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Masaba Gofran iAwards 2018

Young entrepreneur heading to National iAwards

5 June 2018

Masaba Gofran is an Australian National University (ANU) graduate, who studied a Bachelor of Commerce at the College of Business and Economics (CBE) and is a finalist in the National iAwards 2018 for her new app, Eat With Me. The app was a Merit Recipient at the ACT iAwards which means Masaba will attend the national finals in August.

Born in Bangladesh, Masaba grew up in Indonesia before moving to Canberra as an international student. During her first O-Week at ANU, she met some simpatico students studying software engineering who helped to introduce her to the world of app development.

Masaba was also supported by CBE Associate Professor Vinh Lu, who encouraged Masaba to showcase her work by entering competitions (that she often won). Masaba values the connections she made at CBE and cites the proximity to talented academics as one of the main reasons she chose to attend ANU.

I wanted to have access to the best of the best minds.

Eat With Me is designed to bring university students and staff together over a meal. Masaba says, “It allows staff and students to meetup for lunch and matches you up based on your location, interests, food preferences and a variety of other preferences you have.”

The intention is to initiate conversations, discussions and innovation across campus which may not have happened otherwise.

The app is currently only available within ANU, as this builds in an element of security and user management, however Masaba plans to scale it up eventually. She sees it not only as a way to encourage intellectual discourse and collaboration, but also a way of improving well-being within the university.

I wanted people to start talking on campus. I realised that it would help with mental health issues.

The journey from idea to fruition was not always a smooth one for Masaba. She struggled with the vast and rudderless navigation of the app development world, without a predefined path to success. By making use of InnovationACT (IACT), which runs entrepreneurial programs and workshops for idea generation, she was able to meet like-minded people who helped clarify her direction.

Ultimately though, it is Masaba’s strong personal experiences that guide her:

“As an international student, I definitely felt all those things, like isolation and cultural diversity. They’re part of the personal experiences that drive me, and helped me realise the ways in which inter-college socialisation can benefit idea generation and professional networking. For example the girls I met studying engineering, or my involvement with the ANU Innovation Symposium, both introduced me to things I wish I’d known earlier. I’m hoping that this app will help give others that opportunity.”

Updated:   5 June 2018 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team