The Queensland Government is nurturing the state’s entrepreneurs of the future – today awarding four scholarships for an internationally-renowned innovation bootcamp this week.
The highly acclaimed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp condenses a one-year MIT course into an intensive, one- week learning experience led by MIT’s most respected business lecturers.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones congratulated the recipients of the scholarship – Emma Robinson, Melody Dobrinin, Jackson Grant and Michael Frangos – who will participate in the bootcamp over the next week.
“Queensland has a growing international reputation as a hub for technology and innovation,” Ms Jones said.
“Hosting this Bootcamp for the third year in a row at QUT’s Gardens Point campus is a huge feather in Queensland’s cap.
“Over the week, we’ll welcome 97 budding entrepreneurs from 30 countries to Brisbane as part of an initiative we’re supporting with the Queensland University of Technology.
“Scholarships like these are part of our strategy to keep our best entrepreneurial minds in Queensland. They’ll get a chance to collaborate with some of the world’s best up-and-coming innovators and learn how to turn great ideas into successful business ventures.
“This aligns with our vision to diversify Queensland’s economy through innovation and ensure we stay ahead of the curve in years to come.
“The four recipients we’ve selected have proven their ability to think outside the box and push the boundaries in their areas of interest – agriculture, dietetics, business and engineering.”
One example is scholarship recipient, grazier and family farming advocate Emma Robinson from Charters Towers who will explore how technology can assist farmers to improve collaboration, productivity and reduce the cost of production through more sustainable supply chains.
“Farmers are innovative by nature and have to be solutions-focused and practical to solve everyday problems and find ways to optimise production systems,” Ms Robinson said.
“The MIT Bootcamp will enable me to do a deep dive into the innovation process and continue to progress ideas through a collaborative project I’ve set up for graziers known as the Beef Collaboration Project – a project by farmers, for farmers.
“My vision is to see family farming prosper through innovation, ideas and technology and to find new ways to leverage the very best of family farming but with the scale and opportunity of a larger corporate.”
Scholarship recipient and ex-Google Project Manager Melody Dobrinin established a startup that helps people with dietary difficulties.
“I’ve had complex dietary requirements since a young age and simple activities like going for a meal at a restaurant can be thwart with complications,” she said.
“With the number of people with food-related health problems increasing I saw a need to start ‘Noshable’, a company that helps people with complex diets find food wherever they go.
“The MIT Bootcamp will provide me with knowledge and experiences to continue working on solutions in this field in order to improve people’s lives.”
QUT Computer Science and Economic student and scholarship recipient Jackson Grant was former president of student startup society QUT Starters and hopes to use the Bootcamp experience to help solve problems in the business world.
“MIT is world-class when it comes to innovation and I am excited to discover the secret sauce behind this program,” Mr Grant said.
“I enjoy learning about how we can bring economics – so often influenced by irrational human decision-making – together with logical IT solutions to identify and solve real-life problems.”
Engineer and Director of Indigenous Energy Australia and The Engineers Co-op Michael Frangos is looking at ways to use business solutions and a better understanding of local communities to drive economic, social and environmental outcomes.
“My goal is to find innovative solutions to ‘close the gap’ and improve the livelihoods of regional, vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians, by trying to solve problems in a different way by combining business knowledge with an understanding of local culture,” Michael said.
“Attending the MIT Bootcamp will give me the skills and experience to take my contributions to the next level.
“I am extremely grateful for receiving the scholarship and also thank Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) for their contribution to my tuition. I will be able to apply the skills gained to make improvements within the QUU operations group”.