Entrepreneurial educator lauded

CURTIN Advantage program dir-ector Tracey Hodgkins has been named Best Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year.

Ms Hodgkins founded the Curtin Advantage program that brings together staff, industry and students from across the university into cross-disciplinary teams to work on a range of projects that she has created or that have been developed from student’s ideas.

The program has been running for about 18 months and is focused on developing the entrepreneurial skills of students.

One of its main successes was Styal, a jewellery company formed by 16 Curtin students to take part in Young Achievement Australia.

The company turned over $18,000 in its first nine weeks despite having virtually no capital backing and its members having no business experience.

Styal ended up winning the top prizes at the YAA State Awards including Tertiary Company of the Year, Excellence in Marketing, Media Award, Business Plan Award, Annual Report Award and Blue Chip Award.

Its managing director Jocelyn Stephens also won the Young Bus-iness Person of the Year Award.

Besides her work with Curtin Advantage, Ms Hodgkins also runs the State arm of the Shell Livewire Awards.

Award winners for WA were announced on December 16 and included Curtin Advantage participants Board Control Technologies, which came second and also picked up the innovation award.

Curtin Advantage runs a business incubator for the student entrepreneurs, giving them access to office space and, more importantly, business mentors.

Ms Hodgkins said the program was also hoping to set up some funding arrangements.

"We’re trying to set up a fund so we can help them [the students] start their businesses," she said.

"We can do that to a degree now by helping with funding applications from committees and the like."

Ms Hodgkins said Curtin Advantage was also trying to set up a foundation.

"We want to keep it separate from the university," she said.

"We’ve been working on a partnership with Rotary and Government".

"That foundation will be looking at all levels of entrepreneurship in WA."


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