Software vendor Compuware, Asia-Pacific, is sponsoring a nationwide search for a software entrepreneur with a foolproof e-business concept, offering a startup package to any developer that can fill a gap in the Compuware stable.
The Compuware e-business award offers the winning developer a $10,000 cash development fund, a licence for Compuware's UNIFACE application development environment, as well as training and professional and technical support.
There is also an opportunity for the winning developer to become a part of Compuware's channel program, and the likelihood that, if the project is scalable, the developer can take the licensing to the SME market while Compuware takes it to the corporate market.
Compuware marketing manager Peter Pritchard believes Australian developers have great ideas but lack the venture capital funding and marketing prowess to make a success of their products.
"Unfortunately, when a developer in this country wants to start a business, they go for a second mortgage on their house for funding," he said. "They build a product first, then look for a market, rather than having a concept and trying for funding. Because there is a lack of venture capital investment, developers don't know how to market a product to get more funding.
"Often the owner is a programmer, they hire a couple of people to cut the code, but they don't hire any marketing people," he said. "Some still believe that marketing has no place in building and selling a product," he added.
Pritchard has seen a slight change in the showcase events the vendor sponsors, saying that developers are starting to learn about the virtues of "pizzazz" when presenting products. "But there are still a lot of technically brilliant products at these events that are exhibited on a PC by a person with his back to the people," he said.
Compuware's technical director, Asia-Pacific, Robert Bennett, will judge if the concept is technically feasible and fits within the range of products Compuware sells. Gartner analysts will then decide whether the concept will work on the Internet and the Australian Computer Society management will judge whether the project makes sense as a whole - if it's new and exciting or just another flavour of something that already exists.
Pritchard sees the exercise as both a method of promoting Compuware's development environment among Australian developers and a way of filling out Compuware's product set.
"We are constantly looking for new solutions to fill in the gaps in our portfolio," he said. "So it's a case of, we'll give you the money and the technical support, and [in return] we will get a product no one else has."