We had another massive year at UNSW Innovations in 2015 and, in fact the last 24 months have been amazing for our Student Entrepreneur Development team with 562 student and alumni teams being supported since the beginning of 2014!
There are far too many things that happened (due to the teams hard work) to list them all here but here are 12 months of highlights from the year that was:
1. January – The Fitness Calendar sisters joined the SED community. Was great having them participate in some of our programs and seeing them get this great exposure early in the year!
2. February – I got the first article I am really happy with, Lean approach to fighting chronic disease, published
3. March – A sneak peak into the Startup Muster survey results showed UNSW was more than double it’s nearest competitor in the number of entrepreneurs linked back to Australian universities.
4. April – We celebrated the success of the UNSW Startup Games program that saw amazing mentors like Bart Jellema, Jodie Fox, Todd Heslin, Julie Stevanja, Walta Kazzi, Nicole Kersh, Adam Brimo and Sarah Riegelhurth take 25 students through a journey that resulted in all female team, Student Adventurer, receiving investment from alumni entrepreneur run Student Services Australia.
5. May – One of the rising stars from our community, Riad Chikhani from GAMURS raised $500K!
6. June – A favourite of mine, Shan Shan Wang and her amazing ROAM startup won the SMART 100 ranking for 2015.
7. July – Our favourite ticketing startup, QNect, won the prestigious Hong Kong Polytechnic Global Startup Competition.
8. August – One of the 5 UNSW startups accepted into the awesome Singapore based JFDI accelerator program so far, QLC secured their first round of funding!
9. September – We were honoured to have kicked off our relationship with Springboard Enterprises with a guest spot on the panel
10. October – Was great to be acknowledged on the Sydney Startup Rail Map with some of the startups from the community we have been building since 2012
October also saw the official opening of our new Michael Crouch Innovation Centre – we at UNSW Innovations have a strong relationship with the centre where we refer entrepreneurs to them who may need some ‘innovation training’ and they refer students to us who have decided they want to be entrepreneurs for real.
We also launched a media partnership with Startup Daily which is proving beneficial to our up and coming entrepreneurs trying to get more exposure.
11. November – It felt like a long time coming but we finally soft-launched our new FounderLab service and MVP grant fund in partnership with Arc.
12. December – Our favourite drone related startup Propellor Aerobiotics raised $1M, joining Forcite and Premonition (among others) in the list of startups we have supported that raised substantial funding in 2015.
The Chief Scientist report commissioned to study current and best practice for entrepreneur support within Australian High Education institutions pointed to UNSW as leading the nation.
We took out 1st place in the NSW Pearcey Awards ICT pitching competition
We ran an awesome Lean Startup training session for 160 Westpac employees under 30. This cemented our teams experience and leadership in running corporate innovation programs after success with the Cisco Ideathon and UNSW CBA Hackathon programs.
The guy behind the Crossroads and more recent Chief Scientist reports on entrepreneur support went as far to say UNSW Innovations has created “the blueprint” for the rest of Australia to follow. We finished our yearly events with the largest ever UNSW Startup China program, this time to be televised on national TV in China!
Most exciting, however, is what is to come for us in 2016. Soon after the Australian Innovation Statement was announced by our Prime Minister, UNSW has announced it’s own Innovation Statement – including millions of dollars pledged against our ever growing startup and entrepreneur support programs!
See you in 2016 – it has been real!!!!!