Making WA the global star gazing destination, using GPS technology to bust boredom on the long road trip to the Mid West, and easing the stress of selling houses are just some of the local start-up business on the rise since completing the first round of the Pollinators BaseCamp Incubator program.
BaseCamp Incubator is a six-month business support program for people working on start-up projects, young businesses and great ideas. The program started with a full day intensive KickStart Day which was also open to the wider business community. The cohort then continued on with a full workshop each Friday for another six weeks, where participants were assigned homework, supported and held accountable by the program facilitator and their peers.
Over the next few months participant support will continue through mentoring, access to the Pollinators space and additional training.
Founding member of the Western Australian entrepreneur community, StartupWA – Sam Birmingham facilitated the workshops. Sam created his first digital technology startup in 2008 and has since launched a range of initiatives in Perth and throughout the regions including the youth computer-coding club, Coder Dojo WA.
Mr Birmingham was impressed with the caliber of the first round participants and enjoyed seeing the group come together to support each other.
Mr Birmingham said using the program to create marketing material was particularly valuable for the participants.
“It can be hard to position yourself and blow your own trumpet. Marketing equals sales, essentially selling yourself and most people find that really challenging.”
“So having the supportive BaseCamp community around to test on, suggest different audiences and customer segments, built a lot of confidence for the members,” he said.
Innovation methodologies from around the world
Through the program, Sam led participants through the latest design and development methodologies like Google’s Design Sprints, a time-constrained, five-step process to reduce risk when launching new or improved products. The process involves rapidly imagining every possible way to solve a problem, no matter how crazy, before honing in on the best solution and creating prototypes to test on real people.
For Carol Redford from AstrotourismWA, this process was invaluable.
“The most unexpected benefit was the realisation that I’m prototyping.”
“Developing the prototype with feedback from my clients will allow me to grow the business in the most relevant way.”
“Those I’m working with will also feel included on our journey to the stars and that’s one amazing journey to be on,” she said.
In total nine people participated in the initial round of BaseCamp Incubator, held in June and July of 2019. The first round had an Eco-Tourism flavour with around half of the fledgling businesses providing services to Mid West visitors.
Jackie Gill worked on her venture to create an onboard tour-guide App that combines GPS technology and storytelling. The App will help self-drive travelers find the interesting and instagramable sites on route to the Mid West. This will make the journey more exciting and an experience to boast, rather than complain, about.
Another participant Samuel Purba-Barnard said BaseCamp gave him skills and strategies to conduct useful market research for his business – Distinct Digital Marketing.
“Instead of fighting against a market, or even predicting what a market wants, for every new idea I have I go out and do my market research to determine whether it’s needed or not.”
“Specifically, I asked a tonne of realtors what their biggest pain points were so I could help them with my particular set of skills, I now niche to Realtors with Digital Marketing,” he said.
Pitch Night adds extra incentive
The first six weeks culminated in a Pitch Night that saw the participants take turns to sell their business idea to the Pollinators Community and win cash prizes.
The proprietor of Mid West Adventure Tours, Cameron Williams took out second place winning $1000 to spend on mentoring and marketing for his intimate 4WD and wildflower tour business.
He said interacting with the group, connecting and discussing experiences with others was the most valuable part of BaseCamp.
“If I could do something like that every year to remind me of why I am going this it would be really good.”
“Pollinators is a really good place for small businesses and young entrepreneurs to interact and learn from each other,” he said.
Other winners were Carol Redford for her project Astrotourism WA and Peter Goode with Goodies Eco Camp.