Friday, 11 September 2020

This year the UWA Student Guild launched Venture , their new Student Innovation Centre, which promotes student enterprise and equips students with the skills to future-proof their careers.

The world that UWA’s current students are stepping into is changing at a more rapid pace than ever before. If they’re to keep up with the tectonic shifts brought on by automation and AI, innovation and enterprise skills are no longer optional.

In partnership with the UWA Business School student club Enactus UWA and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Venture recently hosted the inaugural Grand Challenges Hackathon. This 48-hour event was a spectacular showcase of student ingenuity. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to demonstrate how they would apply what they’ve learned at UWA in the real world. The grand prize of $1,000 ensured competitors were focused on developing and pitching the most sustainable and impactful startup.

The startups students pitched needed to address one of our University’s two Grand Challenges: How do we build a more equitable world post-COVID-19 , and How do we address the generational challenge of climate change? Given such an ambitious scope, students were asked to consider a niche and develop a fit-for-purpose startup or product that was truly effective in some way.

The slide decks were submitted, and early the following week the teams reconvened at the UWA Tavern to pitch their startups live to a panel of experienced industry judges. The presentations were all phenomenal, and the judges struggled to determine the winning team. It was a huge testament to the creative strengths of UWA students.

Students Raymond Wang and Seb Hasleby won the $1,000 for their innovative take on addressing inequities faced by single parents, with the smart personal finance app Rainy Day.

The other stand-out presentations included a volunteer organisation and recruitment app called Voluntree, which tracked volunteering hours and tied them to tree planting; a SaaS food-waste management program, an innovative work-integrated-learning platform; and a machine learning program that matched homeless people with vacant or available homes.

The event was a great success: it showcased the impressive talents of UWA’s students and gave them a hands-on experience of pitching to the enterprises they’ll one day be working for.

Venture is thrilled to continue to work with UWA and Enactus UWA to address the Grand Challenges and support student-led projects.

Luke Thomas
General Secretary
UWA Student Guild


Education Quarterly