Top 10 tips from experts on launching big ideas

12 Jul 2023

Turning innovation into a business takes more than a great idea. The path from research to commercialisation can be a combination of challenges, setbacks and wins. So how do leading entrepreneurs do it, and what do they know that the rest of us can learn from?

Below are some of the lessons learned that came out of the panel event Starting Up and Spinning Out: Taking Big Ideas to Market, hosted by the Australian National University's (ANU) Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) as part of the ACT Government's winter innovation festival Uncharted Territory in July 2023.  

This event served as a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators and anyone interested in the local start-up landscape to learn from key people who have been there and done it.

On the panel was Petr Adamek, CEO of Canberra Innovation Network, Jayden Castillo, Chief of Staff at Quantum Brilliance, Jekaterina Viktorova, CEO of Syenta, and Paul Wigley, COO at Nomad Atomics. Dr Elaine Stead, ANU Associate Director, New Ventures & Entrepreneurship, was the moderator. The panel was introduced by Dr Keats Nelms, Chief, ANU Research & Innovation Services.

Here's a round-up of the panellists' insights:

  1. Keep your ego in check: Be open to taking advice from the right people, collaborate and learn from others.
  2. Develop resilience: Navigating challenges and setbacks requires a determined mindset and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Perseverance is key!
  3. Be curious: Always look for new avenues, learn from experience and adapt to evolving market dynamics.
  4. Learn from failure: Not all start-ups succeed! Entrepreneurs can learn valuable lessons from failures and pivot their strategies to help get a business off the ground.
  5. Embrace uncertainty: Entrepreneurs operate in an environment of incomplete information and uncertainty. The ability to make decisions under such conditions is challenging but can be a hallmark of success.
  6. Know how to tell your story: Being able to articulate the value of your product or service is essential for attracting investors, customers, and partners. Get your elevator pitch sorted and communicate clearly.
  7. Create a trusted team: Surround yourself with people who share your vision and have complementary skills, and foster a collaborative environment.
  8. Make use of local networks: Get involved, not only for support but also to open doors to collaborations, partnerships and opportunities for growth.
  9. Ecosystem support: Canberra's innovation ecosystem is highly interconnected with a strong research and development focus. Make use of the available guidance, resources and platforms like the Canberra Innovation Network for start-ups to validate their ideas and connect with potential customers.
  10. Luck and timing: Accept that sometimes, it's about being in the right place at the right time with the right idea!
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