IACT has had a super successful 2016. Meet some of their best!
Most entrepreneurs start with one great lightbulb idea and chip away at it slowly until they make it into a business. Gulmohar (affectionally known as just ‘G’) followed quite a different path. G first made her appearance in the entrepreneur world as part of the ANU College of Engineering Internship Program. For six months, G interned with fellow Entry 29 member and entrepreneur, Tom Watkins on his business ‘CoachLive’. Having studied electronics systems engineering at the ANU, G threw herself into the project – working on the hardware, design testing, and electronics before finishing her internship with Tom on a trip to Melbourne to test the design and meet with investors. Taking every opportunity to grow her knowledge in general business and how start-ups work, she finished her internship at the end of 2016.
Mid 2016, she also joined the Innovation ACT (IACT) program with the aim of learning more and applying what she can to her internship. However, while she was taking part in the meetings, seminars, lectures, and classes, G joined a group of fellow IACT members to work on a startup idea.
They figured out each other’s interests, passions, and skills to put together a business idea that not only catered to their own individual interests but one that they could take through the IACT program. The idea they formed evolved into Polayas – a company specializing in software development, licensing, and integration for governments across Australia.
The team pushed through with the idea, using what they learned from the IACT courses and applied them to grow Polayas. G said that going through IACT allowed her to talk to people, make new contacts and get a range of opinions from people in the ACT government to explore further opportunities. The ACT Government is able to cater for the emerging Canberra startup community using the SBIP program that small entrepreneurs like G can benefit from.
Time and other commitments saw the team drop off a few members, but G stayed right through to the end of the IACT program, and even though she missed out on the final IACT scholarship, she was successful in getting a scholarship placement at Entry 29. G now works out of Entry 29 in her team of one, playing and learning through her start-up. She is currently working on the sales for a ‘Voice Biometric’ based security software which is keeping her very busy.
Being surrounded by other new start-ups with like-minded, skilled and motivated people has encouraged G to pursue her startup dreams and see where it takes her. G plans to return to ANU this semester to complete her engineering degree and will continue to work on this project part-time, but as long as she can still “keep learning things, meeting people and making connections”, G is in a happy place!