Recruitment – Launches Six-month Founders Apprentice Program: Young Entrepreneurs

Web start-up hunts for a “founder apprentice”

By Michelle Hammond
Monday, 20 August 2012

Australian online start-up is on the hunt for a “founder apprentice”, who will work closely with the business’ co-founder Ned Dwyer on day-to-day operations.


Tweaky, which describes itself as the world’s first marketplace for minor website customisations or “tweaks”, was founded by Dwyer and Peter Murray.


It was originally known as ThemePivot, which, under Dwyer’s direction, won a prize at Startup Weekend Melbourne last year.


Dwyer, who has previously blogged for StartupSmart, used to run Native Digital, a digital creative marketing and product agency. However, he has stepped aside in order to focus on Tweaky.


Last month, the start-up secured $450,000 in funding from 99designs co-founder Mark Harbottle, angel investor Leni Mayo, and the SitePoint Group.


At the time of the deal, Dwyer told StartupSmart the funds would go towards “building out our development scene”, hiring staff and marketing.


As part of that plan, Tweaky has launched a six-month program dubbed the Founders Apprentice, advertising a full-time position for a “founder-in-waiting” to work with Tweaky.


“Basically we’re launching a program for a founder’s apprentice, borrowed from NY start-up Skillshare’s approach to fostering up-and-coming entrepreneurial talent,” Dwyer says.


According to Dwyer, the program would be ideal for someone who is keen to “learn the ropes” from a funded, early stage start-up before going on to start their own company.


“Apprenticeship is defined as a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill. Apprentices build their careers from apprenticeships,” he says.


“In an ecosystem where college recruiting sessions are dominated by corporations, young aspiring entrepreneurs need more opportunities to learn directly from start-up founders.”


“I believe that for the start-up ecosystem in Australia to get stronger, we need to be supporting up-and-coming talent in computer science as well as in product and marketing.”


The apprentice will work closely with Dwyer on the day-to-day operations of Tweaky, with an emphasis on customer and product development.


“This includes developing relationships with strategic partners to taking minutes at board meetings to wire framing new functionality for the site,” he says.


Dwyer is quick to point out the program is “certainly not all rainbows and good times”.


“There is a lot of hard work involved in getting a company off the ground but you will learn new skills across the whole range from slinging code to fundraising,” he says.


According to Dwyer, the role is designed for someone who is passionate about product development, keen to work in a fast-growth company and “knows how to get shit done”.


Dwyer says he hopes other start-ups will consider introducing similar programs in order to boost the growth of product and marketing talent among Australian tech start-ups.


“The founders of Shoes of Prey, Bugherd and 99designs are all supportive of the initiative, and we’re challenging other start-up founders to take on board their own apprentice,” Dwyer says.

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