Starting Up

 

UOW strives at assisting students to create start-ups on campus. Follow the guide to see what we have to offer.

 

Identifying the market need

Entrepreneurs aim at solving problems and getting rewarded for it. So your first action should be to seek a problems that people are facing, and finding a marketable solution to it (unless you are in the non-for-profit type of business, you want to sell that solution). Look around you, observe people’s behaviour, and ask questions. A winning idea can strike at any moment, but it does help to be proactive about it.

How can we help: UOW Library and the internet are great sources of knowledge.

 

The business plan

Now you have your idea, it is time to organise your thoughts. No need to go after a 100-pages document, a simple plan on a A4 page should be enough at this stage. Overall, you will need to answer the following questions:

  • What is your business about? (or elevator pitch)
  • What problem are you solving? And how?
  • How do you intend to make money?
  • How will you achieve your project?
  • What help can you get?
  • What are the challenges?
  • How will you I market my product?
  • What is my exit strategy?

How can we help: UOW offers various business classes where you can learn the skills of writing a business plan. We also recommend checking out the following one-page business plan http://100startup.com/resources/business-plan.pdf

 

Building a team

Creating a start-up is hardly a one-man job. Most often, you will need to team up with other members with whom you have complementary skills and a similar vision. Working on a start-up is a full-time job, and you’d better team up with people you are having fun working with.

How can we help: The eClub organise “The Social” event every three weeks downtown in Wollongong. This is the occasion to share your ideas with fellow entrepreneurs and find potential partners. The eClub is also a good place to start looking for sourcing talents to help you out, or simply advertise your job on one of the many Uni boards around campus.

 

Finding an office

Nothing prevents you from working from home, and you certainly will, but finding a desk and an internet connect will most likely increase your productivity.

How can we help: Try out the library or Unicentre, with quiet meeting rooms. Alternatively, UOW StartPad offers drop-out desks for a fair price.

 

Establishing key partnering

Establishing the right partnering can make or break a business. You will need to talk to the right person to get your business to move forward, or simply source the right supplier. In any case, doing some research and networking are the two ways to make it happen.

How can we help:The Social” is a good place to network with business minded people. If you are more looking into Business to Business relations, contact the eClub directly, as we established strong relationships with key players in the region.

 

Funding

Creating a start-up relies almost exclusively on the owner and family’s savings and bootstrapping. There is very little chance that any investor will hand you money without seeing your product or any sale traction, so you will need to work around the clock for the first few months and adopt a pasta diet.

How can we help: UOW offers different ways to raise money for your startup.

  • UOW Pitch: this competition, open to UOW students and staff, allows you to pitch your business idea to a panel and ultimately cash prizes up to $5,000.
  • UOW Plate: Open to everybody, this is your chance to join StartPad and receive mentorship, connections and possibly investments from a network of investors.
  • Crowdfunding: if you have a strong project, it is worth looking at crowdfunding platforms such as Pozible. The eClub established strong relationships with Pozible and can give you a hand on moving forward.

 

Creating an MVP

An MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is simply a prototype that you will present to potential investors and a selection of customers. It doesn’t necessarily need to be perfect, but it should be advanced enough to present the main features of your product so you will be able to get feedback to improve it.

How can we help: UOW has several facilities such as labs, rooms and support to offer. Contact the department that is most likely to give you a hand, and see how they can assist you. Alternatively, contact the eClub for further assistance.

 

Testing the product

This is the step when you test your business idea and product in real life. Are customers keen on buying the product? Is your product getting good traction, or is it very slow to sell?

How can we help: UOW students are a great source of testing customers. Contact Unicentre to book a stall on campus, and start interacting with students to see how your products are getting traction.

 

What’s next?

If your product is getting traction, investors are interested and you are now running day-to-day operations, you made it! You should now focus on expanding your business and adding features to your products that customers will value. If traction is too slow, sales limited and investors are running away, it is time to consider going back to step 2 (and possibly step 1 if you misread the market). But don’t give up, it takes a lot of tries to get a business right.

How can we help: iAccelerate Start is the perfect place to get your business to the next stage. Contact the iAccelerate Team directly to see how they can assist you with their resources and connections.