The University of NSW is to launch an on-campus incubator for entrepreneurial students, offering them rent-free access to the facility for up to six months.
The Venture Incubator Space will open in early 2012, with the aim of taking students from the lecture halls to the “savvy world of IT start-ups.”
Past, present and future students will be able to use the incubator to network with other entrepreneurs, commercialise their ideas and liaise with venture capitalists.
The incubator will play host to between four and eight student-run ventures at a time. A year-long lease will be free for the first six months, with subsidised rates for the remaining period.
As well as office space and internet services, the students will also gain support and advice from NewSouth Innovations – UNSW’s commercialisation arm.
Budding entrepreneurs will retain ownership of intellectual property procured while at the incubator.
UNSW alumni include former PhD student Ori Allon, who developed the Orion search engine. He subsequently sold the business to Google, going on to create another business, Julpan, which was acquired by Twitter.
“We will offer start-ups continuing advice on deal structuring, and make important introductions to venture capitalists,” says Graham Morton, a business development officer with NewSouth Innovations.
“If we develop this model and market it effectively other students will see there’s a real conduit for becoming an entrepreneur after graduation,” said Morton.