Flinders University has just launched a new department, New Venture Institute (NVI), aimed at helping entrepreneurs get a good footing in the business world as well as beefing up the level of economic development in and around Adelaide.
NVI is reinforcing the culture of entrepreneurship surrounding Flinders University. What is perhaps most unique about the new branch is that it’s a bridge between Flinder’s educational resources and the business community of South Australia.
This is an interesting prospect as in immerses students in the community network, while benefitting the community itself with all that the up-and-coming entrepreneurs enrolled at the university have to offer.
Innovative, inside and out
NVI Director Matthew Salier, who has taken on the role after seven years as national manager of the Smith Family, says the initiatives are representative of the Institute’s aim to “infuse innovative and entrepreneurial thought and practice among Flinders students and staff and the broader community.”
“The NVI’s activities are starting to take shape. Internally, we are modelling the University’s existing, successful programs such as NanoConnect and the collaborative example of the Medical Device Research Institute.”
“Externally, we are focused on harnessing the University’s intellectual horsepower, by using the business connections of our Council and our many partners, to bring some exceptional value into the start-up and entrepreneur community,” he added.
The happening spot
Among the recent happenings since NVI launched a few weeks ago, South Australian business mavens, Maggie Beer and Marita Cheng, and others, shared their secrets to sustaining success and dodging setbacks with an audience of Flinders students and business leaders on 30 August, in Entrepreneurs in Conversation, as part of a regular series from Flinders.
Additionally, students from Flinders Business School and the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM) will begin work on ‘real world’ case studies, as consultants to two start-up ventures.
NVI has numerous upcoming events on the horizon, with registrations already open.
Venture Dorm: moving forward
Since we first told you about Venture Dorm, it’s all been onwards and upwards for the Flinders University entrepreneurial education program.
Beginning in early 2014, NVI will also take over running Venture Dorm, an entrepreneurial education and training program for potential and existing start-up founders, devised.
“Venture Dorm fulfils an important role [for NVI] because it bridges our internal focus and external focus. We’d like students to get involved and we’d like researchers and academics to consider jumping into it as well. But it is also attractive to the external community,” continued Salier.
Rounding out the team
NVI also welcomes Orren Prunckun, a Flinders law/arts grad who is a well-known figure in the South Australian entrepreneurial sector, due to his leadership in Startup Weekend events in Adelaide, as we’ve previously reported.
“I think Orren coming on board reflects the fact that universities have a really important role to play [in the entrepreneurial sector] and that it isn’t only one of being the thought-leaders and the thinkers: it’s about being the doers in that space as well,” said Salier.
A vision of venture; a venture of vision
“The real value from a university comes when you can bring cutting-edge thinking and research to actually strategically doing it on the ground.”
Salier plans to realise that concept with a series of entrepreneurial education initiatives, including a forthcoming “toolbox workshop” which aims to offer budding entrepreneurs the skills necessary to determine if their ideas are commercially viable.
The long-term vision of NVI is to become the face of Flinders’ presence at the Tonsley development.
“Tonsley is about having the University, TAFE and business in the same space and all collaboratively working together. Being on the ground floor of our new building, we consider NVI as the software through which the School of CSEM will enhance its already excellent external engagement,” he continued.
“It is not yet known what the next big thing will be. What is known is that you need to create the conditions through which people can come together: where you can bring the intellectual horsepower of the University, the experience of your business connections, mentorship and capital to bear to create an environment where these new products and services are likely to flourish.”
Feel the love, Adelaide?
This all means there’s a lot of love for entrepreneurs in Adelaide and all of South Australia. Are you feeling the Flinder’s love? By the way, the next Startup Weekend will happen on 25 November, so mark your calendars.