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14 February 2018

Three passionate Queenslanders have embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thanks to scholarships to attend the 2018 MIT Innovation & Entrepreneurship Bootcamp at QUT in Brisbane.

The scholarships, which are funded by QUT and Advance Queensland, will enable Murray Saylor, Suhyun Kweon and Max Wasley to mix it with the world’s best from February 10 to 16.

This year’s world-renowned bootcamp has the “Future of Sustainability” as its theme and challenges participants to do no less than help save the planet.  In particular, they will be asked how to use technology to solve challenges in the environment, agricultural and mining sectors.

  • More than 120 participants have been selected from a highly-competitive field of applicants
  • They will be put through the rigors of a one-year MIT Entrepreneurship course, condensed into a seven-day action-based learning experience
  • Each full scholarship covers the US$6000 bootcamp fee, with one specifically awarded to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island participant.

For Murray Saylor (pictured right) his call to arms has been a desire to challenge negative stereotypes about Indigenous Australians, create his own destiny, and facilitate empowering partnerships with people, communities and businesses.

The former Army Reserve Lieutenant has more than 15 years’ experience in strategic and operational roles in the public and private sector, including mining, and runs his own Brisbane-based, sustainability-minded consultancy – Tagai Management Consultants.

“I have experienced the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship that’s allowed me to follow a passion to create commercial and social value within the diverse communities I work with,” he said.

“This MIT bootcamp is an opportunity for me to continue my development as an entrepreneur amongst likeminded global village enablers.

“We cannot focus just on environmental sustainability without considering its symbiotic relationship to social and economic sustainability.”

Fellow scholarship recipient Suhyun Kweon is a QUT optometry student who is focused on solving issues associated with an ageing population – and reducing health inequalities between developed and developing nations.

Her international experience includes exchange scholarships to China and she’s just returned to Brisbane this week after an internship with the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

“As a person who moved to Australia ten years ago, the MIT Bootcamp scholarship means a lot more than anything and I have a responsibility to share that knowledge,” she said.

She’s experienced the highs and lows of having a brilliant idea and trying to turn it into a reality after her team won first prize in last year’s Brisbane’s Climathon.

“That was the moment when I had realized that we could not simply achieve our dream without being practical – it’s simply not one’s brilliant idea that changes our world, but rather, the additional serious consideration of the finance, marketing and the implementation of that idea,” she said.

L-R: Max Wasley, QUT Acting Vice-Chancellor Carol Dickenson and Suhyun Kweon

 

Social entrepreneur Max Wasley is also heading to the MIT bootcamp on a scholarship.

With a background in electrical engineering, he runs Youth Without Borders, a youth-led organisation that aims to build leadership and confidence in young people who face cultural, geographical and financial barriers.

He’s faced plenty of steep challenges in the past – including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in December – and says he is ready for whatever the bootcamp throws at him.

“Sustainability in all regards is more important now than ever,” he said. “Consumers are choosing to purchase with their wallet - sustainable supply-chains that don’t require sweat-shops in India, biodegradable packaging, reducing impact on the environment in everyday life are all important considerations for what people buy, and where they live.

“To ensure Queensland’s success going into the future, we need to create a beautiful, sustainable state that people want to live in - now and in 50 years.”

Media note: Photos of Max Wasley and Suhyun Kweon have been taken with QUT Acting Vice-Chancellor Carol Dickenson. Photos are available via Flickr.
 

Media contacts:
Debra Nowland, QUT Media, 07 3138 1150 (Mon/Wed/Thurs) or media@qut.edu.au
After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901

 

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