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Annie Rahilly, media officer, University of Melbourne
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An interactive internet radio service, a remote area power system and a streamlined booking system for venues, are just some of the projects that are being translated from ideas to reality through a new entrepreneurial program at the University of Melbourne.

 

The Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), the first program of its kind in Australia, builds on innovative ideas that are sparked by passion and interest.                                            

The University’s Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE), which is hosting the program, joins only a handful of leading institutions globally providing an entrepreneurial program to students, staff and alumni. 

Launched this year, MAP aims to help entrepreneurs in the Melbourne School of Engineering community maximise their chances of success through access to resources and mentoring, accelerate the progress of participants’ start-ups and create a culture of entrepreneurship at the University. 

Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering Professor Iven Mareels said MAP would help translate ideas into practice and increase opportunities for staff, students and alumni to develop successful entrepreneurial careers.

“Engineering is all about investing in new ways of doings things and the MAP program offers a practical way for ideas to develop into potentially commercial ventures,” he said. 

“By involving mentors in the program, our students, academics and alumni can gain unlimited exposure to a range of experts who can guide, advise and support them through the journey of innovation. Who knows, we may see the next iteration of a Facebook come out of this program.” 

Four teams out of 32, have been selected to receive entrepreneurial fellowships, as well as mentorship and assistance for their business start-ups. The four teams come from a variety of backgrounds including engineering students, alumni and external participants.

The 2012 MAP participants are:

VenueMob: An Internet venue booking system that will streamline venue bookings. This tool will enable venue owners to better use their function spaces and function organisers to compare venues and make the right venue booking quickly and easily.

Remote Area Power System: A remote area power system that will enable clients in rural and remote areas to get the most effective use from their available energy supply, whether it be off-grid alternative energy sources, single wire earth return (SWER), or a combination of both.

UniSquare:  A next-generation Internet social platform for University students aimed at improving students’ experience of going to university, by sharing relevant information. 

121cast: A free, personalised, interactive radio station that reads emails, calendar, news, weather and social media, as well as playing music and podcasts. The stream mixes a combination of text content converted to speech and traditionally produced audio content (such as radio and music). It is customised to individual needs and can be used on a variety of devices such as mobile apps for phones; tablets; desktop web browsers; and embedded devices such as internet connected car stereo or home entertainment systems.