Curtin University’s Ignition Program is Simply Amazing!
- Curtin University – Curtin University is Western Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse university with Australia’s third largest international student population. Ignition is an intensive training program for aspiring entrepreneurs, academics and corporate innovators to trial and then prepare business ideas for the commercial environment!
- The City of Canning – The City of Canning is a local government area in the southeastern suburbs of the Western Australian
- Quipmo – Equipment for the Moment! – launched in Perth in Feb 2017 is the surf, bike and snow peer to peer gear rental marketplace for like-minded travellers and locals who share a passion for adventure!
- Connecting people with great gear for adventures is about to become a whole lot easier!
“the program exceeded our expectations on every level!
After Quipmo was accepted into Curtin University’s Ignition program on full scholarship from the City of Canning we were incredibly excited and held high hopes. The program however exceeded our expectations on every level!
Each day was jam packed! Starting on the Sunday, then kicking off well before 8am and working well in to the evening, every day was filled with back to back presentations from truly top tier speakers who each clearly cared about the success the participants. Happy to take questions, happy to share guidance, happy to talk of both their triumphs and challenges – to be in the presence of the some of smartest minds in the game who were so very generous with their time and counsel was nothing shy of a privilege.
The week was full of studying business model canvasses, value canvasses, sales, marketing, digital strategy, finance, operations, capital raising and every other part of startup life, and come each afternoon we would then break out into small groups to work with our mentors. I had the absolute pleasure of being mentored by the incredibly wise Charlie Gunningham with facilitator Vicki Hodgson also offering fantastically invaluable advice and support! Amazing guidance, counsel, wisdom, tutelage and feedback all of which has helped to substantially polish Quipmo’s strategy and service offering. I was also incredibly fortunate to be in mentor group full of wonderful, capable, and supportive founders that I had the pleasure from learning from and whom I now call friends.
The opportunity to learn from the best in the business, and to share our journey with other amazing startups was a game changer!
In the blink of an eye it was Friday … and the business end of the week! Pitch Day!! Each founder was required to set up and man an exhibition style display, and then had time locked away to individually speak to to three ‘Clinicians’ – captains of industry who we could simply chat with and seek counsel from. I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Geoff Pritchard, David Cornell, and Andrew Larsen. Being able to seek their wisdom, hear of their experiences, and seek their counsel on how Quipmo can continue to build upon our successes to date was amazing. Perhaps most cherished however was not simply the quality of their expert guidance, but rather that they genuinely wanted to help. This latter point summed up the whole program – every single person I had the opportunity of engaging with was so very generous with their time, ideas and expertise. The whole experience was just … positive!
Things in the afternoon started to get a bit more serious for it was – pitch time!! A ten minute pitch to a panel of four followed by ten minutes of Q&A!!
I was scheduled in to pitch to one panel but with a gap in proceedings a little later in the afternoon I put my hand up to pitch for a second time – clearly I’m a glutton for punishment!! But as someone who doesn’t love public speaking there’s only one way to improve and that’s with practise.
So first off I had the pleasure of pitching Quipmo to what can only be described as a truly heavyweight panel! Andrew Larsen, Michael Malone, Stefan Ammann, and Terry Agnew!! Despite my nerves, I put my best foot forward and did my best … but my trepidation was misplaced for the panel were kind, interested, and encouraging! Unsurprisingly, fantastic questions, pertinent observations, and astute comments offered to help my efforts! More goodwill and more generosity of spirit from amazingly capable and successful people!
Second up, another truly amazing panel!! Adrian Huber, Peter Clarke, Tamryn Barker, and Trent Wheeler were again – it was my pleasure to pitch to! My pitch was followed by fantastic questions, great comments, and wonderful suggestions for things that I can do to enhance Quipmo’s chances for great success!
The evening was to be filled with the top three pitches from the day selected to pitch in front of the entire cohort, along with the amazing team of people who pulled or supported the program, Curtin University representatives, and a wide range of supporters and participants in Perth’s fantastic startup ecosystem! No one had any idea who would be pitching in front of the 200 + crowd … for another ten minute pitch followed by Q&A … until phone calls to each about 10 mins prior to the event start! 10 mins prior …. I received a call and was advised that I was one of the three! Blown away / excited / nervous – all at once!!
First up was Professor Joost Lesterhuis, founder of ImmuMat, who heads a research team developing a treatment which uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells post surgery!! An amazing innovation and an amazing pitch! There wouldn’t have been a person in the room who hasn’t seen a loved one negatively touched by cancer and to hear and learn of ImmuMat’s potential was simply inspiring!!
If you’re able help Joost with IP, regulatory framework navigation and/or business planning, be sure to reach out!
Second up was Sanchia Tolomei pitching Porze https://www.porze.com.au who take waste products and turn them into products customers love! We learned that Australia consumes some 180,000 tonnes of coffee grounds per year with 93% of those ending up in landfill. Porze uses these waste coffee grounds as a key ingredient in their highly innovative beauty products. Waste to an everyday mass market family consumable!! A fantastically warm and genuine pitch and a startup that has truly massive potential!!
If you’re able to help Sanchia with marketing advice, mentoring, research and contacts be sure to get in touch!
It was then my turn … and in short, it was my honour to be talking about Quipmo in a room full of people whom I respect, whom I had the opportunity to learn from, and many of whom I will now call friends. Curtin Ignition really was that powerful, that positive, and that meaningful for me.
A huge thank you!!
There are certainly a number of thank yous to be given for such an amazing experience, and the City of Canning again needs to be commended for affording me and three other participants the opportunity to participate in Ignition! Furthermore, the City simply went above and beyond, for the City’s representatives Joy Mickleson and Boris Wong were a constant source of support and help. I simply cannot thank the City, Joy and Boris enough, for this experience was amazing!
In a program that was simply outstanding it’s always going to be tough to define the most amazing thing. Perhaps for me though, what stands out most was simply how the program was run. A truly faultless program in terms of logistics and organisation. To run such an intensive program, with some 60 odd students coupled with dozens of contributors and experts, then with a 200+ person event in a truly seamless fashion can only mean that a gargantuan effort has gone in behind the scenes. I quite candidly cannot commend the efforts of Dannelle Cross, Nicole Gaitan, Brittney O’Neil, and Subra Ananthram highly enough. This program’s delivery was exceptional by any measure and is a credit to these four along with Curtin University!
If you ever have the opportunity to participate or support this program in future, please do, for it really is a game changer for people trying to, in their own way, make a positive difference in this world.
Have you got gear …
If you’ve got gear be sure to get it up on Quipmo and let’s make someone’s adventure today!
Chris and the Quipmo team!