UTS Director of Entrepreneurship Murray Hurps. Photo: Guy Degen
Many in the startup sector may know Murray Hurps from his three years as CEO of Fishburners. He’s also co-founder, director and former CEO of Startup Muster.
In 2018, Hurps headed to academia as the Director of Entrepreneurship at University of Technology Sydney, charged with inspiring and supporting student entrepreneurs. UTS Startups is now the largest community of student-launched startups in Australia.
A year into his role, Hurps looks back on what they’ve achieved at UTS in this guest post.
Something big is happening at UTS, and it’s gaining momentum.
That something is entrepreneurship.
I believe entrepreneurship is deciding what you want to work on, instead of being told what to work on. When I look around UTS, I think it’s something that students from every faculty and school, with different skills and with different interests, are being drawn to because they see that there is a different path they can follow to achieving the career they want and the impact they want to have in the world
Not a day goes by when we don’t see students walk in the door to UTS Startups, and instantly start to get excited about possibilities.
And I get equally excited about supporting our students to develop their own idea or join a team of people who share a passion for solving a problem. The possibilities open to them are literally endless. It only requires a little encouragement to take that first important step.
Our idea that you can not only come to uni to study, but also graduate with a job in a business you created, is working, and it’s growing: fast!
That’s why UTS Startups is the home of student entrepreneurship at UTS.
This is the place where our students find:
- Assistance in taking the first steps of their entrepreneurial journey
- Cool spaces to work and to grow their startup
- Industry-leading mentors who really burn to help them succeed
- Connections to talent, investors, researchers and experienced founders
- And most of all, a hugely supportive and knowledgeable community of student founders built around collaboration, not competition.
Students may not know what they’ll need for their startup, but they will be able to find it in the UTS Startups community.
The UTS difference
A lot of people ask me: what’s distinctive about UTS Startups? What are you doing here, that no one else is doing?
Yes, we think big. We’re going for scale. We want all students to make entrepreneurship part of their experience at UTS. We value learning by doing. And, we know that an entrepreneurial mindset helps students to be more employable and be ready for the future no matter what their career path.
But our approach at UTS Startups is uniquely UTS.
Our students share our goal of building solutions for real-world impact, with technology. That’s in the DNA of being a UTS student, and it’s something our industry and startup ecosystem partners recognise and value.
Most of all though, our secret weapon is our huge community of student-launched startups, and the inspiration and support they offer each other. This is something which anyone who works in a startup community knows, and something which is forever burned in my mind from being the CEO of Fishburners – the power of inspired minds working together is unstoppable.
And with 45,000 students at UTS, our community can only grow stronger.
When a student comes to UTS Startups they are instantly engaged with fellow entrepreneurs who share a similar mindset. They can turn to the person beside them for a question, to help or as it often happens, collaborate and make something even more amazing.
Within our first year, our story in numbers is impressive. UTS Startups now supports more than 250 active student-led startups, run by 550 people, 330 of which are UTS students.
Moreover, our leading startups are starting to break through either by bootstrapping to success or taking giant steps in leading accelerator programs.
For example, I could point to Tekuma and their ground-breaking drone technology; to Arlula making satellite imagery so much more accessible; to Tech Gym using robotics to speed the rehabilitation of stroke patients; to Clipboardwho are helping schools save time and thousands of precious education dollars, by making extra-curricular administration easier through an app; or to HandUp an app to help connect school students with mental health care and improve their welfare.
There are so many more, but behind the numbers, every person in our community has a fascinating story of the problem they are solving, the impact they’re making on the world, and the benefits they’re getting from the journey they’ve embarked on.
So, when people ask me: “What’s next for UTS Startups?”, I could tell them about our goal of 50% of UTS students working on, or with, startups by 2023; or the exciting startup ecosystem partnerships we’re building; or our expanding Startup Internship program; or how we are integrating entrepreneurship into UTS courses; or how we’re working to inspire high school students about innovation and entrepreneurship.
But honestly, the best answer I can offer is “More UTS Startups!”
UTS is building the largest community of student-launched startups in Australia. I couldn’t be more excited to see what our incredible students, and this incredible community, can achieve in the year ahead.
- To find out how UTS Startups is developing the next generation of student founders, click here.