Growth

3 free initiatives to turn your business dreams into reality

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Seed funding is no longer new and the number of success stories driven by entrepreneurs are common, and now you can even major in Entrepreneurship at uni! If you are an ideas person – there’s a lot on offer for you.

Here are three very good iniatives for starting entrepreneurs and business founders to consider:

1. Innovate

Business is built on innovation. The wheel was only invented once, but thanks to a few competitors over a few thousand years, people are now able to drive safer than ever before. It’s the same with your business, really look at what aspects of your competitor’s product is giving you the creeps. Are they offering the same design or service? Then it’s time to move on. 

As hard as it is to let go of a tried and true strategy that you’ve found successful, there are rarely any businesses that look and feel the same as they did when they first began. It’s those improvements that could make you a better and bigger business.

For example:

Apple weren’t the first company to play with music file sharing; they were just one of the first to do it well with their software iTunes. More recently, Samsung knew that people loved watching videos on their smartphones so they made a minor adjustment and added dual-front speakers to their handsets.

cartoon rocket and hot-air balloon illustrations

Funding: $40,000 up for grabs from muru-D 

Launched last year, the Telstra-backed start-up accelerator program muru-D, is now in its second year and taking a fresh new batch of applicants.

Since graduating from the inaugural intake, eight out of the nine technology start-ups now “have a clear path for funding” after receiving ongoing business support, mentoring and coaching over the course of the six-month intensive program. Co-founder of muru-D Ann Parker said that each of the nine finalists had grown tremendously throughout the experience. “Success is many things – customer numbers, revenue, number of employees, international growth – I’m delighted to say that every team can point towards these growth metrics. 

“Our key measure for muru-D is growing the digital start-up scene in Australia and I believe we have made a great start with every team in the first class graduating,” adds Parker.

Peter Grant, co-founder of Safesite and muru-D participant described the experience as “fantastic”. “We definitely wouldn’t be as far along as we are now if it weren’t for this incubator program. They’ve provided us with amazing connections and opportunities and put us in touch with investors, mentors, and a great network of people who can really help our business throughout Sydney and Australia,” says Grant.

Applications for the second round of muru-D are open until September 15, 2014. Participants receive $40,000 in seed capital investment, backed by Telstra, in exchange for a six per cent stake in the company.

Mentorship: New startup program launches in Brisbane

Co-working community River City Labs has joined forces with the Bank of Queensland (BOQ) to launch a program aimed at helping entrepreneurs get their start-up ideas out of their garage and onto the global market.

Successful applicants of the Sponsored Entrepreneur program will receive a three-month membership at River City Labs, which will grant them access to the Fortitude Valley start-up hub’s training and networking events, and specialist mentors to help them get their ideas off the ground. Steve Baxter, founder of River City Labs, said the program could help stimulate the Queensland economy to the tune of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

“We are excited to have visionary corporates, such as BOQ recognise the opportunity to grow our local business economy. Queensland has the ability to become Australia’s leading start-up state in the coming decade. If we take positive control of the growth of our entrepreneurial community, the returns to Queensland and Australia could be enormous. The recent Crossroads Report by StartupAUS identified that high-growth tech start-ups could account for around $109 billion and 540,000 new jobs by 2033 – and we want to see Queensland attracting as many of these jobs as we can,” says Baxter.

Applications are open until August 29. Finalists will be announced September 15, with the residency taking place between September 22 and December 19, 2014.

Education: Macquarie University launches new entrepreneurship major

Macquarie University has launched a new Entrepreneurship major to develop the next breed of business leaders.

The new undergraduate business major will teach tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to assess the market, create innovative solutions and take risks, leading to standout businesses.

Developed by the Faculty of Business and Economics, the Entrepreneurship major combines theory and practice through experimentation and application of theoretical knowledge in industry-based simulations and projects.

Professor Mark Gabbott, executive dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics said, "Australian businesses need to strike the right balance between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in order to capitalise on the market. (An intrapreneur is someone who utilises their skills to create something useful for someone else.) Innovation by entrepreneurs can come from outside an organisation and within; corporate intrapreneurship also has a place in delivering a competitive advantage.

“To keep businesses in Australia and sustain economic growth, business schools need to start teaching broader business skills to equip students with the necessary expertise to identify opportunities and show commercial awareness for new economic activity while remaining credible and authentic,” says Gabbott.

Students will be able to choose Entrepreneurship as a major as part of their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Leadership and Commerce and Bachelor of Commerce undergraduate degrees, and will commence their first Entrepreneurship units in 2016.

Areas of study include the foundations of entrepreneurship and management, new venture marketing and business development, finance and regulation for new ventures, strategic management, creativity and innovation, professional and community engagement, and entrepreneurship projects.

Have a million dollar idea, but need the funding and professional help to bring it to life?

Begin your startup journey with muru-D.

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