High speed racing drones with cameras capturing sports action, an app to help hotels better manage resources and a digital platform that enhances the humble post-it note with augmented reality … these were just some of the creative business ideas pitched by graduates of the MBA Entrepreneurship (MBAe) program at the 2018 UTS Venture Day.
The culmination of the UTS Business School’s capstone Venture Planning and Pitching subject that forms part of the MBAe, close to 20 students pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges at the UTS Business School in Sydney.
Each presenter was given eight minutes to pitch their idea, including the challenges or problems it solves and how it differs from its competitors, before fielding questions from the judging panel made up of CEOs, company directors and legal experts.
Now in its third year, the UTS Business School MBAe is an on-campus intensive MBA for entrepreneurs and innovators that is designed and delivered in collaboration with the entrepreneurial community.
For Dr Jochen Schweitzer, who directs the MBAe and teaches two of its core subjects, what makes the MBAe so special is working with students intensively for a whole year.
“That’s what I love. Seeing the students develop the skills to accelerate any project. The MBAe is not about creating a particular startup. It’s about developing an entrepreneurial mindset, and applying it to whatever problem you want to solve.”
UTS Associate Dean (Education) Chris Burton said Venture Day was a key component of the MBAe program, where students learn to develop their idea, build a business case and then pitch it to industry specialists.
“What we want to do through the MBAe is give students the best chance of understanding money, cashflow, business cases, and what it's like to be on the other end … we want them to really stand in the shoes of the investor to see it from their point of view and what the pitch therefore should be aimed at,” she said.
“The real game here is to get people thinking creatively, critically, entrepreneurially, so they can take that to wherever they end up in their career.”
The top prize was taken out by Tim Cochran with his RESTSTx app that helps people track and achieve their fitness goals in the gym.
“There is a set of fixed principles, core principles to training that can help you make progress. But they are hard to activate on your own. You need help. And most people can’t afford personal trainers,” he said.
“What RESISTx does is help weight trainers implement progressive overload in their programs by creating a feedback loop that informs future training based on previous training."
The app will launch on 31 March on both Android and iOS platforms.
Finalist Geoff Bullen, whose WallSync concept uses augmented reality machine learning to replicate the collaborative approach of post-it notes in a digital project management system, said the MBAe program was leading the way in focusing on entrepreneurship.
“It's just awesome to have a program where you've got 20 people all wanting to launch a business and going through that journey together,” he said.
The Floetic task management system that gives hotel managers better insight into how to manage their staff's time was a Venture Day prize winner.
Co-creators Brayden Beaumont, Rio Weerasinghe and Nora Nasser said the MBAe course had helped them to develop their idea.
“It's a really intense course. We're working full time, so that adds in a lot to the stress of it … but I think without this course we wouldn't be where we are now,” Weerasinghe said.
Beaumont added that the MBAe isn’t for people who are “just looking for a piece of paper”.
“You're going to have to want this because they challenge you. They put you through a lot and they're not just going to give it to you free and say ‘here's the answer’.”
Finalist and prize winner Kent Boehm’s SpeedSight concept uses special high-speed racing drones to get closer to the action in sports cinematography.
“The idea's been in the back of my mind for a couple of years, but really it's been the last year that it's intensified with the MBAe course,” Boehm said.
“They really push you to test your ideas against real people and then change them if need be and validate your findings.”
He added that the UTS MBAe course provided invaluable experience.
“It's really unique and forward-thinking, and I think programs like MBAs need to adopt some of the things that this particular program has.”
UTS 2018 Venture Day prize winners:
Kazacos Family & Foundation Prize
$10,000 in cash and $10,000 of in-kind services (for a student enrolled in the MBAe program)
Winner: RESISTx – Tim Cochran. An app that provides immediate feedback on your gym progress
UTS Business School Dean's Award for Best For-Profit Venture
$7,500 in cash (for a student enrolled in a UTS degree program)
Winner: LearnedHub – Mahya Mirzaei. Mahya is an aerospace engineer by training. She completed the UTS Hatchery Accelerate program. LearnedHub is a personalised online maths tutoring program.
UTS Business School Dean's Award for Best Social Venture
$7,500 in cash (for a student enrolled in a UTS degree program)
Winner: Loopd Kidz – Livia Leskovec. Loopd Kidz engages, educates and empowers kids to make choices that have a positive impact on our environment through Australia’s first child-friendly and free toy swapping app.
Paul Thorley Prize
$2,500 in cash for best start-up that combines human expertise with what technology does best.
Winner: SpeedSight – Kent Boehm. MBAe student Kent Boehm's project, SpeedSight, is an exciting startup that produces action sports cinematography using high speed drones.
Gilbert & Tobin In-Kind prize
$5,000 in-kind IP services. Winner: SpeedSight – Kent Boehm
BDO Australia In-Kind Prize
$5,000 in-kind professional services for Tax, Corporate Finance or Accounting.
Winner: Floetic – Brayden Beaumont, Rio Weerasinghe, Nora Nasser. Floetic, developed by three MBAe students, hopes to improve operational efficiency in the hotel industry by giving hotels greater insight into their workforce.
TCF Services In-Kind Prize
$3,000 in-kind professional services to assist in an application for MVP competitive grant funding for start-ups and SMEs based in NSW.
Winner: Floetic – Brayden Beaumont, Rio Weerasinghe, Nora NasserDo you have an idea for a story?
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