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Could the University Of Sydney usher in an era of college millionaires?


University of Sydney Union is the first to launch a start-up development program in Australia and the Asia Pacific region at the university level.

The program, INCUBATE, will provide students, researchers and recent alumni (2009 onwards) of the University of Sydney with the opportunity to realise high-potential start-ups on campus.

How did INCUBATE start? And how will it work?

Funded by the USU, Australia’s first student union, INCUBATE will provide $5,000 equity-free business grants, co-working space and free mentoring from some of Australia’s most recognised entrepreneurs to eight successful incubator teams. Each successful team will use the summer break to build and develop their start-up idea ready to present to potential investors during O-Week in February 2013.

The launch night attracted over 100 students and staff from the University of Sydney to discuss entrepreneurship on campus with panel members and INCUBATE mentors Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, Nikki Durkin of 99dresses and Matt Byrne, founder of Curicon.com. INCUBATE was originally set to fund four teams however on launch night, Matt Barrie donated $20,000 which has now doubled the number of available spots for incubator teams.

“I think it’s a great program and the guys have shown a lot of initiative to put it together. I put up the matching funds because I felt that 8 teams would be better than 4 going through the program. A great outcome would be to get one or two real companies to graduate! Then future success will be self fulfilling.”

INCUBATE was started by Sydney University Engineering student James Alexander and student union Board Director Mina Nada.

“We realised there was almost no support for entrepreneurial-minded students and alumni to get funding for their start-up businesses on campus. So we went to the USU who believed in INCUBATE and were able to get the program up and running really quickly,” said James.

“We’ve had a great response from the university community with alumni saying things like ‘I wish this existed when I was at university!'”

INCUBATE is modelled based on leading incubators such as YCombinator in Silicon Valley and similar university based programs like StartX at Stanford.

So, are you a student, researcher or recent alumnus of the University of Sydney? Then what are you waiting for to apply at http://incubate.org.au or to at least learn more?

Image by ralph and jenny