Some VERY exciting news to share today. I’ve been awarded a grant to travel to New York next May to attend the 99U Conference! Whoooooooo!!!!
The 99U Conference is one of – if not the best – gathering of creative entrepreneurial people from around the world. You can see more here. I’m so excited to be going. I’ve never been to the United States and I’ve never really been to a big conference either.
I think it’s going to be a game changer for Mr. Draper. I’m really looking forward to meeting and learning from all the entrepreneurial people there. If you’re New York-based and would like to catch up, please let me know. Likewise, if you can recommend some great creative businesses and makers to connect with, please let me know.
You’ll never guess which organisation has awarded me this funding… The Air Force. Yep, the Air Force is sending a guy who makes tea towels and napkins to a design conference in New York!
I still can’t believe I’m going either. There is a link though. When I discharged from the permanent Air Force in 2014, I was moved into the reserves. It is a compulsory thing that happens when you transition. Most people don’t give it a lot of thought. You don’t have to do anything; you’re just in the reserves.
The reserves turned out to be a good thing for me. During the first couple of years of business when I was really poor and cash flow was erratic, I was able to help out and do a few days here and there for the Air Force. At this year’s Air Show, you may have seen a fellow that looked remarkably like me standing around in uniform keeping an eye on a plane - a far cry from sewing napkins! But the reality for many of us makers and small business owners is that we need a second or third job to help support ourselves during these crucial start-up years.
The award I received is called The Prince of Wales Award. It is awarded in recognition of the role that reservists have within the Australian Defence Force. The recipient gets up to $8,000 dollars towards a professional development activity related to their civilian career. I was lucky enough to be one of two Victorian recipients.
A big thank you to Craft Victoria, who supported my application and helped me put together the paperwork. I’m really looking forward to sharing the trip and conference with you all!