Cool career paths for student passions

From software engineering to health nutrition and sport, Flinders University students are finding their entrepreneurial pathway with help from the University’s New Venture Institute.

One example is computer science graduate Jarrad Law, who is currently studying honours in software engineering at Flinders while putting his skills to good use as co-founder of South Australian education technology company PhoneLabs.

Based at Flinders at Tonsley, where Jarrad can also do most of his coursework, PhoneLabs is supported by the New Venture Institute and other like-minded tech companies clustering near the Tonsley Innovation District at Clovelly Park south of Adelaide.

“This has been a perfect way to expand my horizons by writing software for teaching students science, technology, engineering and math via their mobile phones,” Jarrad says.

“At the company, working with PhoneLabs founder Dr Sivam Krish, I have had experience with a wide range of things, from software development and product development to Facebook marketing and e-commerce development.”

While accelerating his own learning, he has the satisfaction of designing simple online tools for school and university students to learn the principles of acceleration, measurement, frequency and sound (beta) – to name a few.

Education consultant Dr Krish says being situated in Tonsley has opened some “very promising collaboration possibilities with industry and academics”.

“Jarrad has made very significant contributions in developing some of our core technologies,” he says, adding some of the technologies are used for teaching math and science at the Australian Science and Mathematics School and Flinders University, as well as interstate and even overseas.

Flinders New Venture Institute has supported more than 300 student projects and hundreds of business people to convert an idea to a business. It recently became the 2017-18 Top Challenger in the Asia-Pacific in the latest UBI World Benchmark Study.

The UBI study is the world’s most extensive ranking exercise for university-linked business incubators and accelerators, assessing them on entrepreneurial nous and long-term business successes.

Flinders University also offers Innovation and Enterprise courses for all students. Go to the webpage here

Meanwhile, Nutrition and Dietetics graduate Hannah Rohrlach has joined forces with business partner Stephanie Daughtry, a graduate from the Flinders Drama Centre graduate, to launch a novel venture called Post Dining (see the Facebook page here).

Stephanie Daughtry and Hannah Rohrlach prepare for a Post Dining foodie event.

Last year they completed the New Venture Institute’s 12-week Venture Dorm program, and final eNVIe awards, which gives innovative local entrepreneurs, including Flinders students, the tools to create and build their new ventures from ‘scratch’ to a viable business model.

Motivated by some business plan development since completing the New Venture Institute ‘Venture Dorm’ accelerator program, Hannah and Stephanie are building their small business.

The pair are back at the Adelaide Fringe Festival this weekend – as well as the SA History Festival in May – with their ‘creative and experimental food events’.

“The program enabled us to take our startup to the next level,” says Ms Rohrlach, who is also working as a community nutrition engagement officer at Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

While adding some additional creative arts (filmmaking) training to her resume this year, Ms Daughtry continues to work on new ways to “reimagine interactions between people and food”.

“Pairing delicious flavours with film and sound, this is a dreamlike production that celebrates the intimacy of an infinitely connected world,” she says.

The New Venture Institute at Flinders offers a wide range of courses, support services and coworking spaces for local startups and small to large businesses.

Further along his entrepreneurial journey is Flinders health sciences (human nutrition) graduate Ben Tripodi who ‘cut his teeth’ with a Flinders Uni friend Brodie Syrus at the New Venture Institute where they participated in the Venture Dorm program in 2015 at Tonsley.

During the accelerator program, the pair worked with Flinders engineering postgraduate students at Tonsley to design a high-performance carbon fibre disc-brake racing bike wheel for their new venture Finch Composites.

Through this venture, Ben was scouted by leading creative digital agency Made in Katana to launch their new Sport and Health Division known as MIK Health where Mr Tripodi is currently managing director

Young entrepreneur, Flinders graduate Ben Tripodi, meets cycling great Cadel Evans, at Tonsley during the Finch Composites project phase of his career.

“Working closely alongside professional sporting teams, we are using big data and machine learning to revolutionise the way professional sporting teams monitor athletes to improve wellness, health and performance,” he says.

“The New Venture Institute and Flinders catapulted my career in the early days and they continue to be a huge support in my current ventures,” he says.

MIK Health is developing an innovative Athlete Management System that monitors and analyses mental and physical performances in professional athletes. Analysing key areas such as anxiety, stress and physical load, MIK Health is improving athletic performance for professional sporting teams.

In the cycling domain, Mr Tripodi says MIK Health has built a health and wellness app for Team Dimension Data that all their riders use every day, that tracks there sleeps and wellness data.

“We love to see the passion and enthusiasm from the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” says New Venture Institute director Matt Salier.

“Through NVI, Flinders is at the forefront of entrepreneurial education and the startups we support all formed through learning by ‘doing’.

“Our programs create the key personal enterprise skills the entrepreneurs of tomorrow need. It is these personal enterprise skills which are crucial to driving the economies of tomorrow.”

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