30 October 2018: Winning judges over with their inventive, world-changing ideas, two start-up teams from the University of Canberra have just claimed their share of InnovationACT’s $50,000 grant pool.
The announcement was made at the annual InnovationACT Awards Night, at which five winning teams were selected from 70, all from tertiary institutions in Canberra.
The awards night was the culmination of a 10-week journey in which teams honed their ideas to a fine point.
Both PhD students at the University, Hayley Teasdale (Health) and David Hinwood (Robotics) of Team Equilibri have been working on a solution to reduce falls for people whose balance is impaired, such as Parkinson’s disease sufferers.
They’ve come up with an easily portable solution that can be used to retrain balance at home, and which is accessible to those in regional and remote areas.
“It’s so exciting, we were really emotional on the night ,” Ms Teasdale said.
“It means a lot that business leaders in our community believe in what we’re doing as much as we do.”
Team Equilibri swept $15,000 of the InnovationACT grant pool, and received a $5,000 branding prize from IACT Supporters, Mude.
“We’re planning to run a clinical trial out of UC, and will channel the grant money towards that,” Ms Teasdale said.
“The funding will help take us from having something cool, to hopefully being able to take it out to the world.”
Meanwhile, Anania Esayas, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Information Technology and a Bachelor of Media Arts & Production, teamed up with Saida Abdul (studying for a Bachelor of Architecture) to form Team Infro.
Team Infro, which received $8,750 from the grant pool, has come up with an automated cash register that enhances modern point of sale (POS) systems and provides added security and efficiency for businesses.
“With our machine, a cashier only handles the cash the customer gives them, and any change required,” Mr Esayas said.
“Employee theft is a serious problem, costing Australian businesses $1.5 billion a year,” Mr Esayas said. “Infro will save businesses time because there is no need to count cash.”
Team Infro will target the retail and hospitality industries, as well as event management and festivals.
“We will use the grant money to register our business and get our IP protection sorted,” he said, adding that they would start looking for investors in six months.
The University's Associate Vice President of Innovation Dr Victor Pantano, said that “The University is a strong supporter of innovation, encouraging students to trial their ideas through programs such as InnovationACT.
“We have developed a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture within UC and across Canberra, to assist all students who want to take their ideas forward.”
The other winning teams at InnovationACT were Civilise.ai, which is developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to maintain cities; OMNIA Protocol, a platform aimed at preserving data privacy; and Support a Star, which matches athletes with businesses that may want to sponsor them, looking at key values they may have in common.
The InnovationACT program is Canberra’s largest business planning competition, a collaboration between The Australian National University, the University of Canberra, IP Australia, the ACT Government and the Canberra Innovation Network.