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New Adelaide program Venture Dorm set to bed in new start-ups

Monday, 10 December 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

The commercialisation arm of Flinders University is setting up a new course called Venture Dorm, which will include a trip to Austin, Texas for participants with the best business models.

 

Venture Dorm, which kicks off next year, will provide much-needed entrepreneurial education and training for potential and existing start-up founders based in Adelaide’s southern region.

 

It comes out of Flinders Partners, the commercialisation arm of Flinders University.

 

Flinders Partners’ role is to manage the licensing of intellectual property, and to facilitate the provision of researcher expertise to government and industry.

 

According to Flinders Partners managing director Anthony Francis, the course will offer a high level of practical outcomes in terms of financing and networking.

 

“Our focus will be around networks and sales – the chief aim of the course will be to help bring business plans to life,” Francis says.

 

“The emphasis will be very much on the practical, rather than the theoretical.”

 

The program will run in collaboration with MEGA, a state government-managed program focused on creating opportunities for new products and services.

 

Participants will also make use of Strategiize, Flinders Partners’ web-based information management software, which provides a framework to develop ideas with commercial potential.

 

“In a sense, the course will be self-designed,” Francis says.

 

He says participants will set goals and report regularly on their progress to a mentoring entrepreneur from a local company.

 

In addition, the program will draw on Flinders Partners’ own experience of setting up successful spin-off companies, including Your Amigo and Thereitis.

 

The program will also benefit from expertise within Flinders Business School, and from existing business and enterprise topics taught within the university’s science and engineering degrees.

 

But perhaps the most impressive feature of the course will be a funded field trip to Austin, Texas for participants with the most viable business models.

 

Austin, which is home to the South by Southwest festival, is renowned for its entrepreneurial community and start-up hub.

 

Links have been established with the IC² Institute and the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas, as well as Austin’s start-up and investor networks.

 

The US visit will provide an opportunity for the program participants to receive practical, real world advice, meet and engage with Austin start-ups, and network with potential investors.

 

According to Francis, the visit will encourage entrepreneurs to “think big” by providing insights into international finance, investment and marketing opportunities for business ideas.

 

It’s worth noting Austin is one of Adelaide’s sister cities. The inaugural student visit will tie in with the 30-year anniversary of the relationship between the two cities.