UQ’s entrepreneurs aim for a sustainable future

Twelve teams of aspiring entrepreneurs are one step closer to achieving their goal of startup success after being selected for The University of Queensland’s ilab Germinate Plus accelerator program.

ilab Director Bernie Woodcroft said the 2019 cohort of eager entrepreneurs will develop a range of business ideas, ranging from renewable energy technologies through to social enterprises.

UQ graduates Ashley Baxter and Ashley Chiam’s startup, Sustaen, is turning organic waste into commercial-grade fertiliser that could help combat global food security concerns.

Ms Baxter said organic waste caused massive environmental and health problems and was a major issue in developing countries.

“With the support of ilab, we’re hoping our technology will have far-reaching impact in communities around the world, including in Indigenous communities here in Australia,” she said.

“Having a great idea is one thing, but having the space, networks and support around all aspects of building a startup will help take us to the next level.”

Mr Woodcroft said it was impressive to see the latest UQ founders leveraging the Germinate Plus program to solve global problems.

“Sustainability is key theme for our new cohort, and it’s encouraging to see the next generation of leaders forge their own career paths, united by the goal of healthier, more sustainable and more connected communities,” he said.

UQ’s ilab has doubled its commitment to future entrepreneurs by extending the Germinate PLUS program from three to six months and boosting funding from $10,000 to $20,000 per startup.

The teams will have access to a global network of professionals, as well as one-on-one mentorship sessions with UQ’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Haystack founder and CEO Ran Heimann, who will share his 20 years of business experience and knowledge around startups.

The startups selected for the 2019 Germinate Plus program are:

  • Algae-Caviar – helping people seeking Omega-3 DHA and EPA to supplement their diet with a plant-based, safe, versatile alternative to fish oil.
  • Brandtools – enabling users to upload a logo and instantly generate hundreds of graphic designs based on its colours and stylistic themes.
  • Fiffy Solutions – offering an accurate and affordable people-counting solution based on sensor technology.
  • Clear Sky Genomics – developing tools to help people understand and engage with the information in their genome.
  • Homecube – providing housing that is cheaper, faster to construct, and that absorbs more CO2.
  • Inkquiry – developing a smart pen to make it easier for parents and teachers to track student progress.
  • NetKey – helping event organisers streamline interactions with and between event attendees through a combination of physical hardware and innovative software.
  • Paraspace – using augmented reality and virtual reality to help workplace health and safety trainers reduce training times and simulate high-risk scenarios.
  • Powersphere – an omnidirectional wind turbine, capable of producing electricity regardless of wind direction.
  • PowerWells – using electronic waste such as old laptop batteries to make small solar systems for remote and disadvantaged communities, including in rural Indonesia.
  • Property Disruption – a data-based platform helping property owners profile tenants to place compatible renters within the one property.
  • Sustaen – developing a decentralised waste management network of composting systems that process organic waste into high-quality, commercial-grade organic fertiliser.

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