Frog + Kangaroo = global competitiveness!

Q: What do you get when you mix a frog, a kangaroo, 47 Australian PhD students, 14 jurors, 8 French PhD students who acted as mentors and 8 coaches? 

A: The Australian–French Entrepreneurship Challenge, a super-driven dynamic 24 hours, which demonstrated that future innovation in Australian research and industry is in capable hands!

As part of the recent Australian–French Entrepreneurship Challenge, held on 2‑3 June 2016 at The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, teams of PhD students in the fields of natural science, humanities and social sciences, competed to design an innovative and profitable start-up concept.

I was one of 14 jurors and was blown away by the dynamic and clever ideas conceived by each team, their resilience, teamwork, energy, creativity, enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism.

They gained an invaluable opportunity to broaden their research and entrepreneurial skill set while establishing interdisciplinary and international relationships.

Over a continuous 24-hour period working in teams of up to six, participants were challenged to design a start-up in a relevant field. In the first few hours of the event participants attended workshops and accessed expert mentoring through the process. Then they literally burnt the midnight oil to develop their business concepts, creating 8 quite different business proposals.

Each team pitched their ideas to the jury of 14 expert entrepreneurs, scientists and managers, with the winning team set to travel to France for a first-hand experience of the country’s innovation system.


Congratulations to the 24hr Australian French Entrepreneurship Challenge winners, Guardia, who won a trip to France.

The Australian–French Entrepreneurship Challenge is based on the ‘24 hours for Entrepreneurship’ challenge: a flagship event run in France since 2011 by the French National Association for Research and Technology and Novancia Business School.

The Australian challenge is supported by the French Embassy in Australia; the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; the Australian Academy of Science; The Australian National University; and the Australian and French business communities. Engineers Australia is also a supporter.