eNVIes launch new wave of entrepreneurs

A new generation of entrepreneurs has been launched in South Australia, following Flinders University’s annual eNVIes Awards for its Adelaide and newly opened Mount Gambier business development programs.

A passion to help people living with disability access adventure experiences and plan travel earnt Clair Crowley, founder of The Good Scout Travel Company, a prize package valued at more $44,000 including a trip to the United States.

Ms Crowley, whose business was inspired after a snowboarding accident left her husband a paraplegic, was one of six finalists to present on Thursday 14 June at Flinders’ New Venture Institute (NVI) eNVIes Awards in Adelaide, taking home the top honour of Gold eNVIe.

A crowd of more than 300 gathered for the 10th eNVIes Awards, which are a graduation celebration and competition for the New Venture Institute’s ‘Venture Dorm’ entrepreneur development program where finalists pitch ideas as a culmination of their practical learning with personalised mentors.

The city awards followed the first regional eNVIes, which were held on Tuesday 12 June in Mount Gambier and saw Ashlee Kalantarian take out the top spot on the night. Read about the inaugural Limestone Coast Awards here.

Gold eNVIe winner Ashlee Kalantarian with some of her designs.

The Limestone Coast Venture Dorm program ran from the NVI’s new hub on the Limestone Coast which includes a $1 million innovation accelerator called eNVision, launched earlier in June.

NVI Director Matt Salier says “We are immensely happy to bring our framework to the Limestone Coast, an area of immense talent.  We’re keen to help break down the regional barriers and grow the diverse skills in this region.”

A total of 19 start-ups came out of the recent metropolitan round of the Venture Dorm program and nine from the Limestone Coast round.

Venture Dorm helps new businesses start up fast with a low upfront investment, and supports them beyond the 12-week immersive program (metropolitan) or 7-week program (Limestone Coast) to continue to grow through Flinders’ NVI’s co-working spaces that provide access to valuable business and entrepreneurial services.

The recently completed programs saw a wealth of start-up ideas covering industries from genetics to fashion and adventuring. They follow the NVI’s recognition earlier this year as a global leader in start-up incubation by benchmarking company UBI Global.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling congratulated the winners, acknowledging the high level of quality contestants in both the city and regional competitions.

“The eNVIes are going from strength to strength and each of these awards is as diverse as our University itself, and as unique as the people who venture through our doors,” Professor Stirling says.

Taking out the Silver eNVIe in the metropolitan awards was Matthew Stead of Ping Services, with his wind turbine management system that has been rapidly prototyped through the Flinders Innovation Centre. The People’s Choice Award went to Karen Roberts, founder of Book Burritos, an iron-on and environmentally friendly school book-covering system.

Karen Roberts receives her award from Vice-Chancellor Professor Stirling.

The winners of Gold and Silver eNVIes – four start-ups across the two locations – win a seat on NVI’s annual US Innovation Mission which will take them to visit technology companies and start-ups in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Austin and attend more than 30 events, pitch competitions, site visits and networking opportunities. The US Innovation Mission is open to others as well, and never fails to inspire entrepreneurial growth in participants.

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