Innovation Blooms at St Catherine’s College, UWA

An exciting new collaboration between St Catherine’s College and Bloom, an incorporated not-for-profit founded in 2013, is achieving huge success in the student community. The recently launched BloomLab at St Cat’s provides a dedicated space for young, innovative and entrepreneurial West Australians to create new start-ups, network with other young innovators and re-define the WA economy with a more entrepreneurial culture.

Bloom’s mission is to inspire and encourage young people to start their own ventures in a culture of Flearning (learning through failure). Their aim is to change the way that success is framed for young West Australians – to solve problems which improve society, to find gaps which exist and to apply a different thinking. The BloomLab at St Cat’s will give Bloom a solid base at UWA as they aim to expand a network between Perth’s universities.

Mark Shelton, a current resident of the College, is a founding director of the BloomLab at St Cat’s, and CEO and co-founder of Bloom. “The College’s enthusiasm for innovation and its drive to craft an engaging resident experience has been so valuable in changing the way students perceive innovation and entrepreneurship. The progress has been very rapid and we now have 40 start-ups working from the Lab.”

Their ventures range from developing social discovery applications, to tech innovation, to selling custom-made bowties! One of the BloomLab ventures, Automata, has seen recent success, taking out first prize at the 54-hour ‘Unearthed Hackathon’ against stiff competition from across WA. The Automata team developed an innovative approach to signal processing to identify promising exploration opportunities in mineral sands, with the group in talks with Iluka Resources to develop their idea further.

Aside from providing infrastructure and mentoring services to young entrepreneurs, the BloomLab also runs more than 35 workshop events per semester providing “Skills that Uni Won’t Teach You”. These events are designed to equip young entrepreneurs with the skill set to successfully develop a new business and the BloomLab at St Cat’s has partnered with UWA’s Innovation Quarter to build the UWA student entrepreneur and innovator community. UWA IQ’s role is to help share the enterprise spirit by bringing BloomLab events onto campus and engaging a wider and diverse student community into the innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem.

To find out more visit www.stcatherines.uwa.edu.au