The Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp Final Showcase represented the culmination of 12 weeks of intense exploration and discovery by ten teams of Victoria’s most innovative graduates and students, who presented their range of business ideas to a packed audience at the BizDojo in February.
“Each team starts out with an idea that they hope to turn into a business,” explains Emily Grinter, Viclink’s Entrepreneurship Manager, and Programme Manager of the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp. “Whether they achieve that or not is not actually our primary goal—it’s the learning along the way that is important. We want to grow these young people into entrepreneurs who have the skills to take virtually any idea and work through the process to determine its viability.”
One of those ideas started out as a romantic gesture—“I wanted to find a way to leave messages for my girlfriend to collect around town”—but led Glen Peek to create ‘Stash’, an app that enables people to stash images, videos and text for others to find, anywhere in the world. While investigating different ways to create revenue from his product, Glen landed his first job—for Victoria University—delivering a digital scavenger hunt for students taking part in New Students' Orientation week. Stash is now available for download from Google Play and the App Store.
Also in the tech space, John Gelbolingo from Sweet Tea Interactive introduced his augmented reality app, which he is targeting at the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) industry. “Museums can use it to engage visitors with their exhibitions, and help them to experience art in a new and different way,” says John. And because the app’s motion capture sensors enable people to virtually ‘try-on’ costumes or garments, the team is approaching New Zealand Fashion Week and the World of Wearable Arts (WOW) to discuss future opportunities to work together.
Wanting to help tertiary students to better manage their money was the initial motivation behind team Blume’s app, ‘Teller’; however, significant market research proved their prototype wasn’t viable. The team has since identified another potential avenue for the product, and is looking at partnering with a financial advisory firm who may use the app to improve the way it engages with its customers (who are also looking to manage their money more successfully).
Team Par’s mentor-matching idea gained ground after their market research survey of 500 mentors found that 40 percent of volunteer mentors were still waiting to be matched with mentees. Par’s programme enables mentoring organisations to manage their recruitment, training, matching and managing processes more quickly and efficiently, so they can stay focused on the people that they are striving to help. Already working with the Primary ITO, among others, they are interested in talking to anyone who has a mentor-matching problem to solve.
Lack of access to sanitary products in New Zealand has been a hot topic in the news for a while now, but team Dignity have used the Bootcamp experience to do something about it. Their business model involves selling corporate subscriptions for businesses to receive regularly deliveries of environmentally-friendly sanitary items—and for every pack bought, another is donated to schools, so that girls won’t have to miss school due to lack of sanitary products. The team has already signed up a number of Wellington businesses who see the service as aligning with their value of corporate social responsibility, while Dignity’s idea has also been picked up in Auckland by the NZ Herald.
Climate change is an issue that, for many, seems just too big to tackle, with no easy way to take meaningful action. Enter team Colibri, whose winning idea from Climathon 2016 is focused on enabling individuals to offset the carbon footprints of their purchases with a small contribution that goes towards local climate change mitigation projects. Given that one third of environmental impact occurs on our plates, the team is now talking with local cafes and restaurants about using the Colibri e-commerce platform to collect those contributions.
Other presentations included: a social gathering platform (FlockIn) to connect exercisers with others to work out with; a 24/7 marketing tool (Maax) which combines human knowledge with external data sources to anticipate which products customers want, and when; a drink straw (Majiic Juice) that flavours the water with fruit juice when sipped through, and a programme (Exchange Link) that enables Kiwi university students to study abroad stress-free.
“The students in this intake have shown really impressive dedication to the programme,” says Emily. “Every single participant has taken advantage of the awesome opportunities that are made possible by our partners and sponsors such as the BizDojo (who allow our teams to pretty much live there while Bootcamp is on), Deloitte Private, Chapman Tripp and 1st Assembly. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”
By Linda Palmer-Scott - Writer for Viclink
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