Designer extraordinaire and aquaculture entrepreneur headline Limestone Coast Awards
Two Mount Gambier entrepreneurs are heading off to Silicon Valley, Austin and New York City after taking out the majority of a prize package totalling more than $45,000 in the inaugural Limestone Coast eNVIe Awards event last night.
Entrepreneurs Ashlee Kalantarian and Daryl Prunnell have both secured a 10-day United States tour by winning the 2018 Gold and Silver ‘eNVIe Awards’, in Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI) Venture Dorm Limestone Coast awards.
Designer Ms Kalantarian and aquaculture entrepreneur Mr Prunnell will visit the innovation ecosystems in the United States as part of a tour in March next year, joining other business founders and South Australian eNVIes winners to attend more than 40 events, pitch competitions, site visits and networking opportunities.
Two Mount Gambier entrepreneurs are heading off to Silicon Valley, Austin and New York City after taking out the majority of a prize package totalling more than $45,000 in the inaugural Limestone Coast eNVIe Awards event.
The eNVIes are a celebration for the New Venture Institute’s ‘Venture Dorm’ entrepreneur development program, with finalists pitching their ideas as a culmination of seven weeks of practical learning with personalised mentors.
Gold eNVIe winner Ms Kalantarian, whose Mount Gambier business Ashlee Lauren Designs creates bespoke headpieces for customers around the world, has experienced a whirlwind year including supplying 10 pieces for New York Fashion Week in September 2017 and providing a creation to popstar Ke$ha to wear to this year’s Grammy Awards.
Her achievements whilst working out of a garage at Mount Gambier surprised her, prompting participation in the Venture Dorm program so she could investigate scaling up her business.
“It is a big investment of time and money, so it was vital to be lead in the right direction. Venture Dorm not only gave me the confidence to take the steps to start scaling, but also really defined my business model and how to project revenue.
“I now have so many plans not only for the domestic market but also for international expansion, and with all the amazing support I will receive after winning the gold eNVIe I will be able to achieve these goals quickly and effectively,” Ms Kalantarian says.
Silver eNVIe winner Mr Prunnell hopes to create a fish farm featuring rock lobster and atlantic salmon that would showcase the local produce to tourists, with a community space providing education, tastings and accommodation. He was recommended for the program by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), which is also the major sponsor of the Limestone Coast eNVIe awards.
Entrepreneurs Ashlee Kalantarian and Daryl Prunnell have both secured a 10-day United States tour by winning the 2018 Gold and Silver ‘eNVIe Awards’, in Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI) Venture Dorm Limestone Coast awards
“Through the program, my idea matured from focusing purely on salmon to incorporating rock lobster co-existing together. This would build on revenue greatly, taking it from a $16kg product to a $60kg product,” Mr Prunnell says.
He believes the location for his concept is ideal; seven hectares he owns on the outskirts of Port MacDonnell, which he says is becoming an extension of the Great Ocean Road for many international and domestic tourists. He credits his Venture Dorm experience as invaluable and enabling him to firm up his concept commercially.
Venture Dorm graduates from the Limestone Coast’s inaugural program included Conor Flanagan, Geoffrey Dening, Lizzie Clements, Phillip Clements, Sonia Bath, Eugene Coscarelli, Belinda Tilley and People’s Choice Award winner Katie Fox - who owns luxury gift box business ‘Little Pink Box’ and won $3,000 worth of business-boosting services through her win.
Venture Dorm provides hands-on training for people who want to learn how entrepreneurs build and market new ventures and either create one themselves, or lift their existing business to greater success. The program takes an idea to a minimum viable business model that can be scaled up and repeated, in just seven weeks. Topics covered include purpose and vision, lean principals, product development, business and revenue development and competition.
NVI director Matthew Salier says that in addition to the networks developed through Venture Dorm and eNVIsion Limestone Coast, Ms Kalantarian and Mr Prunnell will benefit from NVI’s relationships with a number of international investors and entrepreneurs, some of whom they will meet during their trip to the USA.
“Flinders’ NVI innovation incubators have links with entrepreneur landing groups in the US, Shanghai and Singapore and that’s a really important part of the value of Venture Dorm program and our co-working space,” Matt Salier says.
Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Clare Pollock attended the awards event and congratulated the finalists and winners.
“Their ideas speak volumes for the creativity and innovation coming out of the Limestone Coast,” Professor Pollock says.
“Earlier this year, Flinders’ NVI was recognised as the best university entrepreneurial incubator in the Asia-pacific region by The UBI World Benchmark Study, which is the world’s authority on university-linked business accelerators.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer this resource and our expertise to the immense talent in this region.”
The intensive Venture Dorm program for the Limestone Coast is run by Flinders’ recently opened eNVIsion Limestone Coast hub.
The eNVIsion hub at the Limestone Coast and Venture Dorm program have been made possible through the Federal Government’s Incubator Support Program, together with funding from the Mount Gambier council and the State Government.