Starting a Startup with the Plato Project

As part of my mission for personal growth through acquisition and sharing of knowledge, the increasingly popular social entrepreneurship movement appeals to me.

My health care background also fuels my interest in sustainable and empathetic innovation. In fact, my desire to effect change through consumer involvement and facilitation has informed other professional interests of mine, including health informatics and user experience design.

Social entrepreneurship appeals to the altruistic part of me that doesn’t feel the need for voluntourism to appease. I believe in empowerment – that is, helping people to help themselves. But I also want to give back to my local community before seeking to change the world. You know, baby steps 😉

I first found out about the Plato Project through a sponsored ad on my Facebook news feed. I always keep an eye out for interesting business articles, and Plato’s ad drew my attention and prompted me to quickly scan the landing page. The opportunity to develop an idea for a startup with a short course, delivered under a school of thought focused on mindset and purpose, was novel and in line with my own style of thinking and working. The Plato Project is focused on helping entrepreneurs develop purposeful business in a way that is meaningful to each creator.

I took the plunge and signed myself up. I already had an idea brewing in the back of my mind for a couple of years, so now was as good a time as any to develop it into a tangible business plan, which is the end product at the end of the course.

Sessions were held on Saturdays at the very swish Edgelabs space in Fitzroy, Melbourne. The environment did wonders for my creativity and productivity!


Our facilitator was Ben Roulston, an experienced entrepreneur and enthusiastic teacher. Multifaceted educational tools and resources were provided, including:

  • Self-directed learning through Plato Project’s online learning portal
  • Templates for each activity that would fit neatly into the final business plan
  • Group discussion and idea sharing
  • Interactive tutorials
  • Facilitated free time to work on activities
  • Insightful guest speakers
  • One-on-one phone meetings with Ben to discuss individual progress and obtain personalised feedback


Each and every 6-hour day would be over before I knew it. Time flies when you’re having fun, becoming inspired and learning heaps!

My time with the Plato Project gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to like-minded entrepreneurs – not only my classmates, but entire networks dedicated to value-driven global citizenship. During my time as a class participant, I was able to arrange meetings with two guest speakers and gain valuable insight and advice about my business, while offering ideas of my own. It’s the empathetic exchange of ideas and stories that makes the Plato experience so positive.

You can learn more about the Plato Project here, and find me on Linkedin if you’d like more info on my activities.

Tas xo

Review: Elyros Restaurant, Melbourne


Cretan Cuisine in Camberwell

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with one of my colleagues, the lovely G, at Elyros Restaurant and Wine Bar.

It’s refreshing to come across a restaurant serving niche dishes from the Mediterranean island of Crete. Cretan cuisine is seasonal, and remains true to its natural sources.

Our bread basket featured a variety of savoury and sweet breads, complete with a healthy dose of olives, olive oil, creamy yoghurt and chunky dip featuring a hint of chilli and capsicum.

The wine list is extensive, organised by country or region, and comes complete with maps.

Elyros has a $45 set lunch menu on Sundays from 12pm-3pm. It’s filling and hearty yet light at the same time. A lovely introduction to a quaint little island I’d love to visit someday!

xo Tasneem

Magnum Pleasure Store – Pop Up Store @ Emporium

***There’s a magical place where you can create your own Magnum ice cream!***

Upon discovering its existence on Monday morning, I knew that a pilgrimage this weekend was essential. However, on Tuesday, I decided I couldn’t wait that long.


Interesting fact: that ‘M’ on the ceiling is actually made of hanging Magnum popsicle sticks!

Being there on a Tuesday just after lunchtime, I only had to wait in line for about 10 mins. Once I placed my order, service was SUPER fast – I received my Magnum in under 60 seconds!

You get to choose what kind of chocolate you would like your vanilla ice cream dipped in (I chose dark chocolate). Select up to three crunchy/crumbly toppings (I chose roasted hazelnuts, roasted almonds and vanilla crumble). Then choose what kind of chocolate you’d like drizzled over the top (milk chocolate for me)!


The Magnum Pleasure Store is located on level 1 at the Emporium, and closes on 10 August 2014 – so make a date!

xo Tasneem

Photoshoot: Queen’s Birthday 2014

The Queen’s Birthday public holiday in Victoria is the last public holiday until November! I made the most of my long weekend, and met up with my dear friend Luster, who is a part-time photographer and nurse extraordinaire. She brought her amazing camera, and I offered my curious and humbled self as her model on a leisurely stroll through the streets and laneways of the Melbourne CBD.

First stop was St Paul’s Cathedral. The back entrance and courtyard was shaded, which gave us ideal lighting conditions.


Then, after a change of costume, we walked over to Hosier Lane. Did I say Luster’s camera is amazing?


We had lunch at the Pankcake Parlour (this is my Best Breast of Chicken – “Tender breast of chicken, crumbed and crowned with our original hollandaise sauce, resting on a buckwheat pancake, or spiced up with Cajun spices topped with lemon parsley butter”):



Then, it was time for a final costume change before heading off to GPO and exploring some laneways. We met up with Luster’s friend and fellow photographer, Marg and had some AMAZING hot chocolates at Chokolait!







Dark hot chocolate, affogato and jaffa 🙂

Winter days are all too short, and time flies when you’re having fun! We decided to hop on a tram and head to Parliament before the sun set.


This is my favourite photo by Marg. She suggested I point my toes towards the centre of one of the heart-shaped tile motifs outside the main Parliament doors. I was afraid it would look awkward, but it turned out just fine! She clearly knows what she’s doing 🙂


The photos on Luster’s and Marg’s Google+ profiles are inspiring for novices and pros alike, so check them out! It was a brilliant day out with a couple of truly talented ladies, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the full edited albums!

xo Tasneem