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Reflections - Australian French Entrepreneurship Challenge-2016

Student News
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 5:30pm
Simran Kaur
Simran Kaur (1st year PhD student with the Neurodevelopmental Genomics Research Group) was selected to take part in the inaugural Australian French Entrepreneurship Challenge 2016, an initiative of French and Australian government, education and industry to expose Australian PhD students to the key challenges of entrepreneurship. Here she shares her experience.

Originally based on the flagship event held in France since 2011, it was a unique national competition for participants to design an innovative start-up business venture while working continuously for 24 hours, exposing budding professionals to a whole new career path.

The challenge 

Participants were divided into eight teams by the organisers each with diverse skill set in personality as well as educational background with no previous acquaintances.  There were two rounds of pitching the developed business model in front of a jury of expert French and Australian businesses.

One member of the winning team would get a chance to travel to France to get hands on experience with the country’s innovative ecosystem and further build upon the network/ linkages which were initiated during the challenge. 

It was a massive challenge to combine the skills of team members and come up with an innovative idea which could be translated into a profitable business model. Learning was constant thoughout the challenge but the key lessons taken from this event were:

1. Innovation comes from a “need to fulfil” with a blend of future projection to make it profitable
2. Diversity in team is a challenge to overcome at first but over the time an optimum alignment of values and knowledge could result in creative ideas
3. Importance of teamwork with each member having a particular “defined” role
4. Business cannot stand without healthy networking
5. Need of a good strategy with a group leader to stay focused on the set goals
6. Constant hard work and motivation to accomplish the goal
7. Competition within team could result in more individual focused success rather than the whole business success

I would highly encourage all PhD students to experience such a challenge that could actually introduce them to their hidden strengths and capabilities.

Learn more about: Neurodevelopmental Genomics