Gus Balbontin presents

VU Innovations is proud to build on its partnership with Startup Victoria by sponsoring regular ‘pitch nights’ to help stimulate entrepreneurship and a rich start-up ecosystem in the state.  

Last week’s pitch night at the Goods Shed in Collins Street, co-sponsored by the City of Melbourne, was aimed at migrant and first-generation start-up founders. Contestants pitched their ideas before a 250-strong audience, including volunteers from VU’s enthusiastic ‘Vollies’ group who helped stage the event.

Master of ceremonies, VU Hanger co-founder and former Lonely Planet executive Gus Balbontin energised the audience, while judges from the City of Melbourne and Victoria University, including VU International director Bronte Neyland, posed thought-provoking questions to the four finalists.  

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins gave an overview of Victoria University at the event, pointing out VU’s innovative, young and modern outlook reflected in its Australian-first block model of learning and teaching.  

Mother and son duo Uday and Anamika Sharma’s project Healtab took home the Judges’ Choice Award. Their project connects patients with companions when they need support during medical appointments and procedures.

The People’s Choice Award went to Undivide, a digital platform that helps organisations stay compliant, which was developed by business innovator Mohan Perera.

The next pitch night will take place in February 2020.

Earlier this year, Startup Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation of nearly 20,000 people, and VU Innovations, a VU division aimed at changing the future of learning, work and living through through educational leadership and entrepreneurship, partnered to launch Found, a joint research project. Found is designed to shed light on the experiences of local entrepreneurs when they launch ambitious and fast growing start-ups in Victoria.

The findings will be used to identity gaps for policy-makers and new directions for entrepreneurship education providers. 

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