Your ticket from Mildura to Silicon Valley!

Ambitious Sunraysians will have the opportunity to experience the innovative culture of Silicon Valley when La Trobe University holds a Hackathon on August 25 and 26.

La Trobe University has partnered with The Hacker Exchange to offer locals the chance to pitch their entrepreneurial idea and win themselves a funded trip, worth $7,500, to San Francisco.  Silicon Valley, located in the southern portion of the San Francisco bay area, is home to many of the world’s largest innovative tech corporations, such as Apple, Netflix, Google, Hewlett Packard and most infamously – Facebook!

Participants in the Hackathon (held on August 25 and 26) will pitch their idea to a panel of entrepreneurial coaches and mentors.  Alan Dee, Jeanette Cheah and Miguel Wood will be in Mildura to spend the weekend supporting participants and massaging their ideas into reality.

A Hackathon is explained as a multi-day event designed for enthusiastic people to come together to rapidly test and iterate their ideas for new products or services.  To further stimulate the minds of locals, La Trobe University is also holding an Ideation workshop on Friday 17 August.  This event is designed to extract world-changing ideas from participants and form them into concepts.  The Ideation workshop will be a great starting point for a passionate person looking to embark on their start-up journey.

Both events are initiatives out of the La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP) and open to anyone in the community.   LTAP is a free 12-week program dedicated to support, mentor and provide seed funding to regional start-ups.  Local entrepreneur, Mel Leeder of Mallee Naturals, completed the program in March and says the program gave her the practical tools and confidence to take her business to the next level.

Alan Dee, of Moonshot Works, will facilitate the Ideation workshop and Hackathon.  He is an expert in start-ups and innovation programs, having deliver Hackathons for NAB, News Corp and Fishburners.

“If you have enthusiasm and drive but don't have a formed concept for a product, business or social enterprise, an ideation workshop is for you! We’re looking for people from all types of background, if you’re a good problem solver, communicator, critical thinker, listener, coach, marketer, project manager or designer – these events are for you! At the workshop on August 17, we will go through a series of creative steps that will help you generate new ideas, and mould them into concepts that you can market validate by yourself or at the hackathon.

“For our Hackathon on August 25 and 26, anyone at any stage in their idea is welcome to attend. I run my hackathon’s quite fluidly, so people can move in and out over the weekend – however they will want to be there to pitch for the Silicon Valley trip on Sunday!

“With these events we’re hoping to contribute to building a strong, supportive start-up environment in the Mallee.  More start-ups thrive in this supportive environment – Silicon Valley is the most mature of these ecosystems globally, where successful entrepreneurs give back once they are successful through passing on knowledge or funds through Venture Capital funds.

“The start-up methodology is very different from how traditional business models operate. There are multiple success stories globally of regional areas that have been successful in attracting and growing start-up ecosystems. The most well-known case in point is Boulder, Colorado where Brad Feld and David Cohen (TechStars) have created the 5th largest venture capital investment centre in the United States.” Alan says.

Jeanette Cheah, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of The Hacker Exchange, will also be in Mildura to mentor Hackathon participants. The Hacker Exchange’s mission is to connect the next generation of Australian entrepreneurs to the innovation capitals of the world.

“The Hacker Exchange trip is an incredibly immersive experience. We spend two weeks in the heart of San Francisco, and you can really feel the energy, pace and scale of startups, which is so different to the laid-back Aussie vibe.

“I think the magic of the program is that we don't fly there and just sit in a classroom. We have amazing access to learn directly from experienced founders, venture capitalists, angel investors, engineers and innovators. We'll get amongst it, go to meetups, visit tech giants like Google, and have the chance to test our ideas with people who live and breathe start-ups every day. That kind of feedback is priceless and can help set early-stage entrepreneurs on the right path and get them thinking big,” Jeanette says.

Register now for our Ideation workshop on Friday 17 August and Hackathon on Saturday 25 August and Sunday 26 August. These events are open to anyone in the community who is passionate, enthusiastic and keen to collaborate.

Media enquiries
Ashlee Ryan, Advisor, Marketing & Engagement
T 0417 323 470
E a.ryan2@latrobe.edu.au

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