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From academic to entrepreneur

Tony Tan loved being involved with everything at school; while focussing on his heavy academic load of 7 VCE subjects over two years and an external language course he also managed to throw himself into a school production, social justice activities, camps, a trip on the Young Endeavour and participation in sport. That foundation has continued into his adult life beyond CBC.  

Following on from completing Year 12 as the Dux of his year in 2011, Tony headed to Monash University to complete a double Arts/Science Degree, majoring in Sustainability and Chinese. At Monash Tony continued to explore the wider world of opportunities beyond his studies. Inspired by his range of experiences and camps at school, Tony and friends at a residential college and in clubs at Monash organised excursions and trips to socialise, build relationships and be active. Tony also worked as a tutor in English language classes and got involved in the student leadership programs team to facilitate leadership and positive learning experiences. Through the Student Leadership Program Ancora Imparo- ‘Always Still Learning’ he was able to meet and built relationships with influential change makers.  

During his studies Tony also discovered a love of travel and an eagerness to explore and discover more of the world. In Thailand he discovered a market selling ethical clothing and backpacks and on his return he founded ‘Boyfriend Material’ a small start-up focussed on delivering quality goods to fellow students at a reasonable price. Boyfriend Material quickly developed and grew to the point that Tony was able to sit down with his old principal at CBC and offer two annual scholarships to CBC students to support ‘Leadership’ and ‘Achieving Potential’.  

On completing his studies in 2016, Tony took up a role as a Development Associate in the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor working in External Relations, Development and Alumni. This sees him working to raise funds to go back into departments such as the Monash Sustainability Institute for departmental research and student support.  

Through 'Boyfriend Material' Tony experienced the learning curve of start-ups; being and entrepreneur and building and sustaining a business. Like all entrepreneurs, he has itchy feet and Boyfriend Material is on hiatus and on the back burner while the next project takes off. Tony’s next venture is a prototype for a hydroponic vertical farming system to use in apartments and smaller homes. Tony crowd funded his way to Texas for the 3DS Global Roundup Convention, meeting other entrepreneurs and growing his dream. This project is currently acquiring users and supporters in preparation to launch to investors.  

Tony has certainly packed a lot into a short few years since finishing school. His vision, energy and focus on supporting others are fantastic for the wider St Mary's College community to see.  

You can see more of Tony on Linkedin on Youtube or follow him on Twitter.

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