Last week I toured and met 12+ leaders of Melbourne’s entrepreneurial scene with 30+ ambitious innovators from Deakin University’s SPARK Deakin program as part of Startup Venture Crawl. What an opportunity to walk alongside people who’ve got ideas and grit!

Here are my top 4 take-aways:

1. Look for the “win win” sweet spot – what can you pay forward to others?

Collaboration goes deep into the core of what Melbourne is about. It’s internationally renowned for being a welcoming and inclusive city and this really resonates throughout its entrepreneurial community too.

If you look at what you can ‘give’ to this community (before looking to see what you can ‘get’) you may find interesting doors and conversations open for you.

2. How can you be believable from the get-go?

Earning trust is key. Whether you’re looking to find customers, collaborators or investors.

People look for authenticity and want to know why you’re the best person to work on problem you’re solving. What lived experience or other skills and expertise to bring to this area?

This leads to a much bigger question… why not turn your passion into a career?

3. Business can be a vehicle for good

Daizy Maan, SPARK Deakin’s Program Manager, kicked off the day explaining the benefits of social entrepreneurship. Both Daizy and Kaylene Langford, founder of Startup Creative, spoke really authentically about their career journeys and how it’s important to find what resonates for you, so you can best channel your valuable time and energy.

Unbound taught us to use what’s available at your finger-tips and really probe what could be a viable option for the issue you’re tackling. They have great experience teaching innovation skills in environments with scarce resources and helping people learn what’s possible.

Giant Leap spoke about impact startups and investments and how their goal is to fuse profit with purpose.

Envato reflected how you don’t need to go chasing the bigger valuations and investments – a useful reminder people can grow businesses that have a positive impact on their audiences – right from their parent’s garages in their case!

4. Hackers, hustlers and hipsters

It’s important to find your tribe – and also remember that part of every great team or business is a complementary mix of skills. It’s important to include those who see the world differently and can help you solve problems with a fresh take on things. Technical skills or subject matter expertise, mixed with a bit of a ‘get up and go’ business mentality,  and finessed with a design aesthetic truly are the golden trio for building a new venture in 2019!

It was a real privilege to connect with the ambitious change-makers of Melbourne. I encourage anyone reading to get involved in its start up and innovation scene – particularly SPARK Deakin who can help you learn more in a day  than you’d ever imagine.

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This piece was originally written by Fiona Reay, an Ed Tech Consultant who attended the Startup Venture Crawl.