Institutional education can significantly enhance individual’s capacity and mindset towards entrepreneurial thinking. One might argue that education is not an essential box to tick if someone wants to become an entrepreneur. And there are countless legendary stories of college drop-out turned successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell and the list goes on!
There is no denial that entrepreneurial spirit, persistence, ability to hustle, working one’s butt off – are all inherent traits and one doesn’t require a university degree to obtain these skills. Positive environment, life experience, street knowledge, company of like-minded people – can all incentivise the growth of entrepreneurial mind-set and transform an individual to become a successful entrepreneur. If we read the biography of all those who were able to walk along the treacherous path of entrepreneurial journey and reach to the peak of glory this becomes more evident.
But it is also important to acknowledge that being an entrepreneur require specialised knowledge into a chosen field. And not everyone would be surrounded by those opportunities and capacity to self-train themselves like Nick D’Aloisio the founder of Summly, a mobile app which automatically summarises news articles and other material, acquired by Yahoo for $30M – he learnt coding from his father’s computer and without having any institutional knowledge. Formal education can greatly assist individuals to learn theories, critical thinking skill, team-work, building networks and countless other benefits.
Australia has always been considered one of the best locations when it comes to higher education. A number of Australian universities sit among the top-ranked higher education institutions of the world. Some of the Australian universities have established significant startup and entrepreneurial cultures although may not be as comprehensive as Harvard, MIT or Stanford. Bare in mind that Australia has some homegrown unicorn start-ups of the world like Canva, Airwallex and Atlassian. Credit to Australia’s practice-focused education and early-stage launchpad to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. So here are some institutions from where you can study entrepreneurship and also build great connections with incubators, VCs and a range of other funding opportunities.
University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne is ranked number one among Australian universities and 31 in the world. It has over 160 years rich history of distinctive contributions to society and attracted the best and brightest students and researchers by bringing together the world’s best minds to solve globally significant problems. To foster an entrepreneurial eco-system, University of Melbourne has formed Melbourne Entrepreneurial Centre – a gateway to the entrepreneurial opportunities available within the University for students, alumni and the general public including Pitch nights, hackathons, masterclasses, workshops and programs. Some of the initiatives by MEC are –
Melbourne Accelerator Program
MAP offers its flagship 5-month Accelerator starting in June each year in addition to its early-stage founder Velocity Program, Female Founder program, the Franklins, and popular public Masterclass series. MAP also offers a range of additional programs and events to the broader start-up ecosystem, including the Velocity Program (a part-time program for early-stage founders), the Franklins (a female-founders network), the Master Class series and a range of signature events including Australia’s premier entrepreneurial event; the Melbourne Entrepreneurship Gala. Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) has supported over 100 start-ups, who have raised over $70 million in funding, generated over $98 million in revenue, and created over 1000 new jobs. Click here to find more about MAP.
Translating Research at Melbourne (TRAM)
TRAM is Australia’s premier university-based research impact accelerator. TRAM runs a comprehensive suite of four programs that enable researchers to have greater impact with their research. TRAM can help budding entrepreneurs understand the target market, assess the viability of commercialisation opportunities and successfully bring them to market. Click here to find more about TRAM.
Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship
Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship is a leading hub for entrepreneurial training delivering a range of programs to help students learn, create and connect. With over 250 alumni, Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship is a place to go further faster by learning from experts and entrepreneurs. The Institute is the home of the University of Melbourne’s Master of Entrepreneurship as well as programs, events and custom masterclasses. Click here to find more about Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship.
University of Sydney
The next one in the list is University of Sydney which competes with University of Melbourne time to time to climb on the top of the list among Australian universities. It the very first and oldest university in Australia. It is also ranked among the top 50 universities in the world. With many specialisations, the University of Sydney enables students to engage in interdisciplinary innovation activities and programs, equipping them with the skills needed to accelerate their ideas, career, or research. University of Sydney also promotes the spirit of entrepreneurship through offering specialised courses in various branches of entrepreneurship education and practical opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. Here are some initiatives from University of Sydney to kick start an entrepreneurial journey while receiving great quality education –
The Innovation Hub
The Innovation Hub supports entrepreneurship and innovation at The University of Sydney by providing opportunities for all students to learn about innovative processes and gain critical thinking and design skills required for thriving in the future workforce. Through online and in-person events, the Innovation Hub provides students with the opportunity to connect with a diverse, likeminded community, skilled in creative thinking and innovation. Whether students want to work with an industry partner on a project for credit, prototype a product or accelerate their start-up idea, the Innovation Hub provides them with information and support.
INCUBATE is the multi award-winning startup program that promotes entrepreneurship within the University of Sydney community, with multiple programs supporting budding entrepreneurs at any stage of their entrepreneurship journey. Generate ideas and early-stage startup skills in the Proto and ProtoX workshops or apply for the next award-winning INCUBATE Accelerator program, which launches start-ups into the ecosystem with industry mentoring, connections, and seed funding. Click here to find out more at INCUBATE.
The Genesis program
The Genesis program supports the most promising existing start-ups through mentoring from experts, assistance with media exposure, and a final award of $25,000. Genesis runs each semester and is open to any start-up that has at least one founder that is a University of Sydney staff, student, or alumni. Since launching in 2008, Genesis has supported more than 1,000 University of Sydney alumni, students and staff to accelerate their commercial and social enterprises. At the beginning of 2020, there were around 200 start-ups actively engaged in the Genesis program. Click here to find more about Genesis program.
An innovative and supportive space for students to connect, learn and share technology innovations for the classroom or research lab throughout semester. TechLab caters to student prototyping needs with 3D printers and virtual reality technology and can provide expert advice on software and coding challenges, robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as many other tech topics. Click here to find more about TechLab.
ThinkSpace and CreateSpace
ThinkSpace and CreateSpace are part of University of Sydney’s Technology spaces. These places offer Technology-driven, creative play-spaces that provide budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to collaborate, design and create interesting things using new technologies, such as 3D printing, CNC carving, audio and video studios and virtual reality. Click here to find more about.
The Sydney Knowledge Hub
The Sydney Knowledge Hub is a coworking space for innovative startups, non-profits, and corporates seeking to collaborate with the researchers, students, and facilities at the University of Sydney. Members of the Sydney Knowledge Hub have access to a modern coworking space in the heart of campus and to a rich array of community programming and events in one of our many event spaces. Click here to find more about the Sydney Knowledge Hub.
Next in the list is UNSW, another giant institution whose excellence has spread nationally and internationally with its world-class curriculum and cutting-edge research. UNSW is part of the group eight universities, UNSW ranks 44th in the 2021 QS World University Rankings, 67th in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UNSW’s premium business school AGSM is in the top 100 global MBA programs according to the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2020. UNSW is also recognised as the #1 institution attended by Australian start-up founders. UNSW also boosts the entrepreneurial spirit of students and budding entrepreneurs through several amazing initiatives –
Founders 10x is UNSW’s flagship industry agnostic accelerator, tailored for high-potential tech enabled startups who are founded by current UNSW students, staff or alumni. The 10x accelerator program is specifically designed to get founders investment ready and see this as their most suitable growth strategy. Click here to find more information about 10x accelerator.
UNSW Founders and The George Institute for Global Health have partnered to deliver a unique national program accelerating the business growth of start-ups developing affordable and scalable solutions for major health challenges, particularly the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injury in underserved populations. Click here to find more information about Health 10x
Founders new wave
The Founders New Wave program addresses the under-representation of women in entrepreneurship by empowering UNSW students, staff or alumni who identify as women to launch startups. Click here to explore more about Founders New Wave program.
Apart from the above tycoons of higher education and research which also greatly boosts entrepreneurial spirit, there are several other institutions which is doing very well to promote entrepreneurial spirit by extending their education to practice orientation.
Macquarie university has an Incubator which is a thriving nexus for students, researchers, staff and the broader start-up and intrapreneur community to explore, develop and scale their ideas, with infinite potential for real-world impact Macquarie University Incubator’s vision is to create entrepreneurship programs that train and nurture innovation, and to support the growth and success of impactful solutions to the world’s problems. Click here to find more about this Incubator
University of Adelaide is also another giant university part of the group eight universities. They offer an international incubator program called – ThincLab to assists startups and SMEs launch into Europe or Asia via the ThincLab network of international incubators. The ThincLab International Incubator Program is a 6-week fully online program and will provide information and networks to investigate and test international expansion opportunities. This program is for Australian based start-ups and SMEs looking to explore opportunities to expand into Asia or Europe via ThincLab Singapore and ThincLab Chalons (France). Each cohort of ThincLab has 20 spots for prospective businesses willing to join the program. Click here to find more.
University of Queensland has an accelerator called ilab Accelerator which runs for three-months each year and offers a $10,000 equity-free funding to each team. The program also includes workshops, mentoring, an Entrepreneur in Residence, partner incentives, desk space and introductions to investors. Find more here.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
The QUT foundry is an initiative by Queensland University of Technology. The QUT foundry is QUT’s student-centred entrepreneurship initiative which offers an in-person and virtual community where students can find their tribe of entrepreneurial-minded thinkers from a vast array of experiences and skills. QUT foundry can provide students with experiences and connections, including – starter and advanced entrepreneur development programs, coaching with entrepreneurs-in-residence and networking and collaboration with like-minded people. Find more from here.