Studying in Australia gave Alex a unique opportunity to explore his entrepreneurial side. Now his delivery platform is helping businesses in Ballarat reach more customers.
Born and raised in Guyana in South America, Alex Power came to Ballarat in 2012 to study mining engineering at Federation University. While he wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do, he knew that the mining industry in Australia offered strong career opportunities, half a world away from home.
After two years at Federation Uni, Alex realised engineering wasn’t for him, and instead found his calling in business. His creativity and ‘can-do’ attitude pulled him in another direction, and Federation Uni provided the perfect pathway into entrepreneurship studies.
“Much to the horror of my course coordinator and my dad, I decided I don't actually like mining engineering. I'm a little more creative and if you take certain creative liberties in engineering the world will literally fall down around you.”
He graduated in 2017 with not just a degree in entrepreneurial studies but also a love for the charming and historical regional Victorian city. And among international students, he isn’t the only one.
“The international students all joke about the curse of Ballarat - every person who comes through the international exchange program, once they left, they all came back at some point. You just can’t really leave the place,” Alex said.
After graduating, Alex began his journey to developing his own start-up. He says that entrepreneurialism runs in the family, and it didn’t take long for Alex to make his mark in Ballarat.
Alex launched his first start-up, Delivr, in 2017. Local to Ballarat, Delivr partners with local restaurants to deliver food across the city. While other food delivery services have focused on the major cities, Alex has made sure Ballarat hasn’t been left out.
This local connection has been particularly important during the pandemic - providing income for locals and international students alike and supporting local restaurants and cafes to operate during lockdowns.
“We just kept showing up and building rapport and relationships. I'd like to think that I have a personal relation with most if not all the stores which we service. It's about having empathy for everyone involved and just being friendly.”
This is where Alex says Delivr stands out, with its focus on the relationships with the local restaurants and cafes, providing a hybrid commission structure.
“Restaurants can choose where they want to enter and we kind of make it work” he said. Businesses are able to retain their relationship with the customer, with Delivr providing businesses with access to all of their customers.
“We work with local business to try and keep the money in the area. As a local start-up, we have the ability, the time and the energy to work hands on with our partners in Ballarat,” he said.
Alex’s hands-on approach is working wonders with local businesses. During the early days of Delivr, Alex partnered with ‘local legends’, Griffin Burger, to help get more burgers into Ballaratian bellies.
“They are a cult icon in the Ballarat region. And we're very fortunate to have that friendship and business relationship - we both grew off each other’s backs.”
This partnership approach to delivery has continued, and Delivr continues to work closely with businesses to deliver local products to market.
“We recently began collaborating with a local distillery to produce and deliver ready-to-drink espresso martinis. It’s kept our focus on local –the distillery is in Ballarat, the people who designed and printed the labels are in Ballarat.”
With the success of Delivr, Alex believes that Victoria is the perfect launching pad for new business ventures, and he encourages others to pursue their business dreams in the Victorian Government’s Future Founders Program, delivered by Study Melbourne.
Through bootcamps, roadshows and targeted funding, the Future Founders Program provides international students with practical business skills and access to some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs.
The goal is to promote the success of international students such as Alex and encourage other international students to develop and launch their start-up ideas.
“The brilliance of the Future Founders Program is that it allows other international students to see the success of others who have come and paved the way before them.”
While Alex has big plans for expanding Delivr beyond Ballarat, he is already looking to future opportunities.
“As an entrepreneur, it’s difficult to find the right ecosystem to build a business. After coming to Australia, the big message is - oh wait, you can do anything!”
After a successful 2021 program, the Future Founders Program will be back in 2022. More information can be found on the Study Melbourne website.