Victoria University is sponsoring 20 students to attend the prestigious European Innovation Academy in France where they will take their start-up ideas from a concept to a potential business in 15 days.
The VU students will join other students from around the world as they are mentored by some of the world’s top tycoons at the Nice-based non-profit Academy, which partners with UC Berkley, Stanford University, Google, IBM, and many others.
A College of Business lecturer is accompanying the students – whose study areas include arts, engineering, law, education and business – to the EIA’s intensive entrepreneurship summer program from 3-22 July.
Together these students will learn the ropes and skills to entrepreneurship, including the technique of a ‘sprint’ in which they can quickly and efficiently test ideas for their start-up with their team.
Several VU students had ideas for their start-up before they left for France, others will wait until they arrive.
Many of the prepared concepts unsurprisingly involve tech projects. Asha Reech, a business student with a South Sudanese background, wants to develop a digital app that would consolidate social services for newly arrived migrants.
Marcus Tyrell, a soon-to-be-teacher, is interested in growing a company which he recently started that provides outdoor equipment to schools for their camps and excursions.
VU is assisting the students to join with global innovators as part of a broader push to foster creativity and the entrepreneurial capacity of its students.
“Encouraging education in a flexible, agile space helps create the next generation of the Google and Microsoft-type of businesses Australia needs to keep up with global competition,” the College of Business academic said.
The program also fits with VU’s addition this year of an ‘entrepreneur-in-residence’ to its staff.
Gus Balbontin, a former executive at the world-famous Lonely Planet, and now a serial start-up entrepreneur himself, helped select the students for the EIA program after running some mini start-up schools and ‘hackathons’ aimed at showing students how to find solutions to problems.
VU Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost Kerri-Lee Krause said the University was proud to help nurture the visions of Australia’s emerging entrepreneurs.
“This is not only an opportunity for learning and stretching of our students, but also an exciting step for VU to provide a common space of entrepreneurship in our learning and teaching,” she said.