, all the rosters were done on paper," he says.
"I thought there had to be a better way to do it."
Years later, as a marketing graduate, he got to know Ng, a software designer in same company, and they decided to give the concept a go.
"We've spent most of the year doing development," Handel says.
"We've spoken to industry bodies as well as bars and pubs, and they've all been very enthusiastic."
The pair estimate they've spent about $30,000 on development so far, without paying themselves any salary. But they feel it has been worth the risk and hard work.
"It's turning an idea into reality - making that happen is an enormous challenge," Handel says.
"It's also knowing that if we come in and work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, we're actually helping ourselves."
WorkBuddy beat a field of eight finalists to win the title, which comes with a trophy and a $7000 cheque from Shell.
The Livewire program, open to 18- to 28-year-olds, provides advice and mentoring to young businesspeople, as well as awards.
The Sunday Telegraph