// Last week marked one of the biggest events in the startup calendar for WA pre-seed incubator, Bloom.
Based out of St Catherine’s College at UWA, Bloom has found its mark as the catalyst for early starters in the Perth ecosystem.
Their recent ‘Founder’s Showcase’ marked the end of an extraordinary 12-week journey for thirty young founders, with eight of them presenting their solutions to some of the world’s prickliest problems.
“The work these students have done over 3 months is truly extraordinary. I wish this unit existed when I was at university” – Showcase audience member.
The showcase kicked off with some inspiring words from Iain McIntyre, from Humm Tech, a previous participant in the Launchpad program, now located in Silicon Valley.
“This is not a pitch night. Tonight, you will not see a judging panel, business models for the sake of business models, and the classic ‘hockey stick’ metrics ‘going up and to the right’ for predicted revenue,” LaunchPad program manager Jasmin Ward told the audience.
“What the students do is a lot harder. They have to actually run a business, get customers and partnerships and be constantly testing their solutions,” she said. “And in our opinion, this is more impressive, and will help the students get closer to building better and stronger businesses.”
The eight students who presented their respective problems included:
- Chris Dickson (Hello Initiative) – justice system inequality
- Anuki Jagodage – cross-cultural issues among second generation migrants
- Basandarah Dutta – sustainable investing
- Aarohanan Raguragavan (ATAR Lab) – ATAR preparation platform
- Laure Law-Lin (Green Spaces) – helping pollinators to thrive
- Gareth Shanthikumar (Man Up) – toxic masculinity
- Meisha Bull (Perth Clothing Swap) – improving an unsustainable fashion industry
- Carl Maiorana (Buyer Up) – real estate transaction inefficiencies
Honourable mentions also went out initiatives tackling problems in the mental health space, climate change, inequality and access to education.
The 2019 LaunchPad Program was run for two consecutive semesters and saw the largest cohort yet, with participant numbers tripling to thirty students since the program started three years ago.
Thanks go in large part to the New Industries X-Tend WA grant from the WA Government, which saw a new support facilitator, Jeoran Van Dalen, join the Bloom team.
This semester’s focus has been on purpose-driven entrepreneurship with founders being required to deep dive into problems, build resilience and go through many bouts of customer validation before setting on their final solutions.
This semester’s showcase has been a great testament to how far Bloom has come since its inception in 2013.
“It’s great to see Bloom helping early starters at the beginning of their startup journey – It’s clear Bloom has found its fit” – Showcase audience member.
For those interested in the program, which gains academic credits towards a degree while also assisting participants in starting their own business, applications are currently open: visit Launchpad.run for more information.
Photos: Felix King Photography.