This year saw La Trobe launch a new student and alumni innovation and entrepreneurship program – the future-focused initiative feeding into the University’s broader entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting industry partners with the next generation of ambitious and innovative thinkers.
Designed to build the entrepreneurial and innovation mindset and skills of our students and recent alumni, Elevate initiatives are developed with the student journey in mind – participants progressing through three stages during the program; Explore, Ignite and Evolve.
Our La Trobe graduates are work-ready and the latest Employer Satisfaction Survey from the Federal Government, saw us receive an overall employer satisfaction rating of 88.1 from 2020 to 2022 – well above the national average of 84.8 per cent. Experiences embedded in industry and new programs like Elevate aim to cement our graduate reputation for being ‘career ready’.
Across 2023, we partnered with sector leaders Coles Group and Capgemini, and connected with La Trobe Alumni, to run hackathons, bootcamps, webinars – to give students real, industry-specific experience and challenges.
The Elevate program culminated with PitchFest: Showcase – where select participants took to the stage for a 'Shark Tank' style competition with $30,000 in seed funding up for grabs.
As the first year of Elevate comes to a close, who better to speak to the program’s success than a student who has ‘been there, done that’? Business student, Nathan Gatt sat down with La Trobe Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Jenny Bevis and shared his experience.
Nathan first became aware of innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities here at La Trobe, including Elevate, when promotions for the Capgemini Hackathon caught his eye.
The one-day hackathon enabled participants to learn and apply foundational entrepreneurial thinking and skills to a business problem provided by industry. Delivered with world-leading consultancy Capgemini, the hackathon required participants to work in teams to develop solutions using real data sets.
The program concluded with a pitching contest with three prizes: $2000 for the winning team and two $1000 prizes for the runners up.
It was a great experience and the “face-to-face delivery was amazing,” said Nathan.
Reflecting on his Elevate experience overall and how it prepared him for his future career, the highlights were easy to list off: Design- thinking, entrepreneurship mindset, working in groups, and meeting new people.
Additionally, the opportunities to connect with industry representatives during Elevate activities were invaluable.
“We could speak to them (industry professionals) in person about their lived experience. The coaches were amazing, (and it was helpful) to receive their perspective and individual feedback,” said Nathan.
As well as access to industry figures and networking, Elevate exposed Nathan and fellow participants to new resources, experiences outside of the classroom, and new ways of thinking and learning. Regardless of a student’s area of study and year level, Nathan sees Elevate as a great opportunity to:
- Meet like-minded people
- Learn first-hand from entrepreneurs from a variety of sectors
- Apply new skillsets and think ‘outside the box’
- Collaborate with a diverse group of people
- Learn about different communication styles.
However, if he had to choose a favourite activity, it would be the Bootcamp. “It was an intensive experience in a short period of time. We had access to a variety of coaches and the majority was face-to-face engagement”.
So, for those students and recent alumni still on the fence about getting involved in Elevate in 2024 – Nathan’s advice? “Just do it, have fun, and don’t hold back.”