Our entrepreneurs-in-training have been busy coming up with fantastic ideas to build their entrepreneurial toolkit through the first semester of their University of Melbourne, Master of Entrepreneurship unit, Garage Project.

Here at the Wade Institute, we deliver immersive education programs to accelerate learning, creation and connection. Whether by giving educators the skills, experience and confidence to teach entrepreneurship in their classrooms through UpSchool, or by enabling investors to harness best practice tools for venture capital decision making in VC Catalyst, our programs are guided by the principle of learning by doing.

And it’s no different for the Master of Entrepreneurship cohort, who have just completed their first semester of study. The course’s units are immersive by design, and from the get-go students are thrown in the deep end, taking part in ‘Garage Project’ to try their hand at building an entrepreneurial venture in the real-world environment. The unit tasks teams with putting start up and design thinking principles into practice and challenges them to design and build a small-scale enterprise that is capable of trading for the semester.

For this year’s cohort, things have been a little different, as they’ve had the added complication of a global pandemic, and remote learning. But they’ve certainly risen to the challenge, coming up with some super creative, and successful, businesses.

Komal Sajid and Katrina Gaskin are the brains behind Hey Genie, a DIY soap which aims to make the self-hygiene experience more fun and engaging for kids, and stress-free for parents and guardians.

While the original concept was for DIY hand sanitizers, the run on ingredients in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic meant Komal and Katrina had to rethink their idea. But hurdles are made to be jumped over, and they were quick to pivot, create their product and get out to their customers.

‘What was really great is that we just had to jump in there and whip something up,’ Katrina said.

‘I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so being challenged to get something out there as quick as we could was super valuable for me.’

Over the course of the project, Komal and Katrina sold $603 worth of product to customers, collecting feedback and ideas along the way.

‘It was absolutely exhausting but I came out of every class feeling so energised and ready to apply those learnings to our project’ Komal said.

And while the unit might be finished, the same can’t be said for Hey Genie, with Komal and Katrina still hard at work putting feedback to use to improve things which matter to their customers.

For the other teams as well, the learning journey continues, and they’re all working on improving on the first iterations of their products. Here’s hoping we see their businesses in the mainstream one day soon!