Five Gold Coast students are revelling in an IT trip of a lifetime, including meetings and tours with Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and other technology powerhouses in San Francisco’s legendary Silicon Valley.
Lizzie King, Charles Nelson, Callum McColl, Anthony Guevara and Jack Lewis are students in Griffith University’s School of Information and Communication Technology and are among 20 young Queenslanders identified as having the potential to lead Australia’s next wave of global tech success.
The students were chosen after taking part in Startup Catalyst, a program devised by millionaire Australian tech entrepreneur, Mr Steve Baxter, and sponsored by his Brisbane-based non-profit organisation, River City Labs. The Griffith contingent is the largest within the travelling group.
As well as being granted access to the most iconic names in IT, the Gold Coasters will attend networking events with startup company founders, meet fellow Australians enjoying success in Silicon Valley, participate in educational events and will even bunker down for Startup Weekend, an intense 54-hour event featuring teams from more than 200 cities throughout the world.
Before departing for the US, the students agreed the 10-day experience would be invaluable, if also daunting.
“For anyone who wants to go and pursue start-ups, gaming, web development and so on, this really is the chance of a lifetime,” said Lizzie. “But this is Silicon Valley and the expectations are so high.”
“While there is a tendency to think their skills are so much better than ours, there are plenty of successful Australians operating in Silicon Valley and that’s inspiring,” said Charles.
“To be given access to groups like Google and Apple is a huge opportunity. After being immersed in the Silicon Valley experience, we can bring new knowledge and new skills home to Australia.”
The School of ICT’s Dr Jolon Faichney said the choice of five Griffith students for the Startup Catalyst program was a testament to their skills, practicality and project-oriented thinking, as well as to an entrepreneurial flair fostered within the School.