Queensland Young Australian of the year Taj Pabari is transforming the way kids learn
Anyone who’s started a business knows that it’s one of the most challenging things you can do in life. It takes planning, commitment, patience, hard work and great instincts. Launching a successful business is a big accomplishment—but launching a hugelysuccessful business, at only 14 years old, is out of this world!
Enter Taj Pabari, founder of Fiftysix Creations—Australia’s leading entrepreneurial workshop provider. The company is committed to helping kids learn the skills they’ll need to thrive professionally, through practical and collaborative methods that reflect real-world situations. At 18, Taj has already accomplished more than many people twice his age.
His business premise is simple: who better to teach kids than, well, other kids? With his team of 28 staff, most of whom are under 18, Taj offers a three-day Business Camp, where kids get to work in teams and create product prototypes.
“It’s just incredible,” says Taj. “Three days of non-stop learning. The kids experience some amazing life lessons and learn a lot, and they’re building a cohort of young social entrepreneurs. That’s so powerful—young people growing their own businesses…the skills they learn from these Business Camps apply to all aspects of life. They’re transferrable, timeless skills, and they’re the kinds of skills that are actually enjoyable to learn.”
“We’re now a team of 28. About 50% of that team is 18 or under, and I think that allows us to build really fantastic connections with kids, because we’re not building teacher-student relationships, we’re building student-to-student relationships”
Ever-committed to reaching for the stars, Taj has set himself a very big goal: educate 100,000 kids by 2020. If you think that sounds ambitious, you’d be right. But, after speaking with Taj, you realise that if there’s anyone who can do it, it’s him.
“We’re at 48,000 kids now and I think 100,000 should be quite easy,” says Taj. But his confidence wasn’t always so steadfast. We asked Taj about the early days of his workshop program, before the Business Camp had been launched.
“I remember the first workshop we did was like six kids and we thought, ‘We’ve got to get to 100,000 kids! We’ve just done a workshop withsixkids and it’s taken up like a whole day!”
Since then, Fiftysix Creations has expanded its reach and can now help a lot more kids, a lot more quickly. Much of the work they do is in remote communities in outback Queensland, where a greater focus on education, mentorship and support is needed.
“It’s something that I’m so lucky to be a part of,” Taj told us. “The work that we do really allows any young people in the regions to get started in life. Regardless of where they are in Australia, they have the opportunity to go and change the world.”
We caught up with Taj recently to find out how he was going with his goal, and we wound up talking about how, growing up, he was the least likely person to ever do something like this.