Learner Stories: Ash Barbour
From Queensland to Stockholm, entrepreneur, and innovator Ash Barbour is making waves in tech as he completes a Professional Master in SET
See how a current learner turned their knowledge and passions into mission-driven ventures.
Ash Barbour grew up in rural Yeppoon, Queensland, he's since become a global citizen — traveling and living around the world and driving impact through his ventures. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs and decided to join the ToU community to network with other change makers on a mission. He currently lives in Stockholm and is the founder of Yazey.com, a MarTech SaaS platform.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs with decorated legacies in Australia, Ash always had a penchant for innovation. Seeing multiple family members build empires from nothing was the catalyst for Ash’s entrepreneurial journey.
“In my eyes, entrepreneurship is the colorful, and yet absolutely necessary intersection of art and science, where opportunity meets passion and tenacity, and is, without a doubt, the single most exciting and rewarding endeavor of my life.”
At just 13, he started his first venture, selling Coca-Cola to people in his community. Rather than studying at University when the time came, Ash decided to expand his worldview and volunteer — doing so in rural India, Thailand, and the Pacific Islands. It was at this point he started taking a greater interest in sustainability and ethics.
Following his volunteer experiences, Ash grew and sold his own social media networks with millions of followers and started a successful SaaS-based marketing agency. Aside from this, he served as a freelance marketing and sales development consultant with clients from around the world, ranging from boot-strapped entrepreneurs and luxury jewelry brands, to EdTech and FinTech startups. This was just the start.
With a passion for the future, Ash decided that a Professional Master in SET with ToU would give him the opportunity to share his career and life experiences in a dedicated network — the community at ToU was a driver in his decision to apply. As a successful entrepreneur, he also wanted to fine-tune his skills and scale Yazey.com. Founders of ToU Christian Rebernik and Dr. Thomas Funke have served as valuable mentors for Ash, something you wouldn't find in other programs.
“I have tried other online university courses and can assure you that ToU is two steps ahead of the curve. Unlike most other institutions, ToU leverages the latest platforms to make online learning truly fun and engaging. Thomas and Christian are hugely passionate about carving a new path in higher education. You can tell their optimism and tenacity have inspired the rest of the team at ToU, which is undoubtedly felt by all the ToU students. I highly recommend this program to anyone who values flexibility and is striving to firmly secure themselves a 'front row seat' in the exciting world of tech and sustainability startups.”
The peer network is the highlight of the program for Ash, and he now sees that the ToU network itself is one of the most valuable assets of the Professional Master in SET.
How it’s going
ToU fit well with Ash’s timeline for launching Yazey.com and he’s been able to apply the learnings from the program directly to his startup — all in real-time. Ash is excited to start new projects with his Co-Founder who he will shortly be meeting in Sydney, Australia for a business trip — the best part is he can work and study simultaneously. As Yazey.com takes off, he’s also working on a hobby project called Auto-pocket.co, a SaaS tool for Kobo eReaders.
Ash has a passion for technology, specifically data, and AI, as this applies specifically to his startup Yazey.com. He’s also enjoying exploring sustainability through GreenTech/CleanTech. In his free time, you’ll find Ash walking around the streets of Stockholm, hiking in the nearby forests, or listening to his favorite podcasts from a local cafe.
So what’s next for Ash?:
“I chose this degree as it can complement my hands-on startup experience with solid business acumen. The program is instilling within me essential business management skills that can be applied directly to my existing startup — or with which I can multiply my value at another company in the future. I'm excited and optimistic about the future.”
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