University Student Looks To Become CEO

A university student plans to create a company from scratch with a community of web users.

Yesterday saw the launch of, an innovative website that plans to create a company entirely from scratch with its community of users.

Started by an Australian university student, for a contribution of $10 an individual can become a member and ‘shareholder’ of the community and help develop the company. The creator of the website, Jamie McGraw, explains: “I’d just returned to my hometown of Mackay in Queensland and was looking for a job. The only real industry where I’d get paid enough to save for a house deposit around Mackay is the mining industry and I’m not trained in that area, so I dreamed up this.”

The website has a two-fold purpose for Mr McGraw: he’d seen the corporate collapses of Enron in the United States and One.Tel and HIH Insurance in Australia and decided he could do better than that. “A lot of CEOs might have the education and the familiarity with the industry, but they haven’t got the guts to stand up and take it if things start going sour, or the mental sharpness and business acumen to fix a company that is going the wrong way. I thought if there were any company out there looking for a CEO, I’d offer them my services.”

Realising that it was unlikely that any offers would be forthcoming and with no money behind him, he decided to do something in the meantime: attempt to start a company entirely from scratch, with those who contributed money or in-kind support contributing to the development of the company. “Everything from the name of the company and the design of its logo, the industry it works in and human resources will be decided by the community.” Jamie was inspired by other voluntary collaborative efforts on the Web. “I’d seen the success of Wikipedia, which is written and edited entirely by volunteers, and the close-knit nature of the eBay and Myspace communities, and thought that could be emulated in business.”

Jamie, who aims to raise $10 million from the project, hopes will not just be a successful enterprise but that it will also eliminate barriers that face many workers, graduates, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists today. “A lot of people can’t afford to go to university or even if they do, they don’t have a network of contacts because they are not from a connected family. This will give people that opportunity to network, even if they live in another country or do not come from a wealthy family. If it gets people into jobs they might have otherwise never got, then it will have done its job. And it gives people the opportunity to do something they might never have had the chance to do: contribute to something special, that might change the way we do business forever.”

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