Name: Dan Smith
Positon at NVI: Business Engagement Manager
Why is entrepreneurship important?
Entrepreneurship is the great leveller. It has little respect for your social status, ethnicity, sex or religion. There are of course some barriers but generally speaking entrepreneurs make their own opportunities in this life, and in the process impact the world around them.
Have you ever had a business idea?
Every day. That’s the easy part.
I ran a couple of businesses in my 20s. The one that benefitted me the most was actually the one that didn’t work! I licensed some IP from the University (Flinders) following my honours year and started growing and exporting Sturt’s Desert Pea cut flowers. Over 2 years I leased a farm, employed 2 people and exported to a dozen countries. It was a great ride before the whole thing came crashing down. I learned a lot. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is actually the best (ok, second best).
What is the best way to get involved with entrepreneurship?
Have a go. I do recommend doing some sort of basic primer workshop or program (this will get you moving faster) and definitely try to find a mentor who can guide you.
NVI offers the Venture Dorm program which leads you through developing and testing your business model as well as providing access to a mentor.
What projects have you worked on at NVI?
As the Business Engagement Manager my role is to connect existing businesses to the University. I have worked on student consulting projects for industry where you can access a team of students adding capacity and knowledge to your business (Flinders Enterprise Consulting) and currently investigating matching government funding sources for SMEs to access R&D as well as technical solutions from the University.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I breed and show tropical fish, particularly Angelfish. I am currently working through a 3 year project (1 year to go) to re-create a particular colour combination developed overseas but not available here.
In 2015 I took out the Supreme Grand Champion Aquarium Fish Exhibit at the Royal Adelaide Show.
What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
I collect Lego. Yes, and breed fish. Ok, move along now nothing more to see here.