Griffith student Joshua Murchie has shown he has what it takes to make it in the world of big business. The co-founder of Griffith’s Entrepreneurship Club has spent the past couple of months taking out major innovation awards at both the Griffith Hackathon and the Startup Weekend Gold Coast.
The Hackathon was an event spread over two days, with next to no sleeping allowed, where student teams gathered to create new and exciting ideas to develop and pitch to a judging panel.
Josh’s team won the Best Idea and Best Team at the Hackathon for their app concept, which streamlined how students plan their university course load and capitalised on opportunities to build friendship groups and networks. The team’s winning design allowed a student, or course adviser, to plan out their degree and share an uneditable copy with a friend or fellow student so they can mix and match their classes. The simplicity of their drag and drop functions, coupled with their unique timeline view resulted in a simple yet very effective user experience.
Josh says he thinks his team had the edge because of the way they assigned responsibility for tasks based on skill set. “Our team agreed on the idea to pursue democratically and clearly delegated roles to one another in respective areas of strengths,” he says. “We didn’t overlap or argue… [giving] constructive feedback and communicating effectively helped.”
Not only is he making waves at Griffith, but as a representative of the University as well at the Startup Weekend Gold Coast. At this 54-hour event, run across 150 countries, people gather to pitch their ideas on the first night. The ideas are then voted on and the top 10 ideas are chosen, and teams formed accordingly. The rest of the time is spent developing the ideas through researching the market, running validation surveys and coming up with their final pitch to be delivered on the last evening.
Josh’s team was given five minutes to walk the judges – including Queensland’s First Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby, and CEO of Opmantek Danny Maher – through their concept. “I pitched my idea for a charity platform that helps convert social media engagement into tangible benefits for charities,” Josh explains. “We formed a team, each having individual strengths and voted on the direction of the pitch.”
The Griffith student who is passionate about entrepreneurship says he then searched online for someone from the Animal Welfare league to validate that the concept addressed a real problem in the industry. They discovered that their idea was not only helping to solve a real problem, but one that was also critical for charities’ survival.
“We then focused on a platform that appeals to our market and reconnects youth to charities on a personal, empathetic level by being transparent and empowering the user,” Josh says. His team ended up being awarded Best University Team of the event.
But Josh’s love for entrepreneurship extends beyond winning awards for his own work. He also wants to inspire a love for the craft of creating a business in others, something he’s managed to do by co-founding the student Entrepreneurship Club at Griffith. “I want to build an ecosystem at Griffith that supports and upskills our students so we can compete on a global level,” he says of the club. “We are very well connected within the entrepreneur community and students can expect to benefit from our workshops, guest speakers, exclusive invites to community events and the possibility to receive mentoring and internship opportunities with some of the best in the industry,” he explains.
Josh says that Griffith excels in the entrepreneurship space thanks to the remarkable course convenor Dr Julienne Senyard. “She is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and focuses on the “bootstrap” mentality, helping students to learn how to become resourceful and resilient when trying to start their own business.” He says the fact that Dr Senyard is also always up for a chat and to provide guidance to students is a great strength of the course as a whole.
Josh stresses that when it comes to entrepreneurship, Griffith is a leader in the space. “Griffith is a young university with huge potential for innovation. Some of our alumni have gone on to build multimillion-dollar businesses and the overall interest and support from Griffith around innovation and entrepreneurship has been building rapidly.”
And when he leaves uni, Josh aims to continue fostering young talent at Griffith. “I hope to be involved in developing and executing the innovation and entrepreneurship agenda at Griffith and one day being able to use my experience to assist on a global scale,” he says.