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Melbourne universities launch programs to tap into evolving start-up scene

Wednesday, 9 October 2013 | By Rose Powell

Two Melbourne universities have taken new steps in a national trend of tertiary education providers tapping into Australia’s start-up community.


Melbourne University announced the pairings for its first Tin Alley program, partnering students studying information and communications technology with tech start-ups for paid internships.


“Tin Alley is what in university circles might be considered risky so it’s to Melbourne University’s credit they went ahead with the program,” says program coordinator and entrepreneur Miguel Wood, adding it was essential universities continued to evolve as the start-up ecosystem took off.


“We can and must remodel our institutions to meet this new ecosystem and economy,” Wood says. “Technology is the future of our country and economy, so it’s exciting to be going into the raw product, our students, to build the right culture and appetite for entrepreneurship.”


Five start-ups and one council group were selected for the program, which focused on matching interns to start-ups with particular projects and technical requirements.


Ricky Siqi Wu will be interning at booking management software company Scheduleflow. David Rivera will be interning at event management software firm Attendly, and Daniel Williams will be interning at 99designs.


James Kosias and Nimisha Sharma will be interning at the City of Melbourne’s CityLab initiative.


“It’s essential our civic technology grows in parallel to our tech start-up scene,” Wood says. “To get an ecosystem like Silicon Valley, we need to be more creative about how we use every program run in Melbourne so we can get that scale quickly.”


Wood says despite lining up partnerships and mutual excitement, no placement was made for website development group Tweaky and social media network Yellloh due to timing issues.


Swinburne University also announced a partnership with start-up education event series Startup Grind Melbourne.


Event coordinator Chris Joannou told StartupSmart they were excited to welcome Swinburne’s first foray into the start-up ecosystem. The university will be covering the ticket price of students attending the events.


The two announcements are part of a national trend with programs being launched at Flinders University in South Australia, Curtin University in Western Australia, University of the Sunshine Coast,and Sydney University and New South Wales University.