UNSW creates IT startup incubator


news The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has announced the launch of what it describes as its Venture Incubator Space under the auspices of the university’s School of Computer Science and Engineering. The Venture Incubator Space will be functional from early 2012 and is meant to help IT students turn their innovative ideas into commercial products, with help from venture capitalists.

As part of this initiative, computer science students at UNSW will be able to access the university’s business incubator free of charge—for six months and up to another 12 months at heavily subsidised rates. Additionally, the Venture Incubator Space will provide free Internet data services and comprehensive support from NewSouth Innovations—UNSW’s own commercialisation and knowledge exchange company.

Graham Morton, a business development executive at NewSouth Innovations, says that the company is fully committed to connecting students’ ideas and venture capitalists who are always on the lookout for the next big idea.

Maurice Pagnucco, Associate Professor and Head of the School of Computer Science and Engineering, said that above all else, the business incubator program is aimed at facilitating “exciting ideas that have the potential to be turned into viable commercial software products.” The overall objective, according to Pagnucco, is to encourage an entrepreneurial zeal among students.

The university seeks to inspire students by making it possible for them to work with motivated and passionate colleagues in a productive environment that nurtures innovation. Towards this end, students will also get to retain intellectual property rights of any product, service or business model they develop while using the incubator program.

The launch of the incubator space is expected to further boost the research track record of UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering. In 2010, the Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the school as the best computer science school in Australia. It was also ranked first by the Australian Research Council in world class IT research in 2011. It’s no wonder then that Mark Gauci, Director of Business Development and Faculty of Engineering at UNSW, believes that the School of Computer Science and Engineering is the perfect place to house the Venture Incubator Space.

The launch of the business incubator initiative will also benefit from the list of alumni of the school. Dr. Ori Allon (developer of the Orion search engine and founder/CEO of Julpan), Sidnei Budiman (founder of Blipcom), Alex North (former Google engineer and product manager at Posse), Glen Coates (founder of Handshake), and Adam Brimo (founder of Vodafail and Mijura) are just some of the school’s former students that have successfully taken their ideas beyond the classroom. The ability to network with these alumni as well as venture capitalists is expected to serve as a huge incentive for students to test their ideas in the ‘real world’ of IT start-ups.

Image credit: UNSW, Wikimedia Commons