Meet Susan Ryan.
I’ll always remember the date I arrived in this city, because it was the same weekend as the Pasha Bulka came to shore, (July 2, 2007). Before that I’d been living on the central coast.
Up until a few years ago, I worked part time as a medical receptionist while also looking after my dad who was diagnosed with dementia. I’ve always been interested in aged care issues, and in 2009 I decided to go back to uni, studying social science. I majored in health and did my honours project in dementia. Taking care of my father and studying his illness helped me come up with an idea for an app.
I realised that some of Dad’s problems were actually a reaction to being lonely. I worked to reduce his feelings of loneliness, skyping his family overseas, putting his own music on, rather than the music they usually played. I thought, maybe I could turn this into an app. I worked with a web developer and we manually did some proof of concepts. Once it became an app it was a new type of challenge. Now we’re doing trials with individuals; I’m onboarding new customers. We’re pre-revenue, at a point where we are about to receive traction, and we just ran out of money. I’m at the pulling-my-hair-out-stage, but I’m sure lots of startups go through that.
These days I’m working at home or I’ll work at NeWSpace. I’m relieved The Edwards is open again; it’s a great space to work. I love the freedom being an entrepreneur gives me, and I actually like the challenges, not every day is golden. And everyone in Newcastle who supports startups has supported me: The Business Centre, I2N, Hunter iF. We’ve been really really lucky.