As the world finds a ‘new normal’ living with the pandemic, Dr Ananthram says altered conditions expose new opportunities for those scanning for them.
He says entrepreneurs have high ‘fluid intelligence’, characterised by mental agility and problem-solving, skills that may thrive in a pandemic rather than be derailed by it.
Dr Ananthram is Curtin University’s Dean Learning and Teaching, and the former lead academic facilitator for the Curtin Ignition program. His comments come as Curtin prepares to open applications on May 26, for its Curtin Ignition 2022 program, running from Sunday, September 4 to Friday, September 9.
He says while WA isn’t facing the same crises as other economies, it is vital to encourage entrepreneurship.
“There will be more risk-analysis than usual, before new ideas pop from the thought-bubble and into the process of creating a new product or service. However, support structures remain more than ever, vital enablers of commercialisation,” he says.
“Like the rest of the country, COVID-19 is affecting all businesses in Western Australia – some are benefitting, some are suffering – but what of opportunities for new ventures?
“Several new entrepreneurs in WA have identified business opportunities during the pandemic, leading to a bit of an entrepreneurship boom.
“In fact, a record number of new businesses have been created and registered, not just in WA but across Australia during the pandemic.
“And the record self-employment levels in the state have contributed significantly to the WA economy becoming one of the strongest in the world during COVID-19.
“WA has relied on the mining sector for a long time. We must invest in innovation programs and encourage and support entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, to diversify our economy for future prosperity.
“Universities have had a historic role and societal responsibility for fostering innovation. They’re fertile ground for new ideas, and they have the R&D facilities and the knowledge that supports innovation,” he says.
Curtin’s IP and Commercialisation Director Rohan McDougall, says entrepreneurship programs like Curtin Ignition are very effective.
“They help people with great ideas develop entrepreneurial mindsets and skills, as well as the networks needed to access markets,” he says.
“The programs are helping to develop an entrepreneur ecosystem in WA, but we’re not doing it alone – we have staunch supporters within industry and the community who are determined to see WA thrive.”
Curtin Ignition 2022 will run from Sunday September 4 to Friday September 9 with applications opening Thursday 26 May 2022. For more information, visit the Curtin Ignition website.