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Adelaide Uni hosts Climate-KIC Australia entrepreneur boot camp

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Budding Australian entrepreneurs have benefited from European expertise at an Adelaide boot camp for innovative, sustainable climate solutions.

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Climate-concerned entrepreneurs came together at the University of Adelaide for a two-day boot camp as part of the international ‘Climate Launchpad’ program, supported by Climate–KIC Australia

“It’s a collaboration between industry, academia and community and society, with a big focus on innovation, particularly climate innovation,” Climate Launchpad’s National Coordinator, Vanessa Rauland, says.

The national competition involved teams from right around the country and ran in three states, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and is a prelude to an international final to be held later this year in Cyprus on 21 September.

The boot camp helps budding entrepreneurs develop their ideas, as well as teaching them techniques to develop a startup business more efficiently.

“Businesses can’t have existed for more than a year, so you don’t want to have a really well established business, that’s not the point of this particular entrepreneurial activity,” Rauland says.

Australia had one of the highest application rates in the international Climate Launchpad competition, with 67 applicants bringing forward their ideas.

“We were very last minute… just because we’d just created Climate-KIC Australia in the last nine months,” Rauland says.

The University of Adelaide and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources sponsor Climate-KIC Australia, and through providing eager entrepreneurs with the resources to help develop their business skills, it is hoped more ideas in response to climate change will come to fruition.

As part of Carbon Neutral Adelaide, it is an aim of the State Government and City of Adelaide for Adelaide to become the world’s first carbon neutral city, and for the State to reach net zero emissions by 2050, with two teams from the bootcamp setting their sights here.

“It’s important to give our students and the wider community the opportunity to learn from the world’s best to find innovative ways to really make a difference. The Climate-KIC Launchpad was a real stand out with the trainer providing a robust and professional platform to really unlock creativity and help it actually hit the ground running,” University of Adelaide Sustainable Development Fellow Dr Charlie Hargroves says.

University of Adelaide students Daniel Hill, an economics student, and Daniel Conley, a PhD student in Entrepreneurship and Urban Sustainability, are working to reduce emissions in the CBD through a consolidated delivery service using electric vehicles.

“The big logistics companies come from Netley, so Toll, DHL, basically all come to a consolidation centre just outside the CBD or inside the CBD at the early hours of the morning to avoid congestion,” Hill says.

“They’re always competing in loading zones – you’ll see Charlesworth Nuts parking down Hindley Street because they haven’t got a loading zone near them.

“If you have an electric buggy that could park right next to their store, that would be really ideal.

“We’re trying to optimise the whole market, instead of each company optimising themselves.”

According to Hill, the benefit of the Climate Launchpad boot camp was being trained by Dutch climate entrepreneur and Deputy-Director Entrepreneurship at Climate-KIC, Frans Nauta along with mentoring from Vanessa Rauland and Charlie Hargroves.

“From the entrepreneurs perspective, there’s clearly a strong interest, that’s partly because of our partners here, so universities, of course, have their networks, so the applications have been impressive,” Nauta says.

“Climate-KIC started as an EU-funded program with many universities and businesses involved. It’s has all kinds of innovation programs, education programs, and then a small part is about entrepreneurship education.

“We not only do these trainings, but we also bring them all together. There’s going to be a top three selected in every country, and then three teams go to the central final, which is going to be in Cyprus in October. We have 120 teams there, and it’s… so inspiring to see all these people working on crazy stuff, impressive entrepreneurs from all ages.

“What I want to leave behind is their understanding that this is hard when you execute the business, but doing the research, you can keep doing until you finally hit a strong signal, then you can build a business.

“What I take from all of this is that I strongly believe that startups will fix climate change. It will take a long time, but startups will fix climate change.”

Solstice Media has partnered with the South Australian Government to provide information about the transition to a low-carbon economy. Read more stories like this here.

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