I have been asked on several occasions to describe the ON program in one word. Each time my response has been “transformational” but what does that really mean.
Last week I found myself visiting the Taj Mahal and thought this was the perfect way to illustrate what I mean by my one word description.
Now the ON program taking you to the Taj Mahal may seem like a very long bow to draw! I’ll put it into context.
In September of 2017, I and Founder of Diffuse Energy, Joss Kesby, were finishing up a long series of tests on a small scale optimised wind turbine design. This was for his PhD Thesis and I was assisting as part of my normal role at the University of Newcastle. All of the results pointed to the fact that it was seriously efficient with a fairly simple design, back then it was almost entirely 3D printed.
At the time, like most researchers, we were all excited to have gotten some really good results. Joss had an inkling that maybe he could do something with it and had started thinking about commercialisation. Then one day he stumbled across a brochure at a local coffee shop for the CSIRO OnPrime program, he grabbed myself and Samuel Evans as a third member and we put in an application with a “let’s see how it goes” attitude.
By the end of Prime we knew we were on to something and so applied for the follow on OnAccelerate program which began at the start of 2018, again in hindsight, with a somewhat overly nonchalant attitude. I must say though that we did go into it with open minds ready to take everything we could from the experience.
This mindset got us through boot-camp and onto the program. What happened next was a 12 week whirlwind of mentoring, pitching, business planning, network building, learning and learning with some more learning. With the three of us exiting with a pretty clear plan, not only of what we needed to do, but how we needed to do it. Left to our own devices I can’t even imagine how we could have accomplished the same at all let alone that quickly.
This set us off on a pretty steep trajectory, soon after winning a Jobs for NSW MVP grant which we have used to set up part of the commercial manufacture. Best of all we know we can reach out to the ON team for meaningful support at any time.
We were chosen to represent a delegate of Australian Start-ups supported By the ON program and CSIRO in Singapore last September and again made numerous contacts in the SE ASIAN market.
Late last year I applied to attend the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship’s India Boot camp. This is a 10 day tour though 4 of India’s start up hot-spots and is designed to better understand the Indian start up and business landscape. It is supported by Zone Start-ups in Mumbai and NSW Department of Industry. To the end of this trip I included a week in Delhi so I could catch up with some contacts I’d made through the network I’d built over the past 12 months.
And, you guessed it, a sneaky side trip to the Taj Mahal.
So, if we hadn’t done that application in September 2017, would I have visited the Taj Mahal last week? No way.
I also probably wouldn't be the co-founder of a clean-tech startup, spending an amazing fortnight in India seeking and understanding opportunities for our technology with scale that will blow your mind.