Innovation and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of Griffith, where students are offered a range of opportunities to think big, develop concepts and take their ideas to the next level.
With events, clubs, courses and degrees focused on entrepreneurship, students can hone their capacity to work smarter at any stage of their Griffith journey.
Through these offerings, students can build their skills and networks, develop successful ventures and even drive positive social change.
“Griffith’s approach to innovation and entrepreneurship is quite unique” Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Debra Henly says.
“We are actively encouraging students from all disciplines and experience levels to come together and solve problems using internationally recognised models for learning entrepreneurship, facilitated by expert academic staff and industry mentors.”
Professor Henly says interdisciplinary teams are more likely to take innovative approaches to problem solving, exposing students to different ways of thinking.
“These teams also mimic the typical workplace. Experiences like these are not often made available to students, who will benefit by developing exceptional skill sets for future employment,” she says.
All options are open
“Each opportunity has been based around common themes: finding a gap in the market, then validating, developing and accelerating this idea within a short timeframe, to get to a point where this idea can be pitched to a set of judges,” Riley explains.
“This kind of accelerated learning model really allows you to test the boundaries within a supportive environment.”
Griffith Innovation Challenge and 3 Day Startup Project Coordinator Simon Barclay says the 3 Day Startup is an ideal crash course in innovation.
“The 3 Day Startup is a hands-on workshop where students work with mentors, facilitators and potential customers culminating in a pitch to industry experts,” he says.
For those looking to delve a little deeper over a trimester, Riley suggests the course 2043MKT Entrepreneurship and New Business Ventures.
“If students are looking for a well-rounded introduction into entrepreneurship and what it is, then this is a good starting point,” he says.
“It’s an elective that students from all disciplines can take.”
Think big and win big
Simon says experienced students, including those who have completed the 3 Day Startup or 2043MKT, can “think big” in the course 3031IBA Griffith Innovation Challenge.
“In the Griffith Innovation Challenge, students work individually or in teams to develop a concept, venture or product, and compete for $10,000 in prize money to support the launch of their idea,” he says.
Department of Business Strategy and Innovation’s Head of Department, Professor Rosemary Stockdale says while top industry partners Transit Australia Group and RedEye will sponsor the winning idea to help bring it to life, all course participants will benefit.
“Industry mentoring is a key element of the course,” Professor Stockdale explains.
“Griffith alumni who have become entrepreneurs will mentor individuals and teams to help shape their ideas into viable businesses.”
Boosting student employability is also integral to the Challenge.
“The whole point of the Challenge is to instill innovation and creativity as core attributes of participants, because surveys show this is what major industries and employers are looking for,” Professor Stockdale says.
“Being innovative and creative makes students so much more employable. People aren’t necessarily born with these attributes, but they can most certainly be learned.”
Chief Executive Officer at Transit Australia Group Michael McGee is both the lead industry sponsor of the Griffith Innovation Challenge and a proud Griffith alumnus.
He says sponsoring the course was an easy decision because of the opportunity it provides to foster innovation.
“This type of course is important for students to develop entrepreneurial skills,” Michael says.
“The skills of creative thinking, problem solving, measured risk taking and ability to pivot on learnings are essential skills for today’s business world.”
Both 2043MKT and 3031IBA are courses students can enrol in, which, along with the benefits of specialised hands-on learning and development of entrepreneurial skills, will contribute credit towards their degrees.
Benefits across the board
Riley says the variety of entrepreneurial opportunities at Griffith has expanded his thinking and put theory to practice in a variety of settings.
“By engaging within such a diverse range of activities, I’ve gained practical transferable skills such as leadership, organisation, communication, problem solving, design thinking and resilience,” he says.
Professor Henly says these attributes—practical problem solving, adaptability and creativity—are cornerstones of a variety of careers.
“These skills are valuable in any profession whether you are a lawyer, healthcare practitioner, IT consultant or the founder of your own entrepreneurial venture,” she says.
Entrepreneurship for all
Riley says entrepreneurship is for everyone.
“It’s not necessarily about starting a business, but more about developing the entrepreneurial mindset: passion and energy drive the dynamic process of vision, change, and creation, leading to innovations that change our future,” he says.
“There is innovation and change currently happening within every sector. Entrepreneurship is just the tool set to recognise and execute innovation.”
Simon says all students are welcome to participate in Griffith’s in-course and extra-curricular entrepreneurship offerings, and those who do, relish the experience.
“We encourage all students to take advantage of the options available to build their professional profile and take away experiences they can share with potential employers or investors,” he says.
“The options genuinely appeal to a broad audience. We’ve had PhD candidates and students from dentistry, creative arts, international relations and engineering degrees participate.”
For more information about the student entrepreneurship options at Griffith, see www.griffith.edu.au/think-big