05 September 2016

EcoJetIn a field of universities doing exceptional work translating knowledge and research into business outcomes the University of South Australia’s Venture Catalyst program has won two 2016 Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Research Commercialisation Awards.

Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says as Australia’s University of Enterprise these awards are a fantastic achievement that further consolidate UniSA’s reputation as being an outward facing institution that is inspired by challenges and opportunities.

“Universities are playing a key role in transforming how Australians live, work and communicate and how businesses deliver economic prosperity,” Prof Lloyd says.

“The success of the Venture Catalyst program shows that with guidance and support, innovative Australian businesses can tackle the challenges they come up against commercialising new ideas and deliver lasting social and economic benefits.”

Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President of Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro, is delighted UniSA’s Venture Catalyst program, which supports student led start-ups, was acknowledged as the Best Entrepreneurial Initiative and also won the People’s Choice Award.

“These awards are wonderful recognition of UniSA’s deep commitment to facilitating the transfer of knowledge into outcomes for the broader community,” Prof Monro says.

“The Venture Catalyst collaboration between UniSA and the South Australian Government accelerates the delivery of economic, societal or environmental impact by providing teams of entrepreneurs with the support required to pursue their ventures.”

Venture Catalyst supports the brightest of UniSA’s student and recent graduate led start-ups by providing up to $50k to novel and scalable enterprises as a grant.

The scheme takes an ‘IP and equity free’ approach and encourages students to collaborate with different disciplines and external agencies to encourage a diverse skill set for the benefit of the new venture.

UniSA Ventures Chief Executive Officer Dr Stephen Rodda says Venture Catalyst supports the creation of new ventures by removing as many barriers as possible and by providing support networks.

“As a University of Enterprise we focus on innovation and creativity, on educating students to challenge existing ways of doing things and to come up with new ideas and solutions that benefit the whole community,” Dr Rodda says.

“We want our students and staff to become entrepreneurs, to see the possibilities for every idea they have, and to develop the skills that will enable them to grow their ideas and maybe turn them into profitable businesses.

“As well as connections and support the Venture Catalyst program provides co-working space in the Innovation Collaboration Centre where companies have access to UniSA’s people, expertise and infrastructure to help and encourage them to grow their start up.

“The combination of significant ‘no strings attached’ funding, space and access to expert advice and support provides a solid foundation for new ventures to launch from giving them every chance of success.”

Recent recipients of Venture Catalyst funding include:

  • EcoJet Engineering a business focussed on realising the potential of an innovative micro gas turbine (MGT) design. 
  • Voxiebox – a new type of 3D holographic display.
  • Vinnovate -  a container closure aimed specifically at the wine industry.
  • Jemsoft -  a patented intelligent access control system called the portcullis that uses artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to analyse customers approaching a store in real time.
  • Myevidence - a mobile investigations platform that allows digital evidence to be gathered and packaged for consumption by relevant agencies.

“The Venture Catalyst program is also in scale-up mode and we will be working actively to connect the scheme even more effectively with new initiatives being launched under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, recent capital gains tax reforms and to connect recipients into global markets and investment opportunities,” Dr Rodda says.

“One of the key elements to the future of the Venture Catalyst is the observation of ‘success breeding success’.

“Recipients of the Venture Catalyst funding are already giving back and supporting and coaching new applicants and students looking to launch their own venture.”


Media contact: Katrina McLachlan mobile: 0414972537 email: katrina.mclachlan@unisa.edu.au

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