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Charlotte and Xavier are 20. Their app can make you money, just for having a driveway.

When I was 20, I was busy putting my liver through the ultimate test of endurance popularly known as Contiki.

It’s a slightly different story for Melbourne couple Charlotte McKenzie and Xavier Morgan, both 20, who are instead spending their spare time between university classes and part time jobs building a company that isn’t only savvy, but rather brilliant.

The idea for NEEPA – an app that connects uni students with people living within walking distance of their campus – was born in early 2017, when the exercise and sports science student noticed how precarious actually getting to class was.

“I had just got my licence and wanted to drive to uni,” Charlotte told Mamamia.

“I applied to get a permit to park in the car park, but I was number 2000 in the queue. There was no chance I was getting it, but public transport in that area isn’t great and I was desperate to drive.

“The problem of finding a car park was stressing me out every time I’d turn up for uni.”

What was even more frustrating was to see how many vacant privately-owned parking spots were nearby. It prompted Charlotte to walk the neighbouring streets with her mother on a day off, door-knocking to ask if she could pay to use a man’s spot when he was at work during the day.

It worked – and for a much cheaper cost than what she would have paid through the university.

Once Charlotte told Xavier – a business and marketing student – about her solution to a painfully common student problem, the idea for NEEPA, something of an Uber for parking spots, was obvious.

After the duo found an app developer, and started to sketch out what their company would look like, they began flyer dropping and door knocking around Clayton’s Monash University, and working on campus to connect park owners and students via their app.

“It’s on demand. So you can go on the app, choose the parking spot you like, park there for as long as you want, and when you leave simply click ‘depart’. You don’t have to stick to a time limit like a ticket machine. It’s really easy. It’s also 20 to 50 per cent cheaper.”

Park owners who live near universities simply need to download the app, enter their details and their spot’s availability, and upload a photograph of the space for students to start paying. It’s a nice, handy way to earn some pocket money with a weekly direct transfer into your bank account.

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It’s still early days but slowly, surely, NEEPA is getting traction.

“I never saw myself becoming a business owner, both of my parents are in health sciences, so I never saw myself going into business,” Charlotte told Mamamia.

As for exploring the highs and lows of entrepreneurship with her partner, she added it’s always going to be a learning curve.

“Sometimes it has been stressful doing it with my boyfriend. Some days I realise we’ve spoken about nothing but NEEPA, but we’ve come to a bit of a balance.

“Because we’re students we haven’t got a lot of money yet to do large scale marketing, so it’s hard to get the word out, but we really want to start small and grow slowly.

“When this opportunity came up I thought it was something that could actually work and be helpful. It’s stressful, but I’m really enjoying it.”

You can download NEEPA by visiting their website or by searching for NEEPA in the app store.

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