A message from the Associate Vice-Chancellor (NSW/ACT) Professor Marea Nicholson.
Collaborate Plus, ACU’s own incubator hub, has had a hugely successful year and has gone from strength to strength since opening mid-2017.
The Collaborate Plus team; Gina d'Albora, Anthony Bayss and Tayana Grundy play an integral role in instigating this success. With the opening of a new hub on the Strathfield Campus and a vast growth in activity, some of the 2018 highlights have included:
- A total of 132 applications to use the Collaborate Plus hubs in North Sydney and Strathfield. This included ACU students, staff and the external entrepreneurial community.
- Hosted or ran a total of 56 events around innovation or entrepreneurship with 922 attendees.
- More than 10 Collaborate Plus entrepreneurial presentations to students from the schools of business, education and arts.
- Support services and expert speakers provided to ACU students studying the HUMA247 subject (creating of a social enterprise), and the Master of Social Work.
- Facilities used for the piloting of a social enterprise incubator run by The Difference Incubator.
- Mentoring sessions between Collaborate Plus start-ups and professional staff within the Finance Directorate.
In addition to these highlights, Collaborate Plus has seen some impressive business successes through 2018 including:
- Student business - Aunty's Ginger Tonic: Aunty's Ginger Tonic is a refreshing handcrafted ginger drink, made from natural ingredients and inspired by a family recipe from Sierra Leone. Aunty's Ginger Tonic was featured in multiple episodes of an SBS documentary ‘The Employables’ this year.
- Student business - Deceptiv Apparel: A clothing company developed by ACU Business Student. Deceptiv Apparel was recently accepted into an immersion program for start-up entrepreneurs at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and visited China to undertake this program.
- Plannero: An artificial intelligence automatic task management system for students and universities. Plannero was named in the 2018 Anthill SMART100 finalists list.
- Resilience in Kids: strengthening children's resilience through before and after school workshops and 1-1 coaching for children, and through group and 1-1 coaching and events for parents. Resilience in Kids has been named as a finalist in the Local Business Awards, on the North Shore in the category of New Business.
- Senior Care Solutions: Senior Care Solutions was recently accepted into the Stockland/Blue Chilli Accelerator program, which includes an investment from Australia’s leading venture capital fund.
Next year will bring more changes and new opportunities for start-ups, staff and students. One exciting change is that Collaborate Plus will increase it’s offering through the Launch Plus Incubator series. This will be a series of workshops offered at no charge around key topics in the early business journey.
Luke Di Stefano presenting to Chinese investors through the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) in China.
Barbara Albert from 100% Renewables presenting at Boosting Business Innovation to 12 universities, Department of Industry and general public as a Collaborate Plus member.
Michael Cockerton from bubbleFizz (Collaborate Plus member) presenting at Data Buzz, a joint event held by ACU, North Sydney Council and North Sydney Innovation Network.