For someone with a range of innovative ideas, who, in his job often sees businesses facing hard times, Startup Shakeup was both a personal and professional opportunity for Callum.
Some businesses run into difficulty, so I was keen to see what new systematic approaches were being used to create viable startup businesses that might even potentially go global.
Tell us about your idea or startup.
What I wanted was a way to do instant camping in my backyard. I applied new science to make camping more comfortable, better for my health, the planet and all at minimal cost. The fruit and vegetable garden it rolls through is a specially designed permaculture system and was partly inspired by the tiny house movement. Imagine a room so small that it gives you a larger outlook and fresher air and does not have to be waterproof. You can change the thickness and type of wall, ceiling and window panels according to the position of the sun and the weather. The tent is on really small wheels so it can be moved into the shed easily during rain events. I also worked out, if I grew a shade tunnel of vines, then it would be a pleasant way to cool the air. So, it’s a bit like a bird hide – you are there, up close with the greenery and wildlife. Catherine Macmillian, Business Development Coordinator at Benalla Council, told me about the program. My day to day work is involved in looking at food and accommodation businesses, that’s why I’m so interested in eco-tourism.
What were you looking for when you came to Startup Shakeup?
The best innovation often comes out of hardship and some people need a “shakeup” to get them to make an innovative effort. Some businesses run into difficulty, so I was keen to see what new systematic approaches were being used to create viable startup businesses that might even potentially go global.
Please describe what Startup Shakeup did for you?
I made links to some other members of the community that had similar ideas on some related topics. There was a huge amount of skill, expertise and good-will in the room, just from our local communities and well facilitated with external expertise.
What has changed in your business and/or life as a result of Startup Shakeup?
Some of my ideas have got closer to being ready to launch. On all fronts, I have managed to make progress. The camping idea is pretty heavy going as there isn’t an instruction manual on how to do what I want to do. I’m trying to keep the cost down because then that’s going to help a lot more people.
Where to next for you?
I’m going to keep working on my ideas. Different ones will take various amounts of time. I am ready to take my prototypes further and maybe see if local schools would like to help with the inspiring and original science.
What is the benefit of Startup Shakeup to our region?
The benefits are really for anyone with an innovative idea. It gave me motivation, I got really good feedback and it put me in touch with professional people who could really help.
What is your advice to other people in startup mode/other entrepreneurs?
Startup Shakeup has helped me professionally. I’m now seeing things in a different light and feeling like I’m making progress on all the ideas I walked in with.
I’d say, talk to your council’s business development coordinator. I am trying to work much more closely with them because I see they really are the first port of call for any business or development proposal.