Startup kickstarter wins at GovHack
A platform connecting startups and small businesses with government grant money created by a group of UTS students has won one of the prizes on offer at Sydney.
KickStart-Up, the creation of four UTS MBAe () students, works to connect fledgling firms with government backing.
Paul Angwin, Marek Pionka, Anthony So and Mark Radic formulated the idea in response to challenges put to them during GovHack Sydney 2018, a weekend-long hackathon held at UTS in September.
The group took home first place in the “Transforming Ultimo” challenge, which tasked teams with identifying what was needed to grow entrepreneurship in the suburb of Ultimo.
The title was just one of a variety of challenges the group competed in with their idea at the UTS-sponsored event.
GovHack is an annual hackathon held simultaneously at different locations across Australia, where teams are tasked with leveraging open government data to solve challenges, contribute to development and create a more accessible digital democracy.
For the KickStart-Up team, the process began with a quest to help startups and early-stage ventures struggling to get capital.
While there are many government grant programs ready to provide startups and small business with support, the confusing array of portals and web services can leave business struggling, delaying what is often a much-needed cash injection.
With many startups failing due to lack of funds, the team wanted to give founders a way to cut through the confusion, with a simple search engine solution to help entrepreneurs kick-start their fortunes.
The service brings together a plethora of government grant connections, and uses AI to suggest the most relevant grants for each venture and automatically pre-fill the application.
Presenting their pitch for KickStart-Up, the group highlighted the need to “bridge the gap” between struggling founders and cash-ready investors in order to lay the foundations for sustainable growth of the innovation ecosystem.
The team were forced to wrangle a variety of technical issues over the weekend, but eventually got over the line with their pitch, creating their final video with only 20 minutes to spare before the Sunday 5:00 PM deadline.
Agreeing that it had been a “fly by the seat of the pants” affair, the team’s advice to future GovHack participants is to have a clear product in mind for the weekend.
Having worked together through in-class exercises at UTS previously, the group said having complimentary skills among team members and being able to identify where you can provide the most value with an existing data set is also key to success.