After being successfully run in several other regions, IBM’s Global Entrepreneur program has been extended to cover Australia and New Zealand.
The IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative has been designed to provide support and resources to emerging business so that they are able to make their big idea a reality.
IBM ISV and developer relations regional executive, David Mast, said the call from senior management based in Shanghai to begin the job of rolling out the Global Entrepreneur program in A/NZ came before Easter this year.
“As it turned out, we were on the edge of hiring someone new into the team, so we gave that person the responsibility,” he said.
Australia is one of a couple of countries that is now making its way into IBM's program, which has been running for several years now.
“The concept was born out of IBM Ireland, a country many know as being innovative, before IBM as a whole picked up on the program,” Mast said.
Despite IBM running the Global Entrepreneur program for the first time in Australia, he said it was “ramped up quickly.”
“Someone made their mind up that this would be our year and IBM worked quite quickly to make it happen,” he said.
“We had the resources, we had the interest, and we figured also that whilst we are one of the last countries to introduce it, we had a significant support from Ireland and Silicon Valley.”
Since IBM locally could make use of the knowledge gained from the other worldwide events, Mast says that the local setup did not require the normal lead time to get it up and running.
The Global Entrepreneur program is aimed at startups that are only a few years old.
Mast said there is a registration process, followed by the checking of applications to ensure that they are within IBM’s Smarter Planet context.
IBM then provides certain services to support these companies.
“Come September, we will hold one of several Smart Camp onramps in Sydney,” he said.
“Five finalists will have an opportunity to pitch their concept to a panel of senior industry people that can mentor them more than they may have been leading up to the event itself.”
From there, an entry will be chosen on their merits, and they in turn will make their way up to the Asia growth market unit.
The next event will be held in Beijing, China, and the concept there that is considered to be at the top of the heap will then be invited to participate in the final event in Silicon Valley, California, later in the year.
“The top two ideas will be chosen at that event as the IBM Entrepreneur of the Year,” Mast said.
Local finalists will be announced on August 22, and those finalists will have the opportunity to present their business case at the Sydney event held on September 6.