The tiny particles on the wings of dragonflies have inspired a group of budding entrepreneurs at QUT to create a startup around the manufacture of an antibacterial coating killing germs at first touch.

The group was part of Australia’s largest student Startup weekend organised by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia and QUT Entrepreneurship at QUT’s Gardens Point campus March 13-15.

Top judges including Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp and Executive Director QUT Entrepreneurship Professor Rowena Barrett selected the winning team from 130 participants from 19 pitches in total.

Professor Barrett said participants focussed on bringing high-value solutions to problems that affect humanity.

“It was heartening to see the level of commitment from participants to solving problems that matter beyond the individual, addressing big humanitarian issues and finding innovative ways to do that,” Professor Barrett said.

The winning team, called Spyke, used the Australian science developed from nature, as the inspiration for the printing of ‘nano-spikes’ onto film that could be placed on surfaces, like doorhandles, to kill bacteria upon contact.

Startup Weekend winner, Spyke, from left: Jason Rumengan, Isaac Tucker, Briony Beaumont, Rachael Dagge, Meg Haslam, Luna (VoMinh Doan) Dang

A team called Catchcall won for social impact for their idea to develop a platform for those experiencing domestic violence. The tool would objectively measure risk being experienced by individuals and work to connect victims with support and services based on the severity of their situation.

Focussed on sanitation and the circular economy, the runner up, Valoo, planned to install toilets in temporary slum communities in India and sell the waste for energy and other uses. Profit would be shared with users and they would broker sanitation into a financial benefit.

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Professor Barrett said participants were a diverse mix of attendees across age, gender and ethnicity from inside and outside the university.

“We know people venture into startups for different reasons and there’s evidence that 12 percent of ideas from weekend like this go on and build an entrepreneurial business,” she said.

“The weekend showed how much our students care about social inclusion and equity and how keen they are to create a better world and value for others.”

Winning teams at Startup Weekend will be supported by QUT Entrepreneurs-in-Residence as well as key sponsors.



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