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World-leading innovator to mentor next generation of Tassie startups

Farley Blackman

Melbourne-based innovation catalyst and CEO Farley Blackman is set to inspire and coach teams at simultaneous UHack events spanning three University of Tasmania campuses this weekend.

UHack is a fast-paced innovation competition where participants hack together new business ideas and creatively solve real-life problems.

Mr Blackman (pictured) is the CEO of tech and innovation hub YBF Ventures which has helped hundreds of startups to scale and has facilitated broad innovation for a diverse set of corporates. He previously held executive positions with BP, GE and Motorola, including roles in London, Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Mexico City and throughout the US. Under Mr Blackman’s leadership, YBF Ventures has expanded its base in Melbourne and added a second branch in Sydney.

“This will be YBF’s first UHack and I’m very excited to be part of it as keynote speaker, mentor and judge,” Mr Blackman said.

“Tasmania is a growing centre for entrepreneurship and innovation – it’s an ideal location connecting creative, business and tech skills. This innovation weekend is special because it involves an entire state with creative people beaming in from three locations.”

University of Tasmania’s Information and Communication Technology staff have been organising the energetic events in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart for four years running. This year, artists are encouraged to participate individually or in groups and their creative responses will be judged alongside the tech solutions.

“UHack is not just a techathon or about making apps – it is for creative people of all ages and backgrounds to solve problems that matter and bring something new into the world – and teams get to learn and apply lean business skills in the process,” University of Tasmania Executive Director, University Services Jeff Murray said.

“We need to nurture our startup community for the future of Tasmania. Successful startups create jobs and we need competitive and skilled businesses to compete from here on the world stage.”

Mr Murray said this year’s event has received a record number of registrations across the State.

“We are blown away with three hundred registrations this year from people new to startups, as well as return participants and University students from a wide range of disciplines. It’s getting bigger and bigger year on year.”

UHack 2018 had a record number of team entries and half were return registrations from the year before. The winner of last year’s Open Division was FishBuddy, a father and son team who designed an app to connect recreational fishers and predict when and where to go fishing to maximise the catch.

Teams competing in UHack will attend free-of-charge and are in to win a total of $24,000 in cash and prizes thanks to a whopping 17 sponsors – a 50 per cent increase in sponsorship from last year. Platinum sponsors are Dell and Google Cloud.

“We are very grateful to the sponsors, who are working with us to build a buzzing startup ecosystem for lutruwita/Tasmania,” Mr Murray said.

All three events kick off tomorrow evening at 6pm. At 1pm on Sunday, all developing ceases and teams will pitch their solutions to judges. Official winners and People’s Choice awards for both Open and Student Divisions will be announced at 4:30pm.

Locations of UHack, 6-8 September:

  • Hobart: Level 1 Centenary Building, Sandy Bay campus
  • Launceston: Sir Raymond Ferrall Centre, Newnham campus
  • Burnie: Building B, Cradle Coast campus
Published on: 05 Sep 2019 1:27pm