Students aim to turn ideas into businesses

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Students aim to turn ideas into businesses


Looking forward to the Startup Weekend at USC's Innovation Centre are Laura Garrett, Emjay Clerk, Ben Lowe, Ann Ross and Wilfrid Watson

29 April 2014

Twelve Business, Design and Journalism students from the University of the Sunshine Coast will learn how to turn business ideas into reality with the help of the region’s first Startup Weekend from Friday 2 May to Sunday 4 May.

This weekend’s event, organised by the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast and the University of the Sunshine Coast, will be held at the Innovation Centre on campus at Sippy Downs from Friday night to Sunday night.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of entrepreneurs involved in founding startup companies and launching successful ventures. Technology, digital and business mentors offer advice and hold workshops at the events, which are held around the world.

Participants at the start of this weekend’s event will vote on which ideas will be pursued in a 54-hour frenzy of business creation, ending with presentations to local entrepreneurial leaders.

USC Lecturer in Entrepreneurship Dr Retha Scheepers said 12 USC students had grabbed the opportunity to gain “the ultimate practical learning experience”.

“Our students will use their talents and work with skilled, creative teams to turn dreams into viable business propositions within one weekend,” she said.

Dr Scheepers said USC’s School of Business had included the new Startup Weekend in its Entrepreneurship course so students could further bridge the gap between the lecture theatre and the world of startup business.

Among the USC participants will be Ben Lowe, a Journalism student from Sippy Downs who plans to pitch his new concept for online news delivery.

Design student Wilfrid Watson, also of Sippy Downs, is focused on innovative virtual reality products.

“I am passionate about the potential of virtual reality applications in the entertainment and other industries,” he said. “This course is an opportunity to develop my ideas into an actual business.”

Emjay Clerk (Design) and Ann Ross (Accounting), both of the Glasshouse Mountains, are looking forward to the expertise and networking on offer at Startup Weekend.

And final-year student Laura Garrett, of Mountain Creek, wants to gain first-hand experience as she works towards establishing her own business to support the growth of other local companies.

USC graduates are also involved. Business graduate Catherine Kitney, a marketing and design consultant from the Glasshouse Mountains, is part of the weekend’s organising committee.

The first Sunshine Coast Startup Weekend is supported by Sunshine Coast Council, Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast and The Creative Collective.

— Julie Schomberg

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