The Art of Business: Enterprise + Innovation Week at UON

Enterprise + Innovation Week is returning to UON for 2017 and is ready to provide students with the skills and knowledge that enable them to participate in technological, social or creative innovation and entrepreneurship.

The week is dedicated to celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of students and staff and is a fun and exciting week filled with activities across three of our major campuses including Callaghan, Port Macquarie and Sydney.

Between Monday, 7th to Friday, 11th of August, you can learn from experts in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, while getting some hands-on experience designed to encourage you to pursue your interests and develop a forward-thinking approach to your career.

Students can engage in an exciting range of activities that provide experience in technological, creative or social innovation and entrepreneurship during the week. With this in mind, all activities have a focus on inspiring and supporting the development of skills required to be a successful future innovator and entrepreneur.

Enterprise + Innovation week will be packed with keynote speakers, successful entrepreneurs and innovators such as Dr Mack Samarat, Founder of Waves of Wellness Foundation Joel Pilgrim, Steven Key, and Dr Shamus Smith

Featuring masterclasses, speed mentoring, an Enterprise and Innovation EXPO, HackAthon, and the Business Pitch Competition, there’s something for everyone!

One of the experts in the field is Dr Shamus Smith, a senior lecturer in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing. He will be hosting his own Master Class about research on monetising apps, to be held on Tuesday, 8th August.

Dr Smith said he will talk mainly about apps and how they might benefit the future entrepreneur or business person.

“I kind of see innovation and entrepreneurship very tightly linked to what I will talk about [in the master class], because if you look at any type of business, you can think of apps as branding as almost like their online business cards,” he said.

“What I will want to talk about as well are some of the challenges to building a business or an app. They both require a lot of maintenance, for example.”

His Master Class will be about the challenges and opportunities of app development and would benefit students from all faculties, looking to build their digital product awareness in an increasingly online workforce.

Dr Smith said there is a huge resource that goes into the digital side of business to make it work. Controlling your digital footprint and brand is also a hot topic.

“If you want to control that, then give it to someone local that you can sit down with and work things out, rather than remotely in an asynchronous way,” he said. “The issue with the digital world is that things are very copy-able… copywriting and trademarking in the digital world is challenging.”

But how can one future-proof themselves for a career in a workplace becoming more digital, you ask? The trick is to never stop learning and building a strong foundation in digital literacy.

“Depending on whether you want to have a specialisation in a particular area, then you are going to be the best in said area, or you can generate a broad skill-set, so then you can transition into different areas,” Dr Smith said.

Likewise, Co-founder and CEO of Elite Robotics, Sahil Harriram, said one of the most important skills you can develop is to become more self-aware of your strengths and to test your abilities.

“Really begin to understand what success means to you,” he said. “Earl Nightingale once said that success is the progressive realisation of a worthy goal. Giving yourself the opportunity to have a variety of experiences will help you realise what that worthy goal is for you and that knowledge will give you the confidence you need to turn your dream into reality.

“Through this process you will truly begin to understand your strengths, weaknesses, what you love and what you hate; this knowledge will allow you to do things out of your comfort zone that you never thought you were capable of doing, and that process will almost feel effortless.”

Another important thing to take away is what it takes to create a new business, business model, or research in your field.

“If you want to run a business, it must be robust, repeatable and sellable,” Dr Smith said. “Research, and publishing research, has to be innovative and new.” In other words, you need to add to the field of knowledge.

Likewise, it’s important to look at the track record of other businesses in your field of interest. For example, with Angry Birds, this was the company’s 52nd app – something that might be surprising to some.

“They had a lot of experience building things and trying things, and sometimes it’s the right idea at the right time,” he said.

Ultimately, Dr Smith and many other experts are bound to offer a valuable amount of advice and expertise in your field of interest that will no doubt set you on the path to being a successful innovator and entrepreneur.

The free entry and free information at Enterprise + Innovation Week just happens to be icing on the cake, and will provide a stepping-stone to deciding on whether you do want to pursue a career in business, innovation or entrepreneurship.

“Starting a business or creating a new idea might be quite daunting, especially up front,” Dr Smith said. “So, getting faced with it now and learning what to possibly expect in your career, is probably a really good idea.”

Enterprise + Innovation Week concludes in the final of the Business Pitch Competition – an opportunity for you to pitch your business ideas to a group of esteemed industry professionals with the chance to win funding to support the proposed business development, access to mentoring support, and a four month place at the Innovation Hub.

Sahil, who was a member of the team that won the 2016 Business Pitching Competition, said the experience completely changed the trajectory of their start-up which focussed on commercial applications for autonomous vehicle technology.

“It gave us the validation we needed to go all out and pursue our business idea,” Sahil said. “The prize money funded the early stages of our product development, allowing us to gain traction with customers.”

Planning to have a stall showcasing some of the work Elite Robotics has been up to over the past eight to nine months, the Engineering (Mechatronics) graduate advises students to visit as many stalls and events as possible.

“There are some pretty amazing speakers lined up so definitely try to make the most of their time,” he said. “Figure out what they have done and ask them some relevant questions about their experiences that can help you get to where you want to be.”

If you’re currently looking at opportunities to get started on developing something ‘new’, whether it be a business idea, an innovative tool to benefit your chosen industry or to enhance your creative or digital skill-set while at university, then Enterprise + Innovation Week is the perfect chance to do so.

Why not dip your feet in a little bit into the exciting things that await you at Enterprise + Innovation Week?