A PASSION for community sport, and a willingness to go, took Jackson Dickfos down a path he would never have expected when he started at Sunshine Coast University.
The former captain of North Lakes State College wanted to be an exercise physiologist when he began a dual Bachelor of Business and Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor of Sport Exercise Science degree at University.
But a mandatory competition for Start-up Weekends has changed everything. Jackson went along, armed with an idea called SportsCube and somewhat disappointed that he might have skipped sporting fixtures at the weekend. His plan was to create goods that would help combat sports clubs in the City.
“I didn’t really know what it was back then, it was just an idea in my head,” Jackson says. “It wasn’t a well-thought out plan, it was just that I wanted to do something here. But it was passion that got other people to vote for it.
“Some of the guys from the same class jumped on board and said ‘we want to help you with this’.”
Jackson Dickfos graduated from Sportscube CEO and Sunshine Coast University (USC). While their pitch did not win first, second or third, they took home the award for the Spirit of Start-up Weekend and were on their way well. Jackson 's idea began as a task he needed to complete the course, and now he had a team that wanted to help him make it a reality.
“They co-founded it with me because they took it from something that was just a name really to something that we’re really passionate about now,” he says. “After the weekend a couple of weeks went by and I started getting emails from seasoned entrepreneurs, from investors, angel investors and all these sort of people asking if we would be interested in continuing it externally.”Some of those people have become mentors that are now on the advisory board of SportsCube.
The company, which was listed last February, has worked with grassroots sporting clubs to find out what their biggest challenges are. Jackson, Tim McMurray and Lachlin Praed are now working on a sponsorship marketplace, which aims to connect clubs after developing a range of ideas and seeking feedback seeking sponsors and businesses looking for a club to support.
“We’ve actually got merit for investment, which means we’re a lot closer than all the other ideas,” Jackson says.
“What they’re saying, particularly our advisory board and our potential investors, is you need to choose one (idea) that’s going to work now and then you can do all the rest that you know will help but aren’t profitable.”
SportsCube is a love labour, for now, and the boys are doing odd jobs from tutoring to picking fruit to pay the bills. After two years of hard work they are optimistic marketplace sponsorship will be a turning point.
“We’re in it for the long game and we knew that from the very get-go and that’s probably the most unique thing about us and where we’re sitting because everyone thinks we’re mad in that if it’s not there, or the money’s not there, why would you be touching it?,” he says.
“We weren’t even entrepreneurs in our eyes, we just wanted to fix some issues in community sport. It’s all evolved from there.”
Jackson, 23, is a USC ambassador and a regular visitor to his old school. His message to students is to have a go.
“The key is to really understand who you are. I think uni gives you that little bit extra freedom to do that, than school does,” he says.
So what has uni taught him? The value of networking, collaboration and entrepreneurship theory.
“Everyone says you’ve got to connect and it should be easier these days but in fact our generation is struggling with that,” he says.
“There’s more platforms that can help do that but our generation is struggling they’re very head down, phones-up orientated.”
In his opinion, if you don’t look up, put your hand out and genuinely engage, you’re missing out on some of the best opportunities.
Jackson Dickfos, Tim McMurray and Lachlin Praed have been working on ideas for helping sports clubs for the last two years.
Their interest stems from a personal relationship with grassroots sport and many significant challenges to their survival are faced by a realisation club.
They are regularly seeking feedback on ideas from around 50 clubs, and are currently working on a concept called Sponsorship Marketplace.