Uni Startup Looks To Nurture 'Raw Ideas'
Massey University is about to launch the country's first university-linked campus-based pre-incubator think tank, but potential new business ideas are already flowing in well ahead of the official May-end opening.
The e-centre StartUp project will help nurture 'raw ideas' from university students, researchers and associated partners such as Tindall Foundation's 'ideas.org', putting them through an evaluation and assessment process designed to prepare them for entry into the Albany campus-based e-centre.
The initiative, designed to spin businesses out of university know-how, is a pilot scheme collaboration between the e-centre and the University's Colleges of Business and College of Science.
The University is sponsoring the pilot and grants from government business agencies will also provide funding.
Steve Corbett, e-centre Manager, says the knowledge base on Massey University's Albany campus has significant potential for creating new businesses in high value areas such as ICT, mechatronics, robotics, biotechnology and food technology.
"StartUp will capture and accelerate ideas into a business by simplifying the whole process of identifying and nurturing good ideas that have potential to turn into commercially viable businesses".
He says the unique factor is the involvement of the University's Institute of Technology and Engineering and Business College, which will carry out both technology and market assessments for ideas that have passed the initial commercialisation potential screening test.
Dr Chris Kirk, Director of Research and Innovation at Massey and e-Centre Board Director, says that the support of the Pro Vice-Chancellors of Science and Business was crucial to the initiative. He says, "Smart people and smart ideas - they are the raw ingredients of an enterprise economy. This pre-incubator will fast-track the best proposals into embryonic business ventures".
Mr Corbett says dedicated space has been put aside in the e-centre to provide a hothouse for the bright ideas that will form the basis of StartUp's think tank.
"Once they are given the green light, participants will work with business experts to build the commercial case with a view to moving on to the e-centre for business acceleration. Essentially, we are taking the whole process of identifying and nurturing talent into enterprise a step further, by taking one step backwards - where the good ideas often founder for lack of support."
The e-centre has added two new commercial directors to the board to assist in business acceleration; they are IRL's Nigel Kirkpatrick and Westpac's June McCabe.
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