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First steps to commercialising research via Pre-flight

We had a full house at our second Pre-flight startup accelerator program of 2023! 

Spanning over two full days, 19 entrepreneurs chose to delve deeper into the evaluation of their startup ideas. It was refreshing to see a mix of students, staff and researchers from Western Sydney University, students from partner universities, as well as the wider Sydney community to share their similar passion for entrepreneurship.

Pre-flight 2023 Cohort #4

Many attendees from our recent Pre-flight program are actively engaged within the entrepreneurial space, with several participants attending several other programs previously hosted by Launch Pad. Professor Sarah Zhang is no exception.

Jonathon Wolfe kicking off Pre-flight Day 1.
“I feel as though every day, something is happening at WSU. It is such a dynamic university”
Professor Sarah Zhang
Professor of Western Sydney University & Pre-flight Participant

Professor Sarah (Yixia) Zhang is a current Western Sydney University Researcher and Professor from the School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment. She continues to make innovative contributions, with her involvement as the Deputy Chair of Western Sydney University’s Academic Senate as well as Deputy Director of the Urban Transformations Research Centre.

Her recent participation in our Pre-flight, has allowed her to utilise her previous experience as a leading researcher and provided her with the necessary materials needed to commercialise her research.

Alongside her ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability, her research has facilitated a variety of collaborations between the university, industry and government.

Participants discussing their startup ideas.
“I like working on real world problems, solving problems for industry and enhancing products which could bring economic and environmental benefit”
Professor Sarah Zhang
Professor of Western Sydney University & Pre-flight Participant

Like Professor Zhang, many of the individuals who participated in our recent Pre-flight program are continually and actively seeking guidance to develop their startup idea. Entrepreneurs in Residence, Jamie Pride, Jonathon Wolfe, and Joshua Clarkson, tag teamed to host the two-day program, covering topics such as ideation and selection, evaluating the value of their business solutions, all the way to learning how to prototype. Speaking to the participants they enjoyed the different energy and experience that they could see from the different presenters.  

Joshua Clarkson discussing the evaluation of startups.

Practical skills and frameworks were drawn upon to put each session’s learnings to practice throughout collaborative efforts. Several hands-on activities were implemented throughout the program to ensure participants were practically learning, in a way which they could evaluate the value of their idea, network with like-minded individuals and possess the opportunity to learn from real-life entrepreneurs.

Founders working together on activities as part of the startup creation process.

As a result, Professor Zhang beyond the Pre-flight program is now working on refining her concept, selecting highly performative and sustainable materials to be commercialised in the near future.

It is Launch Pad’s ongoing mission to engage with more researchers from the Western Sydney region such as Professor Zhang, with hopes to commercialise their research endeavours.

Only bigger things are yet to come. We cannot wait to see both Professor Zhang and all our Pre-flight participants future success in developing their start-up potential.

They are on the right track to apply for the Ignition Startup Accelerator 2023 – starting in August.

About Pre-flight Startup Pre-accelerator

Designed to be a taster of the 10-week accelerator program ‘Ignition’, ‘Pre-flight’ is a 2-day intensive pre-accelerator experience for people who are curious about entrepreneurship or launching their startup.