Two months on from appointing former Fishburners CEO Murray Hurps as its Director of Entrepreneurship, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has launched the UTS Startups program to encourage more students into startups.
Powered by the UTS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit and to be led by Hurps, the program has evolved from the university’s previous Hatchery Ideate and Accelerate programs with the goal of increasing the number of scalable, student-led startups coming out of UTS.
Rather than operating as a set incubator or accelerator program with set intakes and cohorts, the new offering will look to engage all students at the university by providing them with, among other things, coworking space, mentoring, and access to the UTS Startups and wider university network.
Hurps said UTS Startups is about building a “vibrant community” to inspire and support student startups, with a focus on attracting a wider variety of students into startups and building a new generation of founders.
“We want to encourage students to see the opportunity in startups and begin their journey when it’s right for them,” he said.
“UTS Startups is not about prescribing a path or formula, but instead creating an environment where student founders are exposed to what they need to progress, both inside and outside the university.”
Professor Margaret Maile Petty, UTS executive director for innovation and entrepreneurship, added that UTS Startups will be focusing on “the diversity of student needs and motivations” in order to “meaningfully scale startup support”.
“Through UTS Startups, we will connect students with a range of support and opportunities to develop their skills and their ventures—from bootcamps, workshops and hackathons, as well as connections to partner incubators and accelerators,” she said.
“This approach will allow us to support many more student startups than ever. I’m confident in Murray’s vision and am excited to be working with such a leader on this important initiative.”
According to the university, 40 percent of its students are interested in creating their own startup.
With this in mind, UTS Startups will be open to every student at the university, or startups with at least one cofounder who has been a student in the last 12 months.
To join they will be asked to submit “a compelling startup idea” and show how they are currently, or plan to, address a large market, with everything from idea-stage ventures and beyond accepted.
Members at launch include Resolution 123, which provides online legal support for employment issues; Arlula, a marketplace for leasing, buying and selling assets in space; and Kindershare, which connects owners and renters of baby equipment.
The launch of UTS Startups follows the university earlier this month signing a three year partnership with coworking community Fishburners.
The partnership will see UTS take desks at Fishburners’ space at the Sydney Startup Hub for its startups and interns, while an internship program connecting UTS students with Fishburners startups will kick off in August.
The need to get students into the startup community comes as the 2017 Startup Muster report found 3.8 percent of founders and 8.1 percent of future founders were aged 25 or below.
Pandora Shelley, Fishburners CEO, said, “The average age of a Fishburners founder is 38. We believe that by exposing students to real life entrepreneurship earlier on, we will see more younger founders start a startup.”
Image: pictured left to right, back: Arran Salerno (Arlula), John Phung (Buzzbox), Ashley Cheuk (Buzzbox), Boris Poletan (Buzzbox), Michael Griffin (Tekuma), Murray Hurps (UTS), Matthew Waugh (Conexie), Sebastian Chaoui (Arlula). Front: Annette Mclelland (Tekuma), Eliza Marks (Stitchhub), Vanouhi Nazarian (Kindershare). Photo by Leah Lucas.