Student entrepreneurs showcase bright ideas

Nine teams of budding entrepreneurs presented their business ideas in front of a sold-out crowd of businesspeople, investors and supporters at Viclink’s annual Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp showcase held at BizDojo.

Graduates of the Victoria Entrepreneurial Bootcamp 2017/18
Newest graduates of the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp.

The event caps off a three-month entrepreneurial journey where the teams developed a novel business idea while gaining skills in managing finances, operations, sales, planning, pitching and were mentored by industry experts.

Each team presented their business solution, explaining their concept and how it solves a common problem of everyday life or improves a current business system.

For example, one team created an app that digitises the often wieldy manually drawn-up staff rosters. Another team designed a service that assists time-poor workers getting a Warrant of Fitness for their car done during the working week.

Others have a social focus. For example, one team developed a business that connects organisations in need of part-time employees with parents needing flexible working hours, while another team is developing ways to help young people better engage with local government.

Bootcamp programme manager and Viclink’s student entrepreneurship manager Emily Sullivan was impressed with the bootcampers who she says “faced a lot of challenges” during the three-month bootcamp. “It was great to see them become more adept at managing, flexing and pivoting when things don’t go according to plan. That resilience to adapt to challenges is a key quality in being a successful entrepreneur.”

Victoria student Jodie Kerr certainly showed resilience and says she “did the most growing up in one week she’s ever had to do” when her teammate pulled out of their online women’s clothing venture after it had already gone live. Jodie carried on the business single-handedly and has had to quickly learn the digital components, which had been the charge of her more technologically savvy teammate.

Mrs Sullivan has managed the annual bootcamp for the last four years and says the participants are increasingly entering the programme with a higher level of understanding of entrepreneurial processes.

“We no longer need to introduce the participants to the concepts of lean start-up and business model canvases. So we get to spend more time supporting them in applying it.”