Five budding Canberra startups were recognised at the annual InnovationACT Awards Night in Canberra over the weekend, sharing $50,000 worth of grants for continuation of their ventures.
The five teams were selected from over 70 teams from across Canberra’s tertiary institutions, and the awards event was the culmination of an intensive ten week learning journey for teams to develop their innovative business ideas, involving workshops, mentorship and a public pitching event.
The award came as a surprise to Hayley Teasdale, PhD student from the University of Canberra and co-founder of one of the awarded teams, Equilibri.
“It was overwhelming and exciting to found out that we had received a grant. It meant so much to us not only because it told us that people out there believed in what we’re doing, but the funding will help take us from being at this stage where we have something cool to hopefully being able to take it out to the world,” said Teasdale.
Teasdale’s team is developing a solution to assist people with severe balance impairments, and already has plans to develop further technologies to help others.
“My co-founder and I are both creative people and we wanted to create a product we knew was needed, but we hope that this is just the beginning for us. We want to continue creating more accessible technologies that are solving real problems that people are experiencing and that can help makes people’s lives better,” said Teasdale.
Nicholas Chua, Bachelor of Commerce student at The Australian National University and co-founder of grant recipient team, Civilise.ai, saw the grant as validation of the team’s hard work.
“It was a rewarding feeling as it proved to me that if you put in the amount of effort in something you truly believe in, you will see the benefits. Patience and persistence really pays off,” said Chua.
Chua’s team is developing an artificial intelligence-supported platform that they hope can be utilised by land developers and local councils to maintain cities.
“Our broader vision is to one day be able to help build entire ecosystems, from designing a suburb through to improving and maintaining the suburb, all enabled through smart-city technologies and AI,” said Chua.
The InnovationACT program is an initiative of The Australian National University and works closely with the broader innovation community in Canberra, including Major Partners University of Canberra, IP Australia, ACT Government and the Canberra Innovation Network, to link students up with entrepreneurs, startups and other support programs and networks that can help them further their entrepreneurial pursuits.
Vicki Stanley, Program Manager of InnovationACT, recognised the role these up-and-coming entrepreneurs play in the local innovation community.
“We’re incredibly lucky to have such a thriving innovation ecosystem in Canberra, and the young entrepreneurs that come through programs like InnovationACT are such an important piece of the puzzle, to ensure there are new generations of passionate, creative individuals coming through the community, bringing with them new ideas and a whole different level of energy.”
Congratulations to the InnovationACT 2018 grant recipients were:
- Civilise.ai: Developing an innovative platform using artificial intelligence technologies to support land developers, land agencies & local councils in urban planning decisions and suburb maintenance process.
- Equilibri: Aiming to improve balance in people with severe balance impairments to reduce falls and increase quality of life, by offering a solution that can be used in the home, accessible to those in regional and remote areas.
- Infro: Developing an automated cash register machine to enhance modern Points of Sale for small businesses, combining the efficiency from automation and the human interactions from cashiers.
- OMNIA Protocol: Developing a privacy-preserving platform enabling individuals to provide firms, government or any other party access to their data without revealing any of the sensitive data to the monetizing party, in exchange for compensation.
- Support a Star: Supporting local businesses who sponsor or wish to sponsor athletes, by matching athletes with business that share values, taking care of the administrative burden and keeping the relationship active.
We wish to extend our thanks to all the people and organisations who helped make this year’s program possible. Thank you to our Major Partners, University of Canberra, IP Australia, ACT Government and the Canberra Innovation Network, and to our Supporters, Canberra Institute of Technology, Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Entry 29, Renewables Innovation Hub, Game Plus, Square One, ANU Maker Space, GRIFFIN Accelerator, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, GuildGrid, Kreatif, Mude, Tailored Accounts, Moulis Legal, Prinstant and Sly Fox Coffee. Thank you also to the judges, the mentors, the IACT Collective and Committee for all their hard work and time. And finally, thank you to all the individuals who participated in this year’s program.
See you next year for IACT19!