Welcome to our brand new monthly content series, Staff Spotlight! These interviews are a chance for you to meet the incredible people that work in the Melbourne Entrepreneurial Centre, the gateway to entrepreneurship at the University of Melbourne.
This month, we had the pleasure of chatting to Mim Ingvarson, who is the Program Manager and the brains behind education technology program, Melbourne InnovatEd. A big thank you to Mim for generously agreeing to feature in our first Staff Spotlight!
More about Mim
Mim is originally from Melbourne and has also lived in the US. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching from the University of Melbourne, and has worked extensively both in and with startups over the last two decades.
Mim’s passion has always been in the education space:
“Education is a mission area and you have to believe in it. It's the true leveller for people and an opportunity maker. It's very hard to do things in the world if you can't read and write. Education opens up ideas, creativity and thinking.”
During her time in the US, Mim participated in the New York University StartEd Accelerator, the Female Founders Alliance Seattle and worked on EdTech projects at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She found the Founders Alliance program really engaging because it challenged a lot of the stereotypes around fundraising.
What is Melbourne InnovatEd?
InnovatEd is an incubation program for educational technology (EdTech) innovations focused on higher education.
The program is open to all staff, students and alumni of the University of Melbourne. InnovatEd is designed to incentivise, support and drive the creation and uptake of EdTech innovations within the University.
Describe your journey to MEC and the Melbourne InnovatEd program
I was new to being back in Melbourne, I’d just moved back from the US and the thing that attracted me most to the Program Manager role was this fantastic opportunity to help design a program to solve a University problem.
The University buys a lot of its software from outside Australia, however we have a huge pool of people inside the University with skills and ideas that could be utilised. We needed to figure out how to harness those skills to create solutions for the University’s EdTech needs.
I took a different approach when designing Melbourne InnovatEd. It is not a traditional grant and it’s not just about commercial outcomes. It has been designed for participants to see the University as their first customer, to solve problems in education for members of the University.
The program is different from traditional university or accelerator programs. Once you’ve earned your spot in the program, you negotiate your project plan and hit milestones before receiving your incubation funding. The program is constantly changing and adapting year on year. In a lot of ways, Melbourne InnovatEd is a startup.
What advice would you give to someone moving overseas?
Do it! There is never a good time. Moving outside your comfort zone is a great opportunity, find out what you can do and learn from different people.
If you’re ever thinking about moving to the United States, make sure you see as much of the country as you can; it’s like 50 different countries!
What is your favourite podcast to listen to currently and why?
I am listening to the Philosophy for Beginners podcast from Oxford University - I haven’t studied Philosophy since I was an Undergraduate and I’d forgotten how interesting logic can be!
I keep getting distracted in everyday conversations and find myself analysing and thinking about what someone's argument is really made up of.
We’d like to extend our thanks to Mim for chatting with us this month and we hope you enjoyed learning about the InnovatEd Program as much as we did. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for next month’s newsletter to see who we’ll be putting under the spotlight next time!
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