IT Invention Test returns with $50,000 prize pot

An impressive lineup of speakers will take to the stage at the 2012 Technology Entrepreneurship Forum, including Jerry Engel and Leni Mayo, while start-ups will vie for $50,000 in prizes.


Engel is the founder of the Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of California, Berkley, and is regarded as a leading global expert in venture capital and private equity transactions, while Mayo is one of the brains behind ventures such as 99designs and


The Technology Entrepreneurship Forum, hosted by ICT Geelong, will be held in Geelong on Thursday, November 1.


ICT Geelong, which is made of business leaders, aims to help entrepreneurs commercialise IT-based ideas, concepts, start-ups and early stage projects.


At the end of the forum, five start-ups will battle it out in the $50,000 IT Invention Test, presenting their pitches to an expert judging panel and the audience.


The best entries will share in $50,000 worth of prizes including cash, trips to the University of California, Berkley, and entrepreneurship boot camps and mentoring.


According to ICT Geelong manager Craig Hill, the format of the event is “pretty much the same” as that of previous events, although the start-ups participating in the invention test have received more preliminary support this year.


“We had about 60 entries. We had them shortlisted back to 20 and we had an investment pitching education day… From there, we shortlisted those 20 down to five,” Hill told StartupSmart.


“That’s one thing different – we provided a one-day pitching education day… We haven’t had that in the past but we wanted to provide a reward for those who made the effort [to enter].”


According to ICT Geelong chairman Robert Reed, the quality of entries for the invention test has “once again risen to a new benchmark”.


“It will be great to see what this year’s budding technology entrepreneurs are developing,” Reed said in a statement.


“Anyone with a passion for technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, investment and start-ups should come. There will be something for everyone.”


In addition to the $50,000 IT Invention Test, start-ups will hear from an impressive lineup of speakers including Engel and Mayo.


Other speakers include Blue Chilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslen, Adventure Capital’s Stuart Richardson and AngelCube’s Andrew Birt.


Reed said all of the keynote speakers have “been there and done that” with regard to technology entrepreneurship and the start-up space, both here and overseas.


“They want to share their successes and war stories with our business community, and show what it takes to create and monetise high-potential technology opportunities,” Reed said.


According to Reed, Geelong is beginning to earn a name for itself as an ICT innovation hub.


“Things are happening in Geelong right now in the area of technology entrepreneurship and commercialisation,” he said.


“Entrepreneurs are at the forefront of creating the knowledge-based jobs, and we are excited to be providing a platform for entrepreneurs to grow.”


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