Showcase presentations by participating businesses and individuals marked the first “graduation” of Venture Dorm, the new entrepreneurship education program run by Flinders Partners, the commercial arm of Flinders University.
The program, which had its first intake in March 2013, aims to provide entrepreneurial education and training for potential and existing start-up founders, with a focus on Adelaide’s Southern region, with support from the industry lead program, MEGA.
The course uses a mentor system to guide entrepreneurs with budding business ideas through the initial stages of commercial feasibility, development and investment.
The first group of novel products and services looking to go commercial ranged from a ‘plot to plate’ vegetable garden planning service to a phone and tablet application that helps small businesses to comply with workplace health and safety requirements.
Flinders Partners managing director Mr Anthony Francis said Venture Dorm emphasises the practical over the theoretical, and has simple but valuable objectives for its participants.
“Venture Dorm is all about creating a culture of bravery and a commercial “lab” where folk can test their ideas, interact with experienced entrepreneurs and gain fantastic “mates” in creating their new venture, Mr Francis said.
“The first group all had a great time building their business cases – some ideas were even scrapped early on. This is not a place for following blindly, but more a place to challenge, get suggestions and grow.”
Mr Josh Morony of ZenChain, who is looking to market an application that will provide assistance to tertiary students in managing their study, was enthusiastic about the course.
“Having done Venture Dorm, I’m now on the road to executing a validated idea, with potential to make profit. I would recommend it to anyone interested in start-ups who hasn’t already created a successful start-up.”
Ms Nadine Saadi, founder of SMEOSH, said that her mentor had brought an “atmosphere of Silicon Valley”.
“Venture Dorm did a great job of finding mentors and pushing us out of our comfort zones,” she said.
Ms Mariam Castella of Smartline, who was one of the course mentors, said the program offered valuable networking opportunities for everyone involved.
“Venture Dorm provides a great environment for collective learning and idea sharing,” she said.
Venture Dorm’s second intake will commence in early 2014, and will be an important aspect of the New Venture Institute, Flinders’ newly announced focus for enterprise activities to be based at Tonsley Park.