Local innovators use 10-week challenge to test ideas and make an impact

Ever had a brilliant idea but weren’t sure what to do next? Consider yourself an innovator, but don’t have the resources to plan a proper business strategy?

According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, 60 per cent of Australian start-ups fail in their first three years due to poor planning.

In a bid to help entrepreneurs create companies that last, the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) runs a program designed to empower local innovators in making their dreams a reality: the Idea to Impact 10 Week Customer Challenge.

CBRIN’s Innovation Program community officer and lead facilitator of Idea to Impact, Hayley Maddox, says the program offers a flexible space to develop business ideas.

“CBRIN uses lean innovation methods and tools to show participants how to collaborate and work smarter, not harder,” she says.

“We’re not here to tell anyone how to do business because there’s no one right model, but we can show them how best to explore different pathways for growth.

“We do this over five bi-weekly workshops with accountability sessions in between.”

Image of Idea to Impact innovators
Professionals connect each week through workshops and accountability sessions to develop their ideas. Photo: Mude.

Each program round teaches up to 35 people how to pitch their business, implement feedback, use metrics, tackle common challenges, and manage time, money and resources.

“We want everyone to speak with at least 100 customers by the end of the program,” Hayley says.

“Faces go pretty white when I say that on the first day, but their confidence grows as we go over strategies to understand and talk to potential customers in the first few sessions.

“Workshop content deliberately applies to a range of industries so that participants can easily adapt it to their specific project.”

Hayley says anybody can be an entrepreneur with the right support. Bringing an idea to fruition is a lengthy and involved process, but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one.

Idea to impact innovators
Participants try to speak to at least 100 potential customers. Photo: Mude















“Most people start with no idea how to get from A to B,” she says.

“After 10 weeks, they have the skills needed to develop ideas into a thriving business and a clear picture of who their initial customers are.

“Some start to make sales and speak with potential partners before they even finish the program.”

CBRIN exists to see Canberra’s start-up market continue to flourish through collaboration and education. Collaboration occurs naturally in Idea to Impact and often continues after the 10 weeks are up.

“Being a founder can be very isolating, especially in the early days” Hayley says.

“We do see people who connect in workshops stay in contact and end up working together, which I think is just fantastic.

“Creating a sense of community and belonging doesn’t just support start-ups, it also brings new opportunities to existing businesses. We are laying the foundation in Canberra for a stronger, more diverse and relevant business environment that holds its own in competition with the rest of the nation.”

The Canberra Innovation Network will run another round of Idea to Impact workshops in September. Spots are limited, so register your interest here.


Article written by Morgan Kenyon from RiotAct