New initiative to support job-generating student entrepreneurs

UniSA research students A new initiative is paving the way for entrepreneurial students to transform their ideas into business ventures.

The State Government and the University of South Australia are partnering to deliver Venture Catalyst (VC), a program that aims to commercialise the ideas of young South Australians.

With first round applications now open, the VC program will encourage entrepreneurship by providing the seed funding and public endorsement needed to develop their ideas.

Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Susan Close said the initiative is an innovative approach to encourage students to enhance their research skills through entrepreneurship.

Dr Close said the program is an exciting opportunity for university students to have a real impact on the future of the South Australian economy.

“Through this initiative we aim to increase the number of graduates motivated to start a new company as well as encouraging young entrepreneurs to remain in South Australia,” she said.

“The recognition and development of opportunities can help young innovators to commercialise ideas that can create jobs and support this State’s economic transformation.

“It’s not often young entrepreneurs are able to access seed funding to develop products or services that could later lead to job-creating business ventures.”

The Venture Catalyst program is open to current students, as well as university graduates who have completed their qualification in the previous 12 months. Under the partnership, $150,000 has been committed by the State Government.

The program will link with other industry partnerships such as the Innovation and Collaboration Centre with Hewlett Packard and the Lance Hill Design Centre with Hills Ltd.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the University is thrilled to be partnering with industry and government to support the growth of entrepreneurship in South Australia.

“Universities by their very nature are a breeding ground for new thoughts and innovative ideas,” Prof Lloyd said.

“The VC initiative is a way of harnessing the creative energy of our students and transforming their passion and ideas into projects that will be of real benefit to the wider community.

“Government and industry collaborations play an important role in the education service we provide to our students.

“This initiative gives students the opportunity to start making a positive impact on the future of our state and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the new services and products that will be developed from this partnership.”

Together these initiatives will provide the support, advice and capital for students and small businesses to pursue innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities across diverse areas linking Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) with industrial design and rapid prototyping.

Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for seed funding, up to a maximum of $50,000:

  • Represent a project team that includes at least one current student or recent graduate from the University of South Australia
  • Demonstrate how they intend to undertake their project activities to benefit South Australia
  • Have evidence that they own the IP or have permission to use the IP to be commercialised
  • Have their application endorsed by UniSA.

First round applications close 25 August 2014. Applicants can find out more information and apply for funding online at: www.unisa.edu.au\venturecatalyst

Media Contact

Rosanna Galvin office (08) 8302 0578 mobile 0434 603 457 email rosanna.galvin@unisa.edu.au

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