Dreams closer to reality

Catalyst participants celebrate their graduation.

Catalyst participants celebrate their graduation.

Six Mid West people and ventures with big dreams are a step closer to seeing their dreams reach reality after completing the Catalyst pre-accelerator training program with Pollinators.

The group of six start-ups embarked on the three-month program to learn the business skills to transform their dreams from idea to reality.

They also had the chance to pitch their ideas to big-gun investors as part of the Greater Geraldton Investment Showcase.

Catalyst facilitator Fleur Porter said she was amazed to see the growth experienced in such a short time period.

“Facilitating the Catalyst process was like joining people and their ventures on a journey of incredible growth,” Ms Porter said.

“Watching them learn, expand their thinking, connect with and support each-other and then extend their ideas beyond what they originally thought possible was a very cool process to be involved in.

“I’m very excited about what is possible for the graduates and their ventures, and what they will bring to our community.”

Pollinators chairman Paul Dyer said it was such ventures who would contribute to making the Mid West healthy and resilient.

“At Pollinators our mission is to nurture innovations and people that enable healthy, resilient communities, which is why we facilitate a range of learning opportunities throughout the year: for early-stage commercial ventures, NFPs looking to be more enterprising, and corporates looking to be more innovative,” Mr Dyer said.

“In the future it will be innovative ideas like these ones that contribute to making our region the healthy and resilient place we dream it can be.”

Participants sought to grow ventures ranging from social initiatives to traditional businesses.

They learned everything from honing their value propositions and writing business plans to marketing and pitching to investors. 

Graduate Emma Jackson, who worked on her social venture Scinapse, said Catalyst had enabled her to be more strategic and focused on numbers, customers and customer needs and desires.

“This process challenged me to get out and actually call people up and make connections, which helped me to tweak my ideas,” Ms Jackson said.

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council employee Sarah Samulkiewicz-Taylor sought to grow her ‘Elevate Your Impact’ Initiative through the Catalyst program.

“Catalyst was all about legitimising my idea and realising there are other people who will come on board with your ideas,” she said.

“Although I knew I was responsible for my own outcomes, I felt supported to do the work, even the uncomfortable and challenging parts.”

Vaughan Masters from Masters IT said Catalyst taught him to become creative and think outside the square about his business while George Ainsley from Ainsley Agroforestry said Catalyst helped him pitch his idea to investors in a succinct and clear manner.

Catalyst was funded thanks to the Mid West Development Commission and Regional Development Australia Mid West Gascoyne, as part of the Mid West Innovation Agenda.

It was supported by the US Embassy Canberra & US Consulate Perth and West Tech who contributed to the Groundswell, conducted by Pollinators.