Advice from Nathaniel Diong - Founder of The Future Minds Network

Future Minds Network: Building Companies that Change the World

Nathaniel Diong is a Gen-Z educator from Melbourne, Australia and the CEO of Future Minds Network. They run entrepreneurship programs that develop future-ready students. Today, they’ve helped 10,000s of young people build their own companies, skills and mindset to thrive in the future. Nathaniel is also an international startup mentor, judge and Giant in Residence at Blackbird Ventures, Australia’s leading VC firm.

Tell us a little more about when and why you started Future Minds Network

At 10-years-old, I would cry myself to sleep because I felt so helpless to make a difference in a world where thousands died each day. Desperate to help youth realise they could make a difference, I founded Future Minds Network.

Truth be told, when I first started, I had no clue what I was doing. But over the years I realised I didn’t need to. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that you learn by doing. Your mission, direction, and company constantly evolve. You pivot or persevere. Regardless of whether you become an entrepreneur or not, you learn invaluable skills, mindset for the future.

So often we hold ourselves back because we think we’re not good enough, smart enough or innovative enough to change the world. But the truth is, young people have endless creativity, energy and the resilience to turn one simple idea into reality. All you need to do is try.

| “If you never try, you’ll never know and you’ll never grow”

You talk about pivot or persevere, did the direction of your company ever change?

100%. I was always passionate about ending world poverty. Over time, I realised that youth unemployment was a big cause of it, and that we were in a global unemployment crisis. Millions would struggle financially, be unsure of careers and lack skills for the future. Scarily, the statistic became my own story. I graduated high school scared, uncertain, and unprepared for the future.

Today, entrepreneurship skills are the No #1 skills demanded by employers. Yet, they’re not being taught anywhere. So at Future Minds, we’re using entrepreneurship to help students build crucial skills, mindset, and jobs for the future. More than that, we’re helping young people build companies that change the world.

Are there any success stories from the people you have worked with?

There are so many! From an international science journal for young researchers, a non-for-profit bridging the education gap in India and America, to a SaaS product accelerator.

One of the most wholesome ones, Letters Against ISO, was started by one of our amazing alumni. When COVID19 hit, aged care residents were no longer able to see their loved ones, and had to eat alone at their tables in silence. With no one to talk to or see, one resident described it like being back in the Holocaust. The young founders of LAISO, decided to send encouragement letters to support the elderly in times of need, and it was a hit! Today, they’ve sent over 6000 encouragement letters to residents, and have 1200 volunteers world-wide.

Barbara receiving a message from Letters Against ISO

What advice do you have for young people interested in entrepreneurship?

1. Get on the field

If you want to play soccer, you’re not told to sit on the bench and just watch. You get on the

field, learn drills, lose games, and train again and again. You learn more in one hour of training than you will in one month of watching from the sidelines. Watching only helps when you know what you’re looking for. The same goes with entreprene