Women in Innovation: Anna Zhang

"Canberra is such an exciting and unique city, as big decisions are being made here and you can see policies being implemented here quite efficiently."

We interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries. This week we spoke to Anna Zhang, Founder of EduObs, an EdTech company that helps early childhood teachers capture higher quality children’s learning and development data.

Tell me about your company and how it came to be.

I founded EduObs out of my frustration as an early childhood teacher unable to capture children’s learning data efficiently, which creates more workload. It turns out that the majority of the early childhood teachers, like me, still use paper to write down children’s observations, then transfer this data to the computer later. The core reason why I started this is that I want to make early childhood teachers’ jobs much easier, simpler and do so in a way that speaks to them.

What Canberra Innovation Network programs or connections have helped you along the way?

I’m part of the Coworking group, and have had the opportunity to speak to Hollie, the community manager at Launch,who has been very helpful; she gave me good advice on building an MVP as a non-technical founder and connected me with other people who shared the same journey. Also, my Intro Meeting with Candace (who is so lovely and warm) sold me on the benefits of the Coworking space.

What did you see as the need in the market?

The need to put early childhood teachers centric as users in the EdTech industry and in the early childhood education and care sector in general. EduObs’ mission is to ultimately improve the quality of early childhood programs; children only grow up once, and I feel we (as early childhood teachers) need to do as much as we can to help them thrive. My startup is the beginning of my journey to do this!

What do you specifically bring to the industry?

As an early childhood teacher, I have the advantage of truly understanding the pain points of the customers who have training in early childhood education. That enables me to see the problems that non-early-childhood-teachers can’t easily see.

Why is innovation important to you?

Because if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward; and I want to use innovation to make a social impact on children and early childhood teachers in Australia, and around the world.

What drives you to make a difference?

My desire to solve problems and my belief in putting customers at the centre of product development.

Do you have any advice for newbies to innovation?

Stay focused and creative, and show people that you care about the problems you’re solving.

What does it mean to you to be a female founder?

97% of the workforce in early childhood education in Australia are women; I feel embarking on this journey would empower other females in this sector to be bold and innovative just like I’ve been inspired by many other tech female founders in Australia.

What are the big barriers that you face?

As a non-technical founder, I’m trying to build a web application myself, which is a challenging and interesting journey (I’m learning so much about product development along the way). I’m seeking as much valuable advice and resources as I can! But the perk is that I can get feedback from early childhood teachers as I iterate the product.

Tell me about Canberra as a city for entrepreneurs.

Canberra is such an exciting and unique city, as big decisions are being made here and you can see policies being implemented here quite efficiently! I see Canberra as a friendly and resourceful city. “The help and resources are there for people who search for it”. To be able to join CBRIN definitely helps me to stay focused and inspired; as an entrepreneur, I want to stay close to a group of inspiring people with can-do attitudes.

What’s next for you and your company?

To roll out an MVP as soon as possible and start making a difference!

Follow Anna Zhang on LinkedIn.