IACT20 Awards Night: A night of celebrations

“Fast-paced. Engaging. Challenging.”

“Intense. Exciting. Fun.”

“Supportive. Collaborative. Life-changing.”

These are just some of the words the IACT20 teams used to describe the program this year.

On Saturday Night, InnovationACT held its virtual Awards Night for its 2020 cohort, announcing the teams who would receive a portion of the $50,000 grant pool, and who would receive additional startup support prizes from a range of IACT’s partners. Even behind computer screens there was a buzz of both nerves and celebration, as people dressed to impress, had drinks, and clapped physically and virtually for each announcement. Afterwards, many gathered in person for the unofficial After Party, officially drawing the program to a close. 

In addition to the highly anticipated announcements, it was a night to reflect upon the highlights of the program, for participants, Committee and Collective alike.

Some of the participant’s most valuable experiences were shared, which include:

“Each week, the program challenged me in a whole new way, from going out and speaking to customers, to seeking out feedback from mentors, to pitching my idea to others.”

“I have witnessed how well a team can work and complement each other. Also, how people who are dedicated and really want to help, can have a real impact on those who really want to learn.”

“I learned how valuable it is to put in consistent work while surrounding myself with teammates who share the same goals.”

The IACT Committee and Collective also had some favourite moments to contribute, including:

“Being online I was pretty worried that we’d lose a lot of the energy/vibe, but I had nothing to be worried about. Students of IACT20 brought enough vibe to carry us through this brave new online world.”

“The ‘aha’ moments, whether from finally understanding a toolkit or coming back to a workshop after speaking to customers.”

“100% the proudest moments are the first few ‘real’ prototypes people do. It’s when everything starts to come together and a real product starts to form.”

It was a night to recognise the entirety of the IACT cohort, but for five teams it was particularly special. The following teams were announced as the recipients of this year’s $50,000 grant pool, assisting them to further pursue their ventures.

  • Explorer, who are developing smart monitoring services to railway track companies across the world.
  • Pet Pawfect, who are creating reliable, affordable, and flexible pet-training and health services for pet parents.
  • Stream, who are developing an app-based aircraft boarding system for airlines and their passengers.
  • Sway Aquaculture, who are farming methane-reducing seaweed for dairy cattle.
  • Sweet and Sour, who are developing a creative publication about being Asian in Australia.

Congratulations, teams! (If you missed it, check out the previous blog to watch their pitches!)

In addition, further prizes were presented by our Partners, which will assist the recipients in taking their venture onwards. The following Partner prizes were awarded:

  • Pet Pawfect and Sway Aquaculture, receiving a three-month mentoring program from Re:Start Innovation.
  • All Top 10 teams (Bilingual Schools Australia, Dreaming, Explorer, House of Words, Pet Pawfect, ReYO Stream, Sway Aquaculture, Sweet and Sour, To The Left), who will receive accounting consultation, 12-month accounting software subscription, and ongoing mentorship from Tailored Accounts CEO Harry Hoang, from Tailored Accounts.
  • Stream, receiving a one-hour legal consultation from Griffin Legal.
  • House of Words, receiving a “Social Enterprise BMC” package from Mill House Ventures.
  • Sweet and Sour, receiving a support services package from Futuretheory.
  • Pet Pawfect, ReYO, Stream, and Sway Aquaculture, receiving sponsored tickets to innovation workshops, and Pet Pawfect, Stream, and Sway Aquaculture receiving summer coworking space, from Canberra Innovation Network.

All IACT20 teams and participants should be congratulated on their mammoth effort in this program, for attending events on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings, balancing their ventures with work and study, and navigating a project with this year’s considerations.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the people, organisations and networks who help make InnovationACT possible. InnovationACT is a proud initiative of The Australian National University, but would not be possible without the community surrounding the program. This is not only the participants, but the IACT Committee, the IACT Collective, mentors, judges, and other supporters of the program. Special thanks to Major Partners, Canberra Innovation Network, and our other program Partners, Tailored Accounts, Griffin Legal, Futuretheory, Re:Start Innovation and Mill House Ventures.

Thanks to all who were involved in making IACT20 an unforgettable experience. See you next year for IACT21!