Students Help Northern Rivers Business Innovators

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Inventors and innovators can get help from a proven mentoring scheme and supporting workshops to prepare their entries for the 2008 INR Technology and Innovation Awards. The most successful business innovation or invention stands to win a $10,000 prize sponsored by Country Energy.

Invest Northern Rivers (INR) has launched a program of support for people who are interested in entering the 2008 INR Technology and Innovation Awards.

Interested applicants can come to a free information session at 5pm to 6.30pm Wednesday 12 March at the Rous Water Building, 218 Molesworth Street, Lismore. A second workshop will be held at 5.30pm to 9.30pm on Wednesday 26 March at the Tweed campus of Southern Cross University (SCU).

In addition, through a mentoring program with SCU, award applicants can be matched with final year students in the Bachelor of Business degree who will help them work through the application process.

Michael Evans, executive dean from SCU’s Faculty of Business and Law and a judge of the awards, says that the success of the mentoring process was evident in the last awards round.

‘The applicants that worked with student mentors in the last awards produced a far higher quality of submissions than those who didn’t – in fact the difference was stark,’ he says.

‘The student mentors helped applicants write submissions of the standard needed to raise funding for their invention or innovation. They stood out as the ones who were serious about taking their products to the next level of development.

‘Often, inventors are very creative people but they don’t always know how to move their idea forward into something that can be commercialised and end up creating wealth for them. The students help by looking at how business development is part of turning an innovation into a product.’

‘The mentoring partnership has benefits for both the inventors and the students. The inventors have access to the theories of running a business and the students have access to the real life problems of fitting those business theories to real world situations.’

Katrina Luckie, executive director of the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board, invites people who are considering entering the awards to come to the information session, which will help them assess whether their business product or idea is ready for the Awards.

‘The information session is on introduction to the awards program, covering how to enter and what’s involved in the application,’ says Katrina.

The first workshop will be held in the Rous Water Building (Level 3) in Lismore from 5.00 – 6.30 pm on 12 March 2008. A second workshop will be held at 5.30pm to 9.30pm on Wednesday 26 March at the Tweed campus of Southern Cross University (SCU).Entrants who would like free mentoring from business students must put in an expression of interest by 31 March 2008.

For information or workshop bookings contact Lydia Kirby on 6622 4011 or admin@nrrdb.com.au or go to www.investnorthernrivers.com.au

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