The idea of locking a bunch of creative people in a room until they have hammered out a plan for a new business is not new. In fact, it’s been done at Mixer events around the world for a number of years. But the concepts – which tends to engender a form of Stockholm Syndrome in entrepreneurs held hostage by market problems – always seems to churn out interesting formative business. They might not always go on to become the next Google, but the process illustrates the power of focused collaboration.
A couple of weeks ago, 30 University of Melbourne students – entrepreneurs, coders and graphics designers – spent a weekend at the inaugural Student StartupCamp. Based on the original Startup Camps in Sydney and Melbourne for professional coders and entrepreneurs, the weekend saw participants divided into six teams late on Friday. A little over 24 sleepless hours later, the teams launched six new websites to the public. By Sunday afternoon they had pitched their businesses to a panel of investors, entrepreneurs and business academics.
So what did they come up with?
www.conversionspace.com – Provides an easy and reliable email based conversion service for people to convert Word documents to PDF files.
http://ibrewit.com – A social network designed specifically to link the dispersed home brewer community around Australia
www.microjobs.com.au – A job advertising website that focuses on short-term “micro” jobs.
www.chorecop.com – A “share house management system” with in-built monitoring and punishment mechanisms for people not completing their domestic tasks in a shared house.
www.oneoffjobs.net – Helps job seekers and individuals needing one-off tasks completed.
www.ratemyguts.com – Creates a space for people to relieve tension and share their ‘gutsy’ stories.
Most of the websites are a bit… underdone. But that’s not the point. The point was best summed up by camp organiser and founder of Student Entrepreneurs | Agents of Change, Amir Nissen. “The number one take-away for students was the value of doing. You can achieve so much if you just get moving.”
Indeed. I well remember the domestic minefield that was shared student living, so my favourite has to be www.chorecop.com. This site has the potential to return civility to even the most fractious domestic arrangements. A market (and personal) pain worth solving.
For future student entrepreneurship events and activities, check out www.agentsofchange.org.au