Innovative micro-greens team wins SPARK Live Pitch

Published 11 July 2018
MetroGreens team: Steven James (left), Sean Spencer and Louise Earnshaw MetroGreens team: Steven James (left), Sean Spencer and Louise Earnshaw.

After six-weeks of developing ideas and perfecting their pitches, the Enterprise Lab’s Ideation startup teams presented their ideas to an audience full of potential contributors and a panel of expert judges at the SPARK Live Pitch collective-giving event.

All five teams presented socially conscious ideas, but it was Team MetroGreens who took home the winning prize of $2500 in seed funding on the night.

MetroGreens is a startup that focuses on micro-greens growing systems to promote accessible nutrition in a range of areas including metropolitan apartments, remote indigenous communities, and disaster affected areas.

Sean Spencer, one of MetroGreens’ founding members, said he was pleased with the team’s win and added that the program was valuable for not only the participants, but the Northern Rivers as well.

“The ideation program was an inspirational process to say the least. The contacts that I have met through the program has given me the confidence to start a business.

“The support network that has formed as a part of the process is incredible. This program is vital for regional areas especially in areas where work is difficult to find. As a result of the program there will be more jobs created in the region which is a great outcome for Lismore,” Sean said.

The expert judging panel included Robin Stonecash, Dean at the School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University; Jane Laverty, Regional Manager Northern Rivers, NSW Business Chamber; Rod Williams, Lecturer at Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University; Triona Maddick, Manager of Alumni and Giving, Southern Cross University; Mark Holden from Sourdough Business Pathways; and Pro Vice Chancellor for Engagement Ben Roche.

Throughout the event, held on Thursday May 31, the teams were met with engaging and challenging questions from the expert judging panel but were also offered advice and encouragement to pursue their ideas and continue to make a difference in the region.

All startup teams received a range of contributions from the crowd - with everything from networking and collaboration opportunities, to legal advice being offered to help get their ideas to the next level.

Chuyun Fang, a Master of Professional Accounting student from China, was also awarded a Seed Grant - a $1000 award received from donations to the Southern Cross Entrepreneurs Fund from staff at the University. The award was available to Southern Cross University students participating in the Ideation Program and will be put toward Chuyun’s professional development in entrepreneurship. Chuyun’s team developed a platform to support youth entrepreneurship and microfinancing.

Tanya Egerton, Manager of the Enterprise Lab, said she was excited by the progress of the teams across the six-week period.

“Our Ideation cohort comprised 25 individuals who wanted to make a difference in the region. To see the progression of their ideas and how they formed startup teams in a six-week program has been fantastic and we can’t wait to see where they go next.

“We’re very excited to run more programs like this in the future and will continue to empower people to make a difference in the Northern Rivers and beyond,” Ms Egerton aid.

SPARK Live Pitch marked the end of the Enterprise Lab’s first Ideation Program, but not the end of the journey for the teams. The Ideation startups will now be given the opportunity to form part of the Enterprise Lab’s Startup in Residence program to continue the progression of their ideas.

Media contact: Sharlene King 0429 661 349 or scumedia@scu.edu.au