Born in New Zealand, moved to Australia at the age of three, Sapna Patel calls Sydney her home. After finishing school, the Australian-Indian completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), Bachelor of Law at The University of New South Wales in 2011. Sapna then went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at The Australian National University and was admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
During her penultimate year of university, Sapna did an internship in the Mergers & Acquisitions tax team at Ernst & Young. She stayed on at Ernst & Young during her final year of university, working part-time, whilst simultaneously teaching at both The University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney.
“I somehow won the 1st place prize for tax in my final year of university, so I guess it made sense to stay on as a tax graduate at EY”, Sapna said.
After a few years of working in tax, Sapna realised that it wasn’t where her interests lay. Sapna transferred to Ernst & Young’s Global Immigration practice where she worked as a Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent. “I liked the fact that I was changing people’s lives… I was helping people move to Australia. The opportunities we have in Australia are incredible. My parents have given me so much in the last 27 years, including the two things which I am most grateful for: my education and the opportunity to be living in Australia. My father worked as a legal consultant and spent 200 nights each year living in India on assignment so I am very grateful for the sacrifices that my parents made to bring up my brother and I”, Sapna added.
In July 2014, the young entrepreneur left her corporate job to start ImmiAdvisor.com. “I was sick of reading articles in the media where vulnerable visa applicants were falling into the trap of buying into incorrect advice and visa applications. It’s not fair and I wanted to make it fair. I wanted to start a business that was creative and challenging but still technical which also benefited the community, so I came up with ImmiAdvisor.com. I’ve designed and launched a platform (www.immiadvisor.com) that allows visa applicants to connect to registered migration agents with transparency. ImmiAdvisor.com is a free service for potential visa applicants and allows visa applicants to rate and review registered migration agents so that others are able to make more informed decisions.”
“My vision is to build momentum and reputation similar to TripAdvisor which is used by people all across the globe to research holidays, hotels and other hospitality related options, which has become a reliable source of information with customer testimonials, reviews and recommendations,” Sapna was quoted as saying.
When asked about the challenges she has faced as a Founder and CEO, she is adamant. “It definitely hasn’t been easy. But it’s something that’s developing bit by bit everyday. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day!” She attributes her progress to the team at UNSW Innovations. “I’m so grateful to be surrounded by some seriously incredibly talented people who have helped me get this far. I can’t thank people like Mary Liu and Alex Butterworth from UNSW Innovations enough for their constant support. Without their support and guidance I definitely would not have come this far.”
Sapna’s advice for other young entrepreneurs is-“Work in an industry you are passionate about, master the skills and then start a business in that field.”