UTS Adopts A Culture Of Startups

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Today was a landmark day for the University of Technology, Sydney and foretells a landmark year in 2014 connecting UTS with tech and tech enabled startups.

Most of the $1.2b the university is investing in new facilities will also open in 2014 and include startups spaces.

After a year (and more) of success in developing and commercialising startups, the seeds of a startup revolution are being sown in this leading cradle of technology education for Sydney.

Led by a stellar cast of academics including –

  • Professor Hung Nguyen Dean of UTS:FEIT (Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology) and serial health entrepreneur
  • Professor Mary-Anne Williams Director of UTS:IERL (Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory) which includes the UTS Magic Lab an innovation and robotics centre and various other initiatives including the bid for the Federal Government funded National Big Data Centre of Excellence.
  • Dr Chris Drane of UTS:FEIT (serial entrepreneur and also co-founder of startup Seeker Wireless)

And attending by dozens of academics, support staff, advocates and startups from within and around the university including (a small sample only) –

  • John Haining – Deputy Director, Engagement of UTS:RIO (UTS Research and Innovation Office)
  • Dr Benjamin Johnston of UTS: QCIS (UTS Quantum Computing and Intelligent Systems) and the UTS Magic Lab home of the PR2 Robot.
  • Pete Ward of UTS:CAS (Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems) home of the sand blasting robots used on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and various specialised climbing robots.
  • Des Saunders of UTS:FEIT external engagement
  • Pete Cooper of SydStart (UTS Alumni and advisor)

Chris Drane shared his key insights from experience building multiple global startups and referred to key resources for entrepreneurs including the Steve Blank Udacity course on How to build a startup and his own personal experience in the US and other countries.

The group consensus on UTS being the most likely Australian University to emulate the US examples of Stanford, Berkeley and MIT as major startup nurturers appears high.

The presentation today by Chris Drane also served as a wrap up to a series on entrepreneurship run across UTS and capped off a series of initiatives for the year which are boding well for UTS in the lead up to a huge 2014 because a large range of initiatives are being planned.

Other initiatives in UTS that are contributing to the culture of startups are being championed by the UTS Business School and are led by –

  • Professor Roy Green, Dean of UTS:Business (The UTS Business School, Faculty of Business) and a world renowned expert on productivity.
  • Gauri Bhalla, Director of the Dean’s Unit at UTS:Business
  • Kate McKenzie, External Engagement Manager, UTS:Business
  • Kate Meagher, Government Relations Adviser, UTS:Business

The UTS Union (Student Association) also recently held a startup weekend called UTS Project Pitch which was held in conjunction with ACES UTS and the entrepreneurship society, it was led and facilitated by –

  • Clare Giles – Alumni Relations at UTS:Business
  • Laura Earl – Social Clubs  & Programs Manager – UTS:Union
  • David Band – Program Director Entrepreneurship – UTS:Business
  • Jason Lee – VP of ACES UTS
  • Des Saunders (as above)
  • Matthew Ho (UTS Alumni and advisor)
  • Pete Cooper (as above)

The weekend was well supported by judges and mentors from industry and opened by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of UTS Professor Shirley Alexander.

Startups from the weekend ranged from space satellites to consumer marketplace discovery and optimisation tools to social innovation.

UTS is located in a sprawling city campus unique to Sydney as far as technology centric universities go, the precinct is going to be home to the new creative industries precinct and spread between the main tower and the Business campus is the bustling Silicon St. of Sydney.

We are launching a page here on SydStart to flag our ongoing support for the aspirational vision to develop a massive startup ecosystem with thousands of startups around UTS in the coming years, so check out UTS:START.

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