The challenge is on for entrepreneurs

2010 finalist LEAPIN's Steve Dunn is making a name with the novel mobile phone hotel room check-in.

2010 finalist LEAPIN's Steve Dunn is making a name with the novel mobile phone hotel room check-in.
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Monday, 21 May 2012

The University of Adelaide's long-running entrepreneurial challenge, ZEN eChallenge, is underway for 2012.

The online component to the competition is producing interest from interstate for the first time, and a new online "Entrepreneurs' Forum" will help team members connect with others offering different skills, business ideas and areas of expertise.

ZEN eChallenge is a student business planning competition run by the University of Adelaide's Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC). Teams including students and members of the broader community develop a business plan for a new, previously unfunded concept. At least one member of each team must be a tertiary student.

Since its establishment in 2001, ZEN eChallenge has had almost 1900 participants in more than 420 teams with total money and prizes worth more than $970,000. This year, cash and prizes worth $50,000, will be awarded to the winning teams.

"For more than a decade, the University of Adelaide has been stimulating new business prospects and helping develop an entrepreneurial culture in South Australia through our ZEN Entrepreneurial Challenge," said Dr Allan O'Connor, ECIC Acting Director.

"The competition draws tremendous interest and support with sponsors, mentors and judges from the business community who are keen to promote innovation and new business talent. Over the years, there have been a number of commercial success stories that started as new business ideas in ZEN eChallenge."

Success stories include:

  • Track to Track (second-place prizewinner in 2004): Track to Track Pty Ltd was established in 2005 after the 2004 eChallenge and now produces two magazines - Track to Track, regarded as Australia's premier horse trading magazine, and Stallions at Stud. The business is still growing in 2012.

  • Microbric (third place in 2004): The Microbric electronic construction set company launched the popular i-bot, Ai2 and Viper products. The company has now signed an international export agreement with a UK distributor with products going to Europe and North America.

  • LEAPIN (2010 finalist, formerly known as Easelock): LEAPIN is a mobile phone hotel room check-in application. Its new website accepts web check-ins on a 32-room hotel in Annandale, Sydney and it has signed collaboration agreements with distributors and a global lock manufacturer.

  • SA Biofuels (2010 winner): SA Biofuels has developed and are building a portable biodiesel unit called the Bio-Ultra, which will produce high quality diesel fuel from locally sourced vegetable oil. The company is currently trialling turning algae into fuel.


Contact Details

Dr Allan O'Connor
Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC)
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0188

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814