Western Australia’s next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs now have help to get their ideas off the ground with the official launch of BloomLab, a collaboration between St Catherine’s College at The University of Western Australia and not-for-profit student organisation Bloom.
Bloom’s director and CEO, 21-year-old computer science and psychology student and St Cat’s resident, Mark Shelton, co-founded Bloom in 2013 to encourage students to start their own ventures in a culture of ‘Flearning’, or learning through failure.
Mark recognised the need for a dedicated space and BloomLab at St Cat’s was officially opened this week.
“We wanted a place where young people could come to create new start-ups, network with other young innovators and redefine our local economy with a more entrepreneurial culture,” said Mark. “Progress has been rapid!”
Ventures range from developing social discovery applications, to tech innovation, to selling custom-made bowties. One BloomLab venture, Automata recently took out first prize at the 54-hour ‘Unearthed Hackathon’ against stiff competition from across WA.
“The Automata team developed an innovative approach to signal processing to identify promising exploration opportunities in mineral sands, with the group in talks with Iluka Resources to develop their idea further,” Mark said.
Aside from providing infrastructure and mentoring services to young entrepreneurs, BloomLab also runs more than 35 workshop events per semester providing ‘Skills that Uni Won’t Teach You’.
“The workshops are designed to equip young people with the skill set to successfully develop a new business and as part of this we’ve partnered with UWA’s Innovation Quarter to build the UWA student and innovator community,” said Mark.
“IQ’s role is to help share the collaborative spirit by bringing BloomLab events onto campus and engaging more students through their respective faculties.”
Mark said he wants to change the way that success is framed for young West Australians.
We’re looking to solve problems which improve society, to find existing gaps and apply a different thinking,” he said. “The BloomLab will give Bloom a solid base at UWA as we look to expand our network between Perth’s universities.”
Caption: (LtoR) Magnus Hambleton (Director of Bloom), Mark Shelton (Founder and Director of Bloom), Fiona Crowe (Head of St Catherine’s College), the Hon Bill Marmion MLA (Minister for Finance, Mines and Petroleum) and Professor Lyn Beazley AO.