29/06/2015 - 17:16

Empowerment gives students the edge

29/06/2015 - 17:16

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Just 12 years ago, the founders of Student Edge were students themselves; they’ve now built up a business with 750,000 members nationally and are set to expand their service offering.

Empowerment gives students the edge
EXPAND: Jeremy Chetty (left) and Damien Langley say their next offering will empower Student Edge members. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Just 12 years ago, the founders of Student Edge were students themselves; they’ve now built up a business with 750,000 members nationally and are set to expand their service offering.

A student advocacy service based in Subiaco is seeking to empower its national membership to identify and collectively remedy personal and social issues important to them.

Student Edge co-founder Jeremy Chetty said the business he started with Damien Langley had grown its membership to 750,000 nationally, despite flying under the radar since its inception in 2003.

The business has attracted new members by offering discounts, free job and internship search boards, career advice and wellbeing services online to students.

It has 25 staff, 18 of which are locally based.

As the next step in its growth trajectory, Student Edge is setting in motion plans to identify through surveys the most important issues of concern to its vast database, and then facilitate ways for students to come together and address them.

Student Edge general manager marketing Choon Tan said by forming a Sydney-based research and development division, the business had been able to look at new ways to improve experiences for members.

“It’s part of us giving back to the community and empowering young people. I think this is only possible now that after we have spent this many years building that trust with our membership base,” Mr Tan said.

“If we weren’t so maniacal about the member experience and making sure we always deliver what is in our members’ best interest I don’t think we could have gotten to where we are today.

“Historically we’ve seen a lot of programs designed by adults trying to solve young people’s problems; and the whole intent of this is to try and create a platform where young people can identify the problem and then we will bring them together to try and come up with the solutions for their own demographic.

“We want to see young people take ownership of the issues that they’re confronted with.”

Mr Tan said despite minimal marketing, the business had achieved remarkable word-of-mouth recognition and support across Australia.

“When you walk into a Sydney classroom and a quarter of the class already knows about you ... it’s testament to the fact that what we’ve done here is working,” he said.

Student Edge is targeting a membership of 1 million between 13 and 25 years old, which would be equal to a quarter of all of Australia’s students. Mr Chetty said that, by establishing a strong level of trust with students, the business had already achieved a scale that was now allowing it to give back in a way it hadn’t before.

“We’ve earned (students’) trust and their loyalty and with this type of market you really only get one shot at earning that trust. We feel we’re at a really good point now to go back out with this (project),” he said.


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