Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby has officially launched the new, state-of-the-art facilities for UQ Idea Hub at The University of Queensland.
UQ Idea Hub is a startup pre-incubator that connects young innovators with mentors, and provides workshops and learning experiences to entrepreneurially-minded students.
Mark Sowerby, a UQ alumnus, said at the launch event that the new co-working space at St Lucia campus was an indicator of the “tsunami” of entrepreneurs and startups expected to emerge in Queensland in the very near future.
“For those who have chipped away, you’re about to realise the dream,” Mr Sowerby said.
“This facility is certainly the way of the future.”
Mr Sowerby, considered one of Queensland’s most successful entrepreneurs as the founder of Blue Sky Alternative Investments, is passionate about the benefits of a thriving startup ecosystem in Queensland.
“If you really want a platform to take on the world, there’s no better way to do that than with a startup and a business that you grow, and the lessons you learn along the way.”
Executive Dean of UQ’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology Professor Simon Biggs said UQ Idea Hub is important to the University as it allows students to extend themselves beyond the traditional curriculum.
“Providing mentorship, careers advice, industry experience and startup opportunities is front and centre of the University’s Student Strategy,” Professor Biggs said.
“UQ Idea Hub allows us to offer students from all disciplines a new set of game-changing skills and opportunities.”
The workshops, led by industry mentors from across Australia, cover topics such as ideation and research, pitching and storytelling, prototyping methodologies, market validation and developing business models.
More than 250 students have completed the program, with over 70 students currently working in small teams learning the key skills associated with developing an innovative idea into an early-stage ‘investable’ proposition.
Director of the UQ Idea Hub Nimrod Klayman said some students have already advanced their start-ups, and have an immense potential for success.
“So far, we’ve seen ideas that cover everything from drone technology and software to clothing, distilleries, robots, improved household services, social enterprises, financial technology and everything in between,” Mr Klayman said.