Innovation, startups and entrepreneurship course

In partnership with Slingshot, UON is offering a unique and outcome-based, course in Innovation, Start Ups and Entrepreneurship. This course has been designed into two streams; one credit bearing course and one aimed at professional development. For the professional development stream a limited number of staff scholarships are being made available.

The course is an exciting development in the University’s lead strategy of developing the UON Entrepreneur. Experienced entrepreneurs operating nationally and internationally have been engaged to assist participants in building an understanding of the key elements of business creation and providing pathways for innovation. Participants will be expected to complete an applied assessment exercise centered on creating and validating a new startup enterprise, which will culminate in a business pitch at the end of the boot camp.

This year's speakers will include:

  • Brendan Yell - How to be a rockstar founder
  • Julie Stevanja - 'Running' an international startup
  • Alli Baker - Journey of a startup
  • Brian Hill - Business Modelling
  • Franzisca Iseli - Branding and Perception
  • Anny Havercroft - Digital Marketing
  • Jared Codling - Growth Hacking
  • Lauren Trucksess - Public Relations
  • Craig Lambert - Pitch Coaching
  • Vicky Lay - Venture Capital

UON staff members have an opportunity to access a staff scholarship to participate in the professional development stream of the course. The professional development stream of the course will have a varied assessment load from participants undertaking the course for-credit. Therefore staff receiving a scholarship will not be able to apply for credit to an academic program.

The course commences on 29 June and will run as a five-day boot camp (29 June - 5 July, 9am - 5pm). All participating members will need to be able to attend all five days of the boot camp.

Scholarships places are limited. Interested staff should approach their faculty or divisional head for nomination support. Nominations will only be accepted through faculty or divisional heads.

If you have any questions on the process please email pvc-lt@newcastle.edu.au


Speaker biographies

Trent Bagnall, Founder of the Slingshot Accelerator.

Slingshot brings startups and corporates together by running corporate innovation programs for companies such as Beyond Bank, NRMA, HCF and Simplot. At Slingshot, Trent draws from his own successful career in business, including listing QMASTOR limited on the ASX at age 29, to help motivated entrepreneurs to translate their ideas to viable commercial companies. Slingshot provides seed funding, a 12-week mentor driven program and the support needed to build a successful business. Slingshot accelerator programs have been hailed as a unique approach in collaboration between large corporates and tech startups. Slingshot intends to help build 100 new companies working with great company founders, corporate partners and investors by 2020.


Alli Baker,  founder and CEO, Workible

Alli is Co-Founder and CEO of The Workible Network, one of Australia's leading HR Technology providers powering the largest network of connected job sites in the country including the national job marketplace, WorkibleJOBS. Driven by her love of challenging the status quo, Alli is an award-winning businesswoman and young entrepreneur with a proven track record including having been recognized as one of Australia’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs Under 40 for the last two consecutive years.


Steve Baxter, tech start-up investor

In 1994, at the age of 23, Steve put his life savings of $11,000 on the line to launch his first start-up, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home. Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet. In 2001, Steve teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second start-up, PIPE Networks, a provider of wholesale telecoms infrastructure that was listed on the ASX in 2005. Eight years later they sold it to the TPG Group for $373 million.


Anny Havercroft, Head of Brand, Yahoo

Award-winning, progressive and visionary marketing communications leader with over 16 years global advertising agency experience consulting to top tier ASX, FTSE and Dow Jones companies. Proven track record in commercialising emerging marketing communications products/services and building new revenue streams. Extensive digital and brand communications experience globally across categories such as apparel, banking/finance, entertainment, fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG), not-for-profit and technology. A fearless leader with strong networking and collaboration skills.


Brian Hill, CoFounder, Assemblient

An experienced digital strategist and health professional with a track record in business innovation, service transformation programs and startup ecosystem development in ACT, Hunter and Central Coast regions. Adept at leveraging technology for business, health and environmental innovations, my consulting experience covers Digital Strategy + Services, Enterprise scale project delivery in Health, Govt and Industry settings.


Vicky Lay

Vicky Lay is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about business and finding creative ways to help people. At 22, she co-founded zookal.com - a Silicon Valley venture-backed e-learning and textbook rental company that turned over $20M in revenue last year. Currently she serves as a Managing Director at Artesian Venture Partners. She also founded and serves on the boards of non-profit organisations fostering youth empowerment and entrepreneurship including Young Achievement Australia and JA Australia. Vicky was recognised as a Forbes Asia 30 under 30 recipient in April 2017.


Stephen Scheeler, Special Advisor – Digital, PwC Australia

Stephen is a seasoned business leader of digital transformation in a mobile age who over a 25-year career has delivered outstanding business results across multiple sectors (FMCG, retail, automotive, ecommerce, fin serv, media, technology), most recently guiding Facebook ANZ to world-leading performance as Managing Director. From 2013 to 2017, Stephen led Facebook’s efforts in Australia and New Zealand to help businesses better use Facebook’s family of apps and services to deliver against their business objectives.


Julie Stevanja, Founder, Stylerunner

In 2012, Stylerunner founder Julie Stevanja was based in London and discovered that she wasn’t able to find a big enough selection of stylish activewear to meet her needs. Realising the gap in the market was the perfect opportunity for an e-commerce store with beautifully curated activewear to an international audience, Stevanja committed to creating the world’s first premier online sportwear store and launched Stylerunner just three months later.Fast forward four years, and Stylerunner is the largest online activewear e-tailer in the world offering a coveted range of brands and product like no other.


Lauren Trucksess, Account Director, Media & Capital Partners

Originally from the US, Lauren is former TV news producer and video journalist with more than nine years’ experience across journalism, public relations, and marketing. Lauren specialises in content marketing, particularly for technology brands and has a proven track record of developing insight-driven content to support Digital, Social, and PR campaigns. She has worked with large technology powerhouses including IBM, VMWare, SanDisk, popular consumer brands including Beats by Dr Dre, WeChat and Eventbrite as well as leading startups and up-and-coming health and biotech businesses.


Brendan Yell, Startup Mentor and Director SendGrid and Startup Grind

Very active in the startup community, Brendan is the Sydney Director of Startup Grinder and a mentor at the Slingshot, Telstra Muru-D, AngelCube and Vocus Upstart accelerators. He is also the pitch coach for the Rise Conference in Hong Kong (powered by Web Summit). Brendan has founded successful startups including shopfree.com and recipelover.com and is currenlty the director of SendGrid. Brendan is also actively advising a number of startups including VinoMofo, BugWolf, Gusto, Flixsense, CrowdCarnivore and NewsMaven.