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Australian eChallenge: Making Ideas Fly

The Australian eChallenge is a competition based learning experience that develops strategic business thinking for early-stage entrepreneurial ventures. Participants pitch their venture concepts to potential investors from the local business community.
Teams compete for prizes and the prestige of being nominated the most outstanding Australian eChallenge entrepreneurial venture of the year.

Overall, this program teaches you how to evaluation your idea from different perspectives and find out if it’s a viable business idea. Here’s a few things we learnt from this course:

  • Necessity is the mother of invention: Try to find solutions for existing problems: whether it’s a problem of the world, an industry or of your own.
  • Startups fails due to a number of reasons like: having no market need, poor marketing, running out of cash, not scaling, wrong business model, poor product, poor team/investors, lack of focus, getting out-competed, and having 3rd party dependence.
  • Market is the most important factor in a starup’s success or failure” Marc Andreesen
  • Talk and Listen to users. Observe the habits of users.
  • The key ingredient in succeeding in your idea is energy, commitment, and execution
  • Write a business plan by answering question like:
    • What problem are you trying to solve?
    • What assumptions have you made?
    • What is the target market and potential customers? What is the market size?
    • Who are your competitors and what is your competitive advantage to them?
    • What is your customer acquisition strategy? How would you get customers?
    • How would customers be using your system?
    • What is your business model?
    • What is your minimum viable product?
    • What technologies you would use?
    • What are your major costs?
    • What is your development budget and timeline?
    • What is your financial forecast and sales estimates?
    • What are your distribution channels? e.g. retailers, online?
    • What are the skills of your team and what skill are you missing?
    • What’s your motivation for your idea?
    • How to pitch and explain your idea quickly?
  • Useful Books for Entrepreneurs:
    • Why success Always starts with Failure by Tim Harford
    • The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley. The key to success is to do things that give you new evidence, Evidence is what allows you to make better decisions.
    • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration and customer insight. The value hypothesis tests whether a product or service really delivers value to customers once they are using it. If customers won’t sign up for the free trial, they’ll never get to experience the amazing features that await them.
    • The four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank, is one of the most influential and practical business books of all time.
    • Design creation of Artifacts in Society by Karl T. Ulrich
  • You can watch some of the course materials in the Australia eChallenge youtube channel.

The Australian eChallenge Competition and the Award Party

There were several streams to enter your idea including: Social Enterprises, Climate change, Tertiary, Cyber security, Medical innovation, and Research Commercialisation. There were many sponsors and awards for different categories.

Australian eChallenge competition streams

Watch a 30 sec overview of each participant in the Australian eChallenge 2017 Competition, the tertiary stream:

The winners of the tertiary competition are:

1st – Communitilink (Tom Welsby, Josh Marcus, Aaron Smedley) – A new way of assisting high density community living which allows members to share information about where they live. It provides tools for building managers to communicate immediately and effectively with on- and off- site members. Also provides a platform that allows these members to engage with one another, share stories, sell items, book venues, support the local coffee shop and share a ride.

2nd – The Blackwatch academy – (Elise Gordon, Nicola Gordon)- Seeks to connect alumni graduates with current year 10 to 12 high school students to provide a tutoring service which bypasses a theoretical focus, and shapes the well-being of both the tutor and tutee.

3rd – Polygloss (Lana Toogood, Benjamin Lim) – The camera for language learning. A mobile app that takes an image of an object or place and uses AI to identify and translate the label of the image into the desired language of the user.

See this link for more information about all the winners.

Polygloss takes an image of an object and translate it into the desired language

We also participated in the Tertiary eChallenge competition with the BuildOptz idea, which is about creating a cloud-based solution for builders and tradespeople to connect and collaborate efficiently. We won the Business Propel Award.

The Australia eChallenge business propel award to the BuildOptz team

About Mohammad

Dr Mohammad Khazab completed his Ph.D. in Computer Systems Engineering (Artificial Intelligence) at the University of South Australia in 2011. He has worked as Senior Software Engineer, Web Developer, and Research Associate on various projects. Currently he works at Schneider Electric on the design and development of new software solutions for smart devices used for home automation and Internet of Things. He's also been working on enterprise software for supply chain network simulation and optimisation, advanced planning and scheduling. In his spare times, In his spare times, he works on creating websites and mobile applications (Web2day Design), researching and writing about cutting-edge technologies in this blog. He has ambitions to solve real-world problems, and to use his knowledge and skills to develop useful applications.

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