A Bendigo-based start-up has been given a boost by winning a place in a new entrepreneurial development program.
The WedgePro team – Jamie Ward, Brenton Massey, Hamish McGregor and Sarah-Jane Kavanagh – are working on a golf training aid that helps golfers improve their short game.
The fledgling business was named the inaugural winner of La Trobe Accelerator, a program that aims to foster start-ups in Victoria.
The prize includes $20,000 and a 12-week mentorship program at La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus, which began this week.
Through the mentorship program, the partners will receive education and advice on how they can further develop their business ideas and get their product to market.
WedgePro was one of 37 applicants to the Accelerator program, which the team discovered during the Bendigo Small Business Festival.
Mr Ward said it was hoped the team’s participation in the program would help fill some of the gaps in their business knowledge, with three of the partners having been police officers and one working in marketing.
“From policing to entrepreneurship is a big shift, really,” Mr Ward said.
He said not only would the program provide mentoring and money, but it would give the business partners access to La Trobe’s various departments, including law, sports, business, engineering and media.
“We’ll be tapping into all of those,” Mr Ward said.
Mr Ward said the WedgePro team identified a gap in the market for such an aid, with most products available aiming to help golfers with their long swing or their putting.
He said the WedgePro aid was designed to help golfers of all standards.
The business partners want to launch their product onto the market in the second half of next year.
Mr Ward said they had plans to target the USA and Japan markets specifically, because of the popularity of the sport in those countries.
They also hope to take the golf training aid to the PGA Merchandise Show in the USA in January 2019.
The WedgePro partners are all keen golfers, with three having met through police golfing events.
Four other teams received prizes of between $7500 and $10,000 from Accelerator for start-up ideas of hand-wagons for sub-Saharan Africa, vital-sign monitoring in India, a tester to detect toxic heavy metals in water, and online marketing.
In total, nine start-ups will undertake the mentorship program.
The La Trobe Accelerator program has been funded by a $1 million grant from the state government’s LaunchVic initiative, which aims to promote the growth of Victoria’s start-up sector.