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Daizy Maan

Founder, Australian Digital Job Accelerator & Australian South Asian Centre

Fast Five is our quickfire interview series where we hit up some legendary movers, shakers, innovators and changemakers with, you’ve guessed it, five big questions. In this week’s edition, we talk to Daizy Maan, founder of several inspiring, for-purpose enterprises.

Q1: Give us three words that describe your life as an entrepreneur.

Resilient, Energetic and Considerate.

Q2: Most entrepreneurs have an origin story- a moment in time or an experience that was the catalyst for their entrepreneurial journey. What is your origin story?

I was 19 and on a volunteer placement in Bangkok. Outside the scope of my legal placement, I ended up helping Tamil refugee women with entrepreneurial skills – seeing how that empowered them made me want to learn more, this led me to what I do today.

I realised entrepreneurship was a vehicle for empowerment, whereas before I had a naïve belief that business was just about making money.

Q3: Tell us about a massive flearning (failing + learning) moment for you.

I spent two months in India trying to launch Bold Punjab, I realised I could not apply the same assumptions I have in Australia.

In hindsight it seems obvious, everything does in hindsight.

The main thing was I thought I could do things really quickly, how I do them here in Australia – whereas I didn’t have the networks, momentum that I’ve spent years building here.

Fast forward 9 months, that failure was what I needed – it’s what birthed the Australian Digital Job Accelerator.

Q4: What do you wish you’d learned at school about starting or running a business?

That [starting a business] is one of the most impactful ways to make a difference, and also the steps on how to do it (lean startup way).

Too often we learnt about how big business operates – rarely did we learn about lean startup methodology.

Q5: What’s one book, website or podcast you’d recommend to aspiring young entrepreneurs, and why?  

I have two!

See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur – Valarie is a civil rights lawyer and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project. I used to get angry at injustice. I still do, but now I become aware of how that feels in my body to be so angry. I welcome the rage, but I act only out of love – love for those being oppressed, love for those whose voices have been silenced for too long and even love for those who I do not yet understand. I learned that from Valarie. 

Give Work by Leila Janah – Leila has taught me a lot about social entrepreneurship, she created jobs for over 4000 talented people in need in East Africa. She passed away at the beginning of this year and it broke my heart to see the world lose such a determined, dedicated and conscious leaders. Her legacy lives on through her company Samasource and LXMI.

More about this week’s Fast Fiver, Daizy Maan.

Daizy Maan is the founder of the Australian Digital Job Accelerator, which equips young people with the skills to get digital work. She also founded Australian South Asian Centre which is a membership basic community for ambitious South Asian womxn and also operates the Soul House, a physical dedicated space in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. She leads Deakin University’s entrepreneurship program – SPARK Deakin which has funded 51 founders whose 20 startups have generated over $3m in revenue and created 99 jobs.

Daizy is one of the many social entrepreneurs that took part in Future Anything’s National Semi-Finals 2020, as part of our high profile, international judging panel. Read more about the 2020 National Finals here.

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