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‘I’ve waited 5 years to be here!’ – The global reach and love of our startup programs!

22 February 2024 kicked off the first of our 2024 Pre-flight pre-accelerator sessions, with over 40 aspiring founders embarking on a journey of entrepreneurship right here at Western’s Parramatta Engineering and Innovation Hub. This two-day workshop saw participants come from as far as India and South Africa and as local as from within the Launch Pad office itself to test and develop their startup ideas alongside our expert Entrepreneurs-in-Residence!  

Pre-flight 2024 Cohort #6

One of these participants, Heather Jenkins, has only been in Australia for three weeks (travelling all the way from South Africa!) but has waited 5 years to be here and take part in all that Launch Pad and Western Sydney University has to offer. Now commencing a postgraduate degree with Western in Art Therapy, Heather says her master’s degree and this program (hopefully with Ignition admission to follow!) are allowing her to fulfill her dream of developing a startup in art therapy, commenting that Western and Launch Pad have provided opportunities that weren’t possible and didn’t exist back home. 

“It all begins with you.”
Ian Mason
Entrepreneur in Residence
Atharva Jyotishi sharing his startup idea with other members of the Pre-flight cohort, Heather Jenkins (left) and Nikki Meller (right)

Atharva Jyotishi, another participant in Pre-flight, also travelled from India to participate in Launch Pad’s startup programs, possessing an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and Western so all-consuming that he, whilst still jetlagged after only 2 days in Australia from India, arrived to Pre-flight an hour early – “Western provides opportunity”.  

Atharva, like the rest of our aspiring founders, jumped at the chance to partake in Pre-flight’s invaluable startup development activities lead by our Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ian Mason, and supported by two other of our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, Adeline Chu (self-proclaimed corporate escapee) and Jonathon Wolfe (self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur) – participating in individualised activities such as persona-building exercises, value proposition-building exercises and prototyping, as well as group and audience activities including customer ‘cold call’ interview simulations and idea pitching. 

“It is expensive and tough when a business fails, these programs provide a guard rail to help guide startup success.”
Adeline Chu
Entrepreneur in Residence
Founders working together on activities as part of the startup creation process

This is why Pre-flight is loved by so many even drawing in a participant as local as from within the Launch Pad HQ itself! Nikki Meller, Western Sydney University alumni and Founder and Director of CREDuED – an online education-based startup, has been currently operating out of the Launch Pad office and looking to upscale her business – thinking to look no further than Pre-flight to develop her idea’s viability. 

“Step into being uncomfortable.”
Jonathon Wolfe
Entrepreneur in Residence
Participants presenting their group-developed elevator pitches after a collaborative activity

Similar can be said for another one of our locally sourced participants, Biswanath Dutta – being referred to Launch Pad’s Pre-flight and Ignition programs, as well as wider events, after the completion of his course with Sydney School of Entrepreneurship – concluding that our events had “the most amount of opportunity and value”, ‘stalking’ our events page and announcements since October 2023, just waiting for the chance to partake in our Pre-flight and Ignition programs. 

Biswanath, Nikki, Atharva and Heather, along with the rest of the Pre-flight participants, left the two-day workshop with a wealth of knowledge, business pitch and workable prototype (not to mention a new network of like-minded individuals) – ready to test their new startup product with potential customers. 

Pre-flight 2024 Cohort #6

Look out for our next Pre-flight event on Launch Pad Live and share in the global reach and local love of this program! 

“You will build whatever you intend to measure.”
Ian Mason
Entrepreneur in Residence

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.