USC student entrepreneur leads Startup Week

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USC Entrepreneurship student Renee Coman

A USC Entrepreneurship student who launched a business to support Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) workers and their families is now lead organiser of the 2017 Techstars Startup Week Sunshine Coast.

Startup Week, which began on Saturday, is celebrating, educating and connecting the Sunshine Coast’s startup community until Friday 17 November.

Renee Coman, 33, of Sippy Downs, has a good idea of what’s required of the inaugural entrepreneurship week being held across the region – she was on the winning team for last year’s Startup Weekend, pitching a new technology platform for surfers tracking swells.

Mrs Coman is a former photography business owner who started studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries at USC in 2013 after a serious car accident damaged her shoulder.

“Since completing a minor in entrepreneurship, I’ve become excited about pursuing a higher degree by research, focusing on exploring the impact of events such as Startup Weekend and Startup Week on creating a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem on the Coast,” she said.

Mrs Coman this year launched her Software as a Service (SaaS) called Distance Assistance, which licenses content to organisations with personnel who regularly travel away from home for extended periods, such as FIFOs, flight attendants, pilots and Defence workers.

“The aim of Distance Assistance is to provide a range of content, created in collaboration with professionals in areas such as psychology and nutrition, to extend support for staff and help them avoid mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety,” she said.

Mrs Coman said her USC degree had helped build her confidence to create content, collaborate, develop a platform and pitch her venture.

She expected highlights of Startup Week Sunshine Coast to include: Startup 101 today (13 November) at USC, where participants will share stories, hear speakers and join workshops; and the El Grande networking party at Chambers Island, Maroochydore, on 17 November.

USC Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers said Startup Week was showcasing the entrepreneurial talent and support available for innovators in the region.

“Renee Coman’s leadership of the week fulfils the mission of USC’s Empowering Startup Founders program, funded by an Advance Queensland Young Starters Grant,” Dr de Villiers Scheepers said.

As part of the week, a Creative Industries Demo Day will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 14 November, from 10am to 1pm at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast on campus at Sippy Downs.

 
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