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Business Insight: Innovators get chance to push a clean green idea


Jessica Nelson
24 December 2018

Article by Southern Cross University Enterprise Lab Manager Tanya Egerton

Entrepreneurial programs are a vital stepping stone in the process of turning ideas into innovations.

And who knows what innovations will emerge in 2019 that will significantly contribute to the clean energy future of Australia.

Last month The Enterprise Lab at Southern Cross University hosted a Hackathon event, with local innovators from Northern NSW given the opportunity to gather and create clean energy startups for a greener future.

The idea was simple – Southern Cross University partnered with EnergyLab, one of Australia’s leading clean-tech business accelerator and the first accelerator in Australia to focus on energy startups. The program (principally sponsored by Origin Energy) is about creating a clean-energy future in Australia through empowering and supporting startups through their accelerator programs.

The winners of this Hackathon, awarded with the most innovative and novel idea, was ‘Amped Classics’ a startup business that converts classic cars to battery operated electric vehicles.

Amped Classics founder Andy Naughton had a passion for classic cars but wanted to make this niche market more sustainable for the clean energy future of Australia. Naughton, along with other successful applicants, will now go through to the EnergyLab Pre-Acceleration Program where they continue to develop their startups.

His idea is a prime example of how passion, commitment and innovation to sustainability combine to create a cleaner future. He draws on experts from the field to create outstanding levels of engineering in a quality package that utilises the latest conversion component technology.

Feedback from Mr Naughton and other contestants described the Hackathon as a valuable experience and platform they would encourage others to pursue if they are seeking high level support for a clean energy startup.

As The Enterprise Lab manager I have the privilege of seeing these startups transition from their early phases into more sustainable business models, through accessing expert mentorship which helps rapidly develop the ideas.

Teams were able to spend time with a range of experts who provided mentoring in engineering, legal, marketing, finance, business modelling, tech, pitching and environmental sustainability to help refine their ideas and move to the next level.

Some teams have now moved into the next stage, known as the EnergyLab Pre-Acceleration Program, which delivers a range of workshops and act as an additional pathway into the EnergyLab Accelerator Program. Teams who meet additional criteria in the Acceleration Program may be eligible for $50,000 in seed funding, with more information at

Online applications are now open for the next round of Hackathons and Acceleration Programs, closing on 12 May 2019.

Bring on 2019 and a brighter cleaner future for Australia!

This article originally appeared in the Business Insight section of the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper on 22/12/2018 and is for general information purposes only.