Young people should go into business

YOUNG people needed to be encouraged to go into business, says Ovations Edu-tainment general manager Katrina Bercov.

The 26-year-old has been running the business for the past five years.

She has also won a swag of awards including the WA Young Businesswoman of the Year, the inaugural Small Business Achiever of the Year and the Operation Livewire Award.

“I was barely out of my teens when I started the business,” Ms Bercov said.

“I think that’s an ideal time to start a business. You don’t have four kids to feed and a mortgage to pay.

“It never occurs to young people that they can go into a business when they leave school.

“Instead we teach them to write CVs.”

Ms Bercov is also WA’s Ambassador for Youth Enterprise.

She was recently asked to be Australia’s Youth Enterprise representative at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperative’s small business forum.

Ms Bercov said she started her business because “no-one was going to give me a job doing what I wanted to do”.

Her company is really a business in two parts.

One side is corporate training.

“We provide leadership skills, a lot to do with corporate mythology and communications skills,” Ms Bercov said.

The company provides training to a number of corporate and government organisations such as BHP, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, West Coast Eagles, the WA Police Service and the Department of Minerals and Energy.

“It’s personal development-based training,” Ms Bercov said.

“We incorporate a lot of theatre into what we do. One of our products is called Dramatic Improvement.”

The second business is providing entertainment products such as murder mystery nights and time travel parties.

Ms Bercov said the time travel parties were unique to her company.

“They’re interactive events where we whisk clients off to a different time and place. It’s a quest-based event,” she said.

“For example, the medieval party revolves around a quest for the Holy Grail.

“It might be for corporate functions or a dad’s 40th birthday party.

“We employ actors to run those events.

“I started off doing those parties for friends and now I’m running them interstate.”

Ms Bercov said she chose her business because she was interested in working with people.

Her tertiary background is in education and psychology so she wanted to put those skills to use.

“Like Bill Gates and Richard Branson I started my business in the back room of my parents’ home,” Ms Bercov said.

“I had no capital and no contacts. I built up the business from a one person operation – with a person who didn’t know what she was doing – to doing what we’re doing now and having a great time.

“We’ve made lots of mistakes along the way but we’ve also made a lot of good decisions.”

The company is now operating in Melbourne as well as Perth.

“Melbourne was a great experiment. We’ve been there two or three years and it has been very successful for us,” Ms Bercov said.

“But some of our clients go into shock when they realise they’re dealing with a company from Perth.”

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