HELP for graduate startup ideas

A new course at Flinders University aims to give university graduates and postgrads key insights to launch a new venture or to realise a ‘passion project’ or ‘disruptive idea’ in less than 12 months.

The next generation of innovators can make 2024 the year to start a startup – and tap into federal assistance straight away.

Flinders University’s new Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurial Growth is the only program in South Australia featuring the Federal Government’s new ‘Startup Year’.

It gives recent university graduates and postgraduates students the insights into commercialising ideas, solving social and community-based challenges, and creating jobs of the future.

It’s a unique opportunity to take time out and commit a year to kickstart your entrepreneurial idea.

“This is not a standard student experience – participants will fully immerse into the world of ideas and exploration,” Pro Vice-Chancellor Curriculum Impact Professor Chris Brebner says.

“They will join a community of like-minded thinkers who are looking to launch, commercialise, or explore an innovative idea in any field.”

Flinders University alumnus Quentin Roberts, the founder of Tonsley-based energy transformation organisation EfficientSee, highlights the importance of such connections for a thriving ecosystem.

“When you are immersed in an innovation precinct at Tonsley, with the support of academics, industry and government, you experience the power of collaboration, which is vital for startup success.

“Here at Tonsley Innovation District all those interactions can occur so readily, and the culture of championing new ideas is palpable”.

Tonsley Innovation District entrepreneur Quentin Roberts, who founded EfficientSee Pty Ltd.

Flinders MBA student Vimal Odedra says: “As an MBA student with a keen interest in the startup space, especially with my coffee brand Lliven, I find the Startup Year program to be an invaluable opportunity.

“The program aligns perfectly with my aspirations to nurture Lliven into a successful digital enterprise.”.

New businesses account for an average 20 per cent of employment and create almost half of all new jobs. According to the latest Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, the value of Adelaide’s startup ecosystem increased 347 per cent from $348 million in 2020 to $1.56 billion in 2023.

Being offered for the first time in 2024, the Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurial Growth includes industry guest speakers and mentors, workshops, and opportunities for engaging with other entrepreneurs. It will also introduce participants to the South Australian startup ecosystem through networking events and innovation district tours.

It all starts with an intensive “pre-accelerator”, followed by an incubator program with mentors and entrepreneurs in residence at Flinders New Venture Institute. The final journey is an accelerator with industry connections and the right tools for scaling up.

The Australian Government’s Department of Education highlights that “supporting startup creation and the entrepreneurial skillset will play a role in growing productivity and incomes and build a workforce with the skills and capabilities to adapt and thrive in the future labour market”.

To support students to participate in approved Startup Year courses, the Government has established a new loan program for eligible participants through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) called STARTUP-HELP.

The Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurial Growth full course fee is eligible for the new STARTUP-HELP loan. Information sessions are being held online, and expressions of interest can be submitted via the course page.

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