Entrepreneurs to pitch for prizes at NVI awards

Six South Australian entrepreneurs will compete for a share of more than $31,000 in prizes at Flinders New Venture Institute’s inaugural Venture Dorm awards on Thursday.

The Venture Dorm Graduation Awards and Innovation Showcase awards (eNVIes) will showcase the top six ideas from the 2014 program, which provides an educational environment for people to learn how to create their own entrepreneurial venture.

The entrepreneurs, who have all taken part in the 10-week Venture Dorm course, will make pitches for the top prizes on the night to a panel of Australian business leaders.

The judges will be Anthony Francis, Managing Director of Flinders Partners; Andre Eikmeier, co-founder and CEO of Vinomofo; Darrin Johnson, General Manager, Adelaide Football Club; Matt Salier, Director of NVI; and Sarah Sullivan, Private Banker, Commonwealth Bank.

Prizes include two $5,000 business coaching trips to the world’s start-up hub of Austin, Texas, and the 2014 Venture Dorm Prize – a free place in the newly established NVI Ignition incubator space, where they will continue to be actively supported by NVI.

South Australian Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, Susan Close, will top a VIP guest list that includes some of the biggest names in South Australian business.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber established NVI to “reflect an optimism for the future based on developing entrepreneurism, giving people the confidence to succeed in business, and creating the jobs and economic growth that Australia so badly needs.”

Guests will have the chance to view some of the most innovative Venture Dorm ideas of the year at an “Innovation Boulevard” on the night, which will highlight companies including Flinders spin-offs Thereitis and Clevertar.

A special eNVIes app will be available for download, which will provide a virtual link to the Boulevard, as well as special offers from the event’s sponsors.

Highlights of the first 12 months of the Flinders New Venture Institute include:

  • 20 student projects involving 161 students
  • Entrepreneurs in Conversation and New Venture Lab events for more than 1,300 people
  • 16 Innovation “Lightbulb” workshops
  • 43 Venture Dorm graduates, creating 22 micro businesses

Flinders NVI Director, Matt Salier, said he would also take the opportunity to acknowledge the loss of founding board member Allen Bolaffi, who died unexpectedly last month.

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