With double the prize pool up for grabs, more aspiring entrepreneurs than ever before and a brand new ‘Disruptive Innovator’ award on offer, the next Venture Dorm Powered by Mega Graduation Awards promise to be the biggest and best yet.
The ‘eNVIes’ awards – a brainchild of Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI) – will see the top six from the current crop of 45 aspiring entrepreneurs pitch live tonight (Thursday) for a prize pool in excess of $60k (up from $31k in 2014).
A judging panel including NVI Director Matt Salier, Cowell Clarke Commercial Lawyers Partner Megan Jongebloed, Office of Science, Technology and Research (OSTAR) Director Andrew Dunbar, Follow[the]Seed and SYD Ventures Founding Partner Andrey Sherben, and State Director of Microsoft in South Australia Eva Balan-Vnuk will decide who is top of the crop.
The event, at Published ArtHouse, Adelaide, will also be the first awards in partnership with Majoran, following the merging of the NVI’s Venture Dorm program with Majoran’s Mega program earlier this year.
With City of Adelaide Deputy Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad MC’ing and a VIP list including SA Government Minister Zoe Bettison and MPs Katrine Hildyard, Annabel Digance, Chris Picton and Vincent Tarsia in attendance, the eNVIes will also provide an incredible networking opportunity for its graduating entrepreneurs, who have already created 23 micro start-ups.
The two best pitches on the night from the graduates of the 12-week course will win business coaching trips worth $5,000 each to the US.
Previous winners of the eNVIes include Voxon’s Will Tamblyn and Gavin Smith, who created a 3D holographic system reminiscent of Star Wars; Ben Tripodi and Brodie Syrus, from Finch Composites, who developed high performance bicycle wheels which are more aerodynamic and resistant to delamination under heavy and prolonged braking; and Sarah Gun, the founder of Bio Bloom.
The new Disruptive Innovator Award, named in honour of Flinders University’s immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Michael Barber, will also be presented on the night.
It will be given to the winner of a competition between entrepreneurs to submit the best 90 second video showcasing how disruptive, innovative, scalable and successful their idea has been to date.
The award recognises Emeritus Professor Barber’s vision in establishing and developing the NVI into one of South Australia’s most important innovation centres.
This year’s eNVIes are sponsored by Flinders University, the Department for State Development, Adelaide City Council, Algo Mas Marketing, Cowell Clarke, NewsCorp, Newsmaker, BDO, Leunig Advisory Pty Ltd, Monkey Do Studio, eNVIsion, Majoran and the City of Onkaparinga.
NVI Director Matt Salier said the event was an amazing opportunity for students and innovators from the broader community to come together and create the new technology and service based businesses of tomorrow.
“We love to see the passion and enthusiasm from the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” says Mr Salier. “Through NVI, Flinders is at the forefront of entrepreneurial education, these startups have all formed through learning by doing, and it is the result of this on display tonight.
“Our programs create the key personal enterprise skills the entrepreneurs of tomorrow need, it is these personal enterprise skills you’ll see in all of the graduates tonight and which are crucial to driving the economies of tomorrow.
“Venture Dorm was originally spun out of MEGA and changed its approach to be practically applied entrepreneurial education. This collaboration between Majoran and the New Venture Institute (NVI) was another step toward boosting the signal of the amazing work happening in the startup scene in Adelaide to a national and global audience.
“We want to give these passionate emerging founders the best chance at creating a startup or business model of value, so all of our activities are focused around this.
“A program like this brings together the very best students, researchers and entrepreneurs in a collaborative environment. At NVI we can build links, and foster knowledge-exchange, in ways that build businesses and enhance impact that is hard to replicate elsewhere.”