Some bright spark once said, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” That bright spark was founder of all sparks, Thomas Edison, and do you see what we did there?

Whether you call yourself an entrepreneur, an inventor, a business owner or a side-hustler, read on to find out what startup stimulators like the VU Hanger can offer you.

Got an idea? A business you want to grow?

Aussies are very fond of coming up with ideas and turning them into moneymaking startups. And the value is clear: between 2004 and 2011 startups contributed $164 billion to the economy. In 2016 alone, they raised a record $668 million.

Startups are also the largest contributor to job creation nationwide. From 2004 to 2011, they created 1.2 million new jobs and they’re set to create half a million more in the next 15 years. Importantly, these jobs are not just in cities and inner suburbs, but in regional parts of Australia too.

Needless to say, the startup economy has become an important part of Australia’s strategy for economic diversification and growth.

Who’s starting the startups?

Current figures reveal that more than 4 in 5 Aussie startup founders are university graduates. In some unis up to 40% of students and alumni have either founded a startup or are considering doing so. This is in stark contrast to a decade ago, where the majority of students anticipated going on to work in a salaried job for an employer after graduation.

The small business world is also home to many ‘mumpreneurs’ and ‘dadpreneurs’. These are parents who founded their businesses because they were chasing more flexible working arrangements or because they had a light bulb moment they couldn’t ignore.

Universities the key to bringing startups to life

It’s no secret: universities are the essential ingredient here. It’s our responsibility to provide an education that will equip students for life in the entrepreneur space. Our contribution can subsequently help the country expand on this promising area of the economy.

VU has answered the call by introducing an ‘incubator’ to provide students with the support, physical space and expertise they need to turn their ideas into businesses. There are now more than 100 of these facilities in universities across the country. And they’re working: its been reported that 1 in 5 startup founders progressed their venture with help from an incubator or acceleration program.

The Hanger – VU’s startup stimulator

The VU Hanger is run by a team of six diverse entrepreneurs, led by Gus Balbontin, former executive director and CTO of Lonely Planet. Each brings a different and diverse set of talents to the table, but all have one thing in common: they believe in the importance of developing entrepreneurs.

In the Hanger, the disruptive thinking of a startup is married with the practical nature of a small business: ‘think like a startup, act like a business’. The team believes in tackling big problems by starting small.

They offer free business advice and resources, and deliver both short courses and crash courses in modern methodologies (without the red tape or the cost of a full degree) and use their business acumen to offer you support, advice and access to relevant networks. In The Hanger, your startup will truly be nurtured into existence.

Best of all it’s open to students, academics, staff, and local business owners.

Some of our many success stories

Aussie Jerks

Sara Collins, a Commonwealth athlete and national Judo champion, sought help from The Hanger to uncover a way to generate income to fund her competitions. From there, Sara’s CrossFit apparel company, Aussie Jerks, was born.

“The Hanger helped us brainstorm ideas on what we could actually create and then helped us with design, social media – anything we had an issue with. People looking to start a business should go to The Hanger because the guys are awesome and so inspiring – they help you with anything. Even if you don’t have an idea – they will help you find one.”


Current Master of International Community Development student Yavuz Yilmazoglu and his partner live in Footscray and recently started up a small business called BY AVALON – felt and canvas tote bags, purses and accesesories each uniquely made and decorated with wooden buttons and lacework.

“B and Y stand for our initials – Burak and Yavuz. Our products are inspired from the diverse Melbourne community that is also represented on our logo.”

Find out more

Come past and say hi to the friendly experts at VU Hanger – the shipping container at Footscray Park Campus, Ballarat Road, Footscray – in the Building P courtyard.

Find out how you can study at VU in 2019