Cash and support for innovators

A team of engineering students and their lecturer are encouraging fellow entrepreneurs to discover the LaunchVic-funded Accelerator Program.

Students Tyson Chan, Jacky Cai, Francis Chen and Bendigo-based academic Dr Ka Ching Chan were successful in the program’s first intake with their start-up business Binnovation.

La Trobe University received $1 million last year to help deliver the program, which rewards promising start-ups with up to $20,000, plus access to professional mentors, workspaces and workshops.

Tyson Chan said the Binnovation team had already benefited from the mentorship and planned to use the funds to develop a second prototype of their product.
“The ultimate vision of Binnovation is to develop artificially intelligent robots capable of automating the waste sorting process and potentially disrupting the current industry,” Tyson said.

“The smart cities of tomorrow will gain the ability to autonomously sort their own waste to a high degree of accuracy and effectiveness.”

The product began as a thesis project to tackle the growing global problem of waste management.

The team will be on hand to meet other business owners hoping to benefit from the Accelerator Program at an information session on the La Trobe Bendigo Campus on November 2.

“The Accelerator Program is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and learn real skills as an entrepreneur,” Tyson said.

“If you apply yourself, there is literally no limit to what you can achieve. For us, it represented a means to realise our vision. And with the offer of equity-free funding and mentorship for the development of a viable product and business, this was simply too good an opportunity to miss.”

Tyson said although it may be two years before Binnovation was on the market, the Accelerator Program had already helped fast track its development.

He encouraged others with a great idea to come along to the La Trobe event, network with local businesses, hear the teams present their start-up ideas and participant experiences and find out how to apply for the summer intake.

The Accelerator Program information session is at the Flora Hill Campus on Thursday, 2 November at 12.30pm. More details.