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From Concept to Creation: Navigating the Path of Entrepreneurship in Western Australia

Picture of Rob Lauchlan

Rob Lauchlan

2022 Mannkal Alumnus

Most people know that Western Australia is home to famous sporting teams like the Perth Wildcats, the West Coast Eagles, and the Fremantle Dockers. What most people don’t know is that Perth is also home to a rapidly growing start-up community that is slowly making a name for itself globally. Spearheading this growth are centres for learning like the Nedlands-based Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation (CERI) which aims to empower start-up founders with design and business fundamentals to help build a successful start-up.

My first introduction to CERI was the April 2022 Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp which I attended as part of my the Mannkal Scholarship Program. The Bootcamp was designed as an intensive two-day course that accelerated participants’ self-discovery of their “why” and their “values”. 

A key moment in the Bootcamp was when CERI founder Charlie Bass relayed a story of how a group of Stanford students turned $5 into $650 in just 2 hours. The students were divided into groups, and each was given $5 dollars of funding. Each group’s goal was to make as much money as possible within a two-hour period and then give a three-minute presentation to the class about what they achieved. Whereas most groups relied too heavily on the $5 to dictate their actions, the most successful groups ignored the $5 completely. The winning team in fact sold their three-minute presentation time to a company interested in recruiting Stanford students and walked away with $650 cash. The story illustrates the importance of framing problems the correct way. The focus should not be the “what” but instead the “why”. Shifting the focus will allow for the discovery of previously unseen possibilities.

The experience of the Bootcamp led me to enrol in CERI’s next course – Concept to Creation (C2C). I signed up for the course to maintain the momentum from the learnings of the Bootcamp and expand on those learnings to develop start-up-related business skills. The course started in April and spanned a length of fourteen weeks.

The C2C cohort was split into six teams under the leadership of a start-up founder. During each weekly session, teams had mini deliverables that related to their specific start-up which helped to solidify the week’s learning outcomes. Session themes included project management, personal branding, building teams, design thinking, lean canvas, intellectual property, corporate structures, accounting, finance, marketing, and how to present. Each week was hosted by a subject matter expert that gave students great insight into each learning objective. Speakers that left a lasting impression on me include Greg Reibe from Perth Angels, Marc Pivac from FBR, David Cannington from Nuheara, and KC Holiday from Better Labs and Solving Hollow.

In the end, the C2C course was an intriguing experience that gave me great insight into understanding the basic factors that help determine the success of a start-up. Armed with this knowledge, I am more confident that one day I will be able to start my own successful business or start-up.

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