Renowned Australian tech startup community Fishburners has signed a milestone three-year partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), with the main objective to forge better connections for students into the startup ecosystem and community.
UTS has become the organisation’s university partner; the first long-term university partner to come on board with Fishburners.
Overall, the partnership will connect UTS students with established startups so they can learn, collaborate and practice their skills in a real-life environment, bridging the gap between studying entrepreneurship and getting a startup off the ground.
Working with Fishburners will provide UTS students and staff with greater access to the startup ecosystem, as well as opening up more relevant resources to boost UTS’s entrepreneurial programs. It will also give the university a meaningful presence in the Sydney Startup Hub (SSH).
The comprehensive agreement includes:
- Desks in Fishburners’ SSH headquarters for UTS startups and interns. As honorary ‘Burners’, those selected will have access to Fishburner benefits such as business advice (eg legal, accounting, HR, marketing), expert workshops, troubleshooting sessions, female founder events, speaker series, plus social events.
- A work experience program kicking off in August which will match UTS students with suitable startups to gain meaningful skills. The selected students will also be invited to all Fishburners events during the internship.
- Virtual memberships for UTS students which offer access to the Fishburners online portal. Resources include startup templates and useful documents, a discussion board, streamed events including workshops and talks, plus discounts on startup-related services and software.
- UTS-themed Friday Night Pitches at Fishburners’ former hub of 608 Harris St, now leased by UTS, as part of plans to reactivate the space and precinct.
- The opportunity for UTS startups to present at Fishburners Friday Night Pitches.
Fishburners CEO Pandora Shelley, a UTS alumna, says the partnership is important to the future of entrepreneurship in Sydney.
“The average age of a Fishburners founder is 38. We believe that by exposing students to real-life entrepreneurship earlier on, we will see a greater number of younger founders,” Shelley said. “This is incredibly important to Fishburners, whose mission is to enable founders to succeed in starting and growing startups.
“We’re excited to begin connecting Fishburners’ startups with exceptional UTS talent with a new work experience program. We anticipate this program will bring valuable experiences and support growth for both Fishburners startups and UTS students.”
UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor Innovation and Enterprise, Professor Glenn Wightwick, said that working with Fishburners is a key initiative of the UTS Innovation and Entrepreneurship strategy.
“A primary goal as part of our strategy is to engage UTS students in entrepreneurship opportunities, to meet the demand from the more than 40 per cent of students who are interested in creating their own startup,” he said.
“This partnership will go a long way towards serving our purpose of engaging students with entrepreneurship, by inspiring and guiding them to become founders, join a startup and show leadership in Sydney’s startup ecosystem.
“By delivering standout educational programs that equip graduates with the right skills and mindsets to be able to turn disruption into innovation, UTS is investing heavily in the future of work, now.”
This announcement follows UTS appointing former Fishburners CEO Murray Hurps to the newly created Director of Entrepreneurship role last month. Hurps’ remit is to drive the creation of student-founded startups at UTS.
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