Canberra student startups share $50,000 InnovationACT grant pool

Five student startups from The Australian National University (ANU) were recognised at the InnovationACT 2019 Awards Night ceremony over the weekend, sharing $50,000 worth of grants and other startup support, to help develop their ventures.

The awards ceremony was the culmination of the teams’ participation in InnovationACT, an intensive ten-week entrepreneurship program from ANU, where they were each challenged to develop their venture ideas through the support of workshops, mentorship and public pitching events.

Two Step Tommy, one of the teams to receive grant funding, is looking to revitalise the Canberra cityscape with generative graphics that respond to data like sound and movement.

“I love riding my bike around town, and we felt that a good way to get more people out and about is by having interesting things to look at,” says Two Step Tommy co-founder, Declan O’Donovan.

“There are a lot of new developments and blank walls around Canberra and we think our graphics can be a relatively cheap way to transform a space to fit the vibe and authentic of its surroundings.”

Two Step Tommy has been overwhelmed by the support from the community since first pitching their ideas to the public at InnovationACT’s Pitch Night event last week, and sees this as great validation of their idea.

“Even since pitching, we’ve had so many people reach out to us with sending us cool stuff like sensing tech and ideas for new applications of our technology, so we’re hoping this grant money will allow us to explore some of these ideas to allow us to do more creative things.”

Two Step Tommy was one of over 70 student teams from across Canberra who participated in this year’s InnovationACT cohort.

“We were incredibly impressed by the breadth of innovative ideas in this year’s program, many of which were addressing major societal and environmental issues facing the world today,” said Vicki Stanley, InnovationACT Program Manager.

“Needless to say, it has been inspiring to be working with such bright students – their passion and drive definitely rubs off on you.”

InnovationACT is an initiative of The Australian National University, and the program partners with other key players in Canberra’s innovation community, including Gold Partners, Canberra Innovation Network and ACT Government, to deliver the program.

“It’s been a privilege to support InnovationACT. We consider it one of the keystone events funnelling entrepreneurship and innovation in our city, so congratulations to all for being a part of it,” says Petr Adamek, CEO of Canberra Innovation Network.

Vicki explains that the primary aim of the partnerships is to expose the student entrepreneurs to the other businesses, initiatives and networks available to them as they continue on their startup journeys.

Mark McAnulty, co-founder of Solar Campus, who also received grant funding, hopes to capitalise on these networks to further develop their idea.

“We have been able to make some great connections in the innovation community and we’ll certainly be taking advantage of those to help grow our venture,” reflects Mark.

“Our vision is to be able to roll this platform out to a number of communities, including ones that don’t have the existing community leaders driving these kids of activities. There are a lot of people out there passionate about the tackling climate change, but don’t know how they can get involved. We want to give them the tools they need to feel empowered to make change and create real impact in their own communities.”

InnovationACT 2019 grant recipients: (L to R) RescoIO, ConSenses Events, Solar Campus, Gleeson and Seeber, and Two Step Tommy.

Congratulations to the grant recipients:

  • ConSenses Events: The team aims to address social isolation in Canberra’s ageing population, by holding regular skills-share markets for the elderly to interact with the community.
  • Gleeson and Seeber: The team is targeting the skills-shortage, by developing scenario-based learning to allow businesses to train their workers more effectively.
  • RescoIO: The team has developed an open-source tool aimed at optimising the use, reuse, remaking and recycling of manufactured products.
  • Solar Campus: The team has created a platform that enables fractional ownership of community rooftop solar.
  • Two Step Tommy: The team is developing data-driven generative graphics to help businesses build stronger brands and increase engagement with customers.

Congratulations also to the InnovationACT teams and participants who received other startup support prizes, thanks to InnovationACT’s Partner organisations:

  • Social impact consultation (Mill House Ventures): ConSenses Events, RescoIO
  • Legal consultation (Griffin Legal): Solar Campus
  • Print services package (CITSAPrint): ConSenses Events, Gleeson and Seeber, Two Step Tommy
  • Accounting consultation (Tailored Accounts): 99 Trivia, AR PARK, ConSenses Events, DJADVISER, Gleeson and Seeber, RETNA TECH, Revent, Solar Campus
  • 12-month sponsored QuickBooks subscription (Tailored Accounts): 99 Trivia, DJADVISER, Solar Campus
  • Mentorship and business strategy consultation (Tailored Accounts): 99 Trivia, AR PARK, ConSenses Events, EaziTrip, Revent
  • Website and branding consultation (Futuretheory): Two Step Tommy
  • 2x sponsored Lean Innovation Bootcamp tickets (Canberra Innovation Network): ConSenses Events, DJADVISER, RETNA TECH, Two Step Tommy
  • Desk space over Jan-Feb 2020 (Canberra Innovation Network): ConSenses Events, DJADVISER, Two Step Tommy
  • 1x sponsored StartCon ticket (InnovationACT Committee & Collective): Tudor Barbulescu

InnovationACT would not be possible without the generous contributions of many individuals and organisations, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank:

InnovationACT 2019 participants, Committee and Collective at InnovationACT 2019: Awards Night.

InnovationACT, a proud initiative of The Australian National University, is a free, ten-week entrepreneurship program that provides the skills, tools and networks to those looking to begin their startup journey.

Media enquiries:
Vicki Stanley, Program Manager – InnovationACT, 02 6125 6446