Georgia Adams was sitting in her final law exam last November when she came up with the idea for a start-up. Ms Adams took part in the University of Sydney Business School’s Genesis program, winning the award for best commercialisation of research.
“The idea came when I was sitting in the last five minutes of a three-hour open book exam,” she said. “I found myself transcribing my typed-up exam notes into the exam book. It’s no secret that students’ handwriting is declining, as a lot of research shows. Likewise, teachers are tired of trying to decipher poor handwriting when marking exams.”
Georgia’s start-up, Aaro, is an inexpensive and scalable solution to this problem. It’s a non-programmable exam laptop that specifically deters hacking and addresses the growing need for secure cloud-based exams.
“The Sydney Genesis program develops the next generation of entrepreneurs who are solving real-world problems with their business innovations,” said Jared Harrison, Sydney Genesis Coordinator at the University of Sydney Business School.
We have created a rich ecosystem of entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney, of which Genesis plays a vital part.
Since it started in 2008, Sydney Genesis has had 1,000 entrepreneurs through the program. Professor Leanne Cutcher, Head of the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the program has gone from strength to strength.
“We have created a rich ecosystem of entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney, of which Genesis plays a vital part,” said Professor Cutcher. “In addition to the seed funding, our winners will be fast-tracked through to the INCUBATE program and receive support from the Innovation Hub at the University.”
Located in the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Sydney Genesis program is unique in bringing world-leading researchers and budding entrepreneurs together, said Professor Cutcher.
The program is open to students, staff and alumni from any faculty across the University of Sydney. Mr Harrison said: “It’s not just Business School students who have great ideas for start-ups.”
The founders of Petite Beat, who took out one of the top prizes in last semester’s pitch night, studied design at the University.
PetiteBeat is a bonding device that consists of a foetal heart beat detector and a pillow, which amplifies the heart beat during pregnancy through light, sound and pulse. Founders Franziska Seehuber and Anna Maria Natlacen spoke at the final pitch night.
“None of us had a business background so we needed the entrepreneurial skills to get our start-up off the ground,” Ms Seehuber said.
One of this semester’s Genesis winners, Georgia Adams, said, “In an age where some kids are texting faster than they can write, our schools could really benefit from secure cloud exams.
“The way that I’ve proposed to solve this issue is with a very inexpensive hardware solution. The laptop would have very limited memory, which means it only has space for the exam program itself.
“This way we’re testing students’ knowledge, not their ability to Google an answer.”