RMIT University will help four student businesses to gain footing in the competitive business environment with $25,000 interest-free loans awarded through the latest round of its New Enterprise Investment Fund (NEIF).
NEIF Chairman Eddie McGuire said the latest awards wrapped up a big first year for the program which invested a total of $250,000 in 10 student businesses in 2015.
“Helping to transform great ideas into great businesses is part of RMIT’s DNA,” McGuire said in a media statement.
“RMIT is uniquely placed to produce successful entrepreneurs because of its practical, industry-focused approach to education, training and development.”
Gregory Ward, Manager of RMIT NEIF, said the program highlighted the University’s emphasis on educating and developing graduates to be “work-ready and enterprise-focused”.
“The University is delighted to be able to get behind these exciting businesses in a very practical way through the loan scheme and help them towards greater success,” Mr Ward said, adding that the program also provides business advice and mentoring.
“The financial and practical support offered through the NEIF loan program is part of RMIT’s broader focus on enterprise. RMIT naturally attracts students who are entrepreneurial in their thinking and career minded in their focus. The NEIF interest-free loan scheme is not a means to an end. It provides successful applicants with some ready funds to help them develop their enterprises but it is their ingenuity, dedication and drive that will continue to make their businesses successful.”
The four businesses that will receive $25,000 each in NEIF funding are:
Metta Skincare – manufacturer and marketer of natural and organic skin care products for the growing market of environmentally and socially conscious consumers in Australia and North America. Founder Anca Grigoras – a graduate of the NEIS program at RMIT – said the loan will finance the purchase of equipment, product, packaging, design and photography.
The Young Ones (TYO) – independent publishers of a biannual magazine focused on emerging Australian design. Founded by Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design graduates Patrea Dickinson and Katarina Matic, TYO focuses on the unique Australian design scene and aims to fill a gap created by the visible decline in the print industry. The loan will finance the local publication and marketing of the magazine’s upcoming issues, and development of the TYO business.
MAUDE Studio – an accessories brand creating high-end designer handbags offering conscious consumers an alternative to leather. The majority of the bags are handmade in their Collingwood studio, Melbourne, using locally-sourced materials where possible. Founder and creative director Courtenay Tyrrell will use the loan to support manufacturing expansion, product development and marketing.
The Smoothie Bombs– an on-the-go nutrition-packed healthy breakfast alternative that is quickly produced at home by combining a “bomb” in a blender with a piece of fruit and milk of choice. Founder Cinzia Cozzolino – a qualified nutritionist who came to RMIT as part of the NEIS program – said the funding will enable manufacturing to be moved from a home kitchen to an organic, gluten-free, purpose-built facility and will also assist in the marketing and promotion of the product.