UTS Startups Launched To Inspire Next Generation Of Business Leaders

From left, back to front: Arran Salerno (Arlula), John Phung (Buzzbox), Ashley Cheuk (Buzzbox), Boris Poletan (Buzzbox), Michael Griffin (Tekuma), Murray Hurps (UTS), Matthew Waugh (Conexie), Sebastian Chaoui (Arlula), Annette Mclelland (Tekuma), Eliza Marks (Stitchhub), Vanouhi Nazarian (Kindershare). Photo by Leah Lucas.

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has launched a new startup initiative which will give MBA students a leg up to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Continuing the momentum of UTS’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship strategy rollout, ‘UTS Startups’ was designed to engage with students who wish to become startup founders, bringing them together in a single entrepreneurial community and connecting them to opportunities and support.

The goal is to exponentially increase the number of student-launched, scalable startups at UTS, and for UTS to become the leading Australian university in the creation of startups and for supporting student entrepreneurship.

Several UTS MBA students have already signed up to the program, each one eager to see their unique business concepts get off the ground.

UTS MBA in Entrepreneurship (MBAe) student Luke Jones, for example, co-founded Fortifex – a single management system for cryptocurrency investments. Annette McClelland, a Bachelor of Arts and MBAe student, co-founded Tekuma, which involves one-handed control for robots, drones and other devices. Wallsync is another business under UTS Startup, which connects physical and digital project management and was co-founded by MBAe student Geoff Bullen.

UTS Startups is led by UTS Director of Entrepreneurship and former Fishburners/Startup Muster CEO Murray Hurps.

“UTS Startups is all about building a vibrant community to inspire and support student startups, with a focus on building a new generation of founders,” Mr Hurps said.

“We want to encourage students to see the opportunity in startups and begin their journey when it’s right for them.

“UTS Startups is not about prescribing a path or formula, but instead creating an environment where student founders are exposed to what they need to progress – both inside and outside the university.

“I’m really looking forward to welcoming new members to the community, and to interacting with the student body as a whole,” he said.

UTS Startups members will have access to a range of resources, industry connections, mentors, and other support, such as:

  • Free coworking space.
  • Regular check-ins with the UTS Startups team to track progress, identify needs, set goals and provide introductions to support and opportunities (including mentors, funding sources, potential customers and opportunities to find co-founders).
  • Participation in regular pitch nights, connection to industry events, community building activities and inspirational talks and workshops.
  • Access to the UTS Startups online forum.
  • Eligibility to enter the inaugural UTS Startups Awards, which will have cash prizes on offer.
  • Profile building through UTS Startups channels.
  • Access to offers from UTS Startups partners and UTS Startups merchandise.
  • A mailing address.

UTS Executive Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Margaret Maile Petty said to meaningfully scale startup support, the program focusses on the diversity of student needs and motivations, rather than commit our resources to a select few, as is the case with typical university accelerators.

“Through UTS Startups, we will connect students with a range of support and opportunities to develop their skills and their ventures—from bootcamps, workshops and hackathons, as well as connections to partner incubators and accelerators.

“This approach will allow us to support many more student startups than ever,” she said.

UTS Startups is open to all UTS students, who must submit a compelling startup idea and show how they plan to or are currently addressing a large market in order to join.

Any stage of startup can apply, even with just an idea, provided at least one founding team member has been a UTS student in the last 12 months.

Along with the MBA students within UTS Startup, the member base also includes other like-minded ventures and entrepreneurs, including:

  • Resolution 123– online legal support for employment issues. Co-founded by Carly Stebbing, UTS Bachelor of Law.
  • Arlula– a marketplace for leasing, buying and selling assets in space. Co-founded by Sebastian Chaoui, UTS Bachelor of Engineering, and Arran Salerno, UTS Bachelor of Law.
  • Kindershare– connecting owners and renters of baby equipment. Founded by Vanouhi Nazarian, UTS Master of Not-for-Profit and Social Enterprise. Management.
  • Buzzbox– executing and tracking memorable customer experiences. Co-founded by John Fung, UTS Bachelor of Civil Engineering, Masters in Engineering Studies.
  • Conexie–  audience and internal communication platform. Co-founded by Matthew Waugh, UTS Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science.
  • Stitchhub– Connecting those living with chronic illnesses with holistic support. Founded by Lucy Allen, Eliza Marks and Polina Pashkov, UTS Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation.

Greg Peake has been a journalist since 2010 and has covered stories for a range of industries like local government, sport, development and education. Greg joined MBA News in 2016.

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