Empowering entrepreneurs at Deakin University

The 2019 SPARK Deakin Awards

The 2019 Inaugural SPARK Deakin Awards seeks to highlight the work, achievements, and dedication of individuals and social entrepreneurs who have contributed to the creation of a thriving society through innovation and entrepreneurship. The Award categories are: 

Each Award winner will be announced at the SPARK Deakin 2019 Accelerator Demo Day at the Melbourne Museum on Thursday 5 September 2019. 

Meet the nominees below: 


SPARK Deakin Advocate Award

The SPARK Deakin Advocate Award gives recognition and appreciation to a past or current SPARK Deakin volunteer mentor that has shown a commitment to advancing the entrepreneurial development of the SPARK Deakin community through engagement and support of the program.


Olga Hogan, Senior Commercial Manager at Deakin University

For the way she engaged with the whole SPARK Deakin team and Accelerator cohort to encourage an environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. Olga has given 1:1 support for all teams, providing in-depth behavioural profiling, and running workshops to develop a more understanding and skilled members of society.

Olga’s dedication to entrepreneurship and personal development has made a tremendous impact to the SPARK Deakin program.


Kate Givoni, Development Manager at Xero

For her empathy, attentiveness and efforts going the extra mile to support SPARK Deakin teams. Kate has outdone her expectations by going above and beyond to support her mentees through her attentiveness, empathy, and respect. Whilst she is highly achieved and senior in her professional roles, her mentees always felt like equals and supported without judgement.

Kate’s proactiveness and support highlights what a great mentor looks like.

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John Sherwood, Co-Founder and CTO of Gleam.io

For his consistent efforts to go above and beyond to support the startups in our program. John has demonstrated deep care in providing generous and pragmatic technical advice to support SPARK Deakin accelerator teams. John has committed a great amount of his time to help his mentees build their product.


Leo Trieu, founder of Code4Startup

For his enthusiasm and support of the SPARK Deakin program and his support of diverse founders. Leo is a Deakin Alumni and former international student who has gone off to create great achievements with his startup, Code4Startups. Leo brings unique knowledge to the SPARK Deakin community as an alumnus of the 500 Startups Accelerator (U.S.A.) program, and investor in tech startups.


Deakin Staff Entrepreneurship Award

The SPARK Deakin Staff Entrepreneurship Award gives recognition to Deakin University Staff who have demonstrated their commitment to education through their support of student innovation, either through supporting students’ growth or role-modelling entrepreneurial behaviours. This award is co-presented by Kean Selway, Chief Operating Officer of Deakin University.


Summer Yu, Work Integrated Learning Officer - Business and Law

For her dedication spearheaded the Startup Ideation Work Integrated Learning program. Through her hard work and efforts, she has been instrumental in paving a new pathway to entrepreneurship for Deakin University students.


Ally Wimmer, Procurement Engagement Strategist

For her commitment to creating an empowering, engaging, and sustainable Deakin. Ally proactively engages and encourages students to pursue social entrepreneurship in Geelong. We recognise her dedication to empowering the community here at Deakin.


Daniel Steen, Cloud Consultant

For his work with students in co-designing innovative solutions in the university experience. Daniel is a big supporter of innovation by being an early adopter of the services and technologies developed by Deakin founders.


Hamid Abdi, Senior Lecturer - Engineering

For his efforts in going above and beyond to encourage his students to pursue entrepreneurship. Hamid consistently collaborates together with SPARK Deakin to bring in entrepreneur guest lecturers to inspire his engineering students. Hamid is a UNESCO entrepreneurship award winner and the lead engineer of innovative Deakin Smart School Bag and AI on Chip projects.


Deakin Student Rising Entrepreneurs

The SPARK Deakin Student Award recognises Deakin University students who have shown a commitment to developing their entrepreneurial skills and contributing to their community with a passion to grow with purpose. This award is co-presented by LaunchVic.


Nanisha Rajadurai, Bachelor of Commerce

For her demonstrated enthusiasm and efforts to develop her entrepreneurial skillset through programs and activities offered by SPARK Deakin and the Melbourne startup community. We recognise Nanisha's for her proactiveness, focus, and ambition.


Samuel Alexander, Bachelor of Engineering

For his achievements as founder of Samytronix, an open ended STEM tool with 2 products: Samytronix NANO, a learning platform that is powered by an Arduino Nano. It is designed to help beginners (or experts wanting to review) learn and grasps Arduino programming concepts quicker and easier.

Samy-pi, a Raspberry Pi powered DIY computer kit, is a tool to that has helped kids learn to code and understand how computers work.


Harry Martin, Bachelor of Information Technology

For his work in Augmented Reality. Harry has demonstrated his belief that technology has the potential to augment our abilities and lives in a constructive way. We recognise his efforts to bring safe and educational health and fitness advice to all individuals, including those who cannot afford traditional personal training. Harry’s ability to recognise a problem and see it as a potential for creating change, and going ahead to bring about the change, illustrates the entrepreneurial spirit.


Tomorrow Duong, Bachelor of Computer Science

For his enthusiastic involvement at SPARK Deakin. Tomorrow, a student in his first trimester of his undergraduate degree, has already shown himself to be devoted bettering himself and improving the world around him. Through his attendance at SPARK Deakin events, his contagious enthusiastic energy and his ability not just to listen, but to act on advice he is give, Tomorrow has shown that he understands and is willing to commit to the hard work involved in business. After attending mentoring session, Tomorrow has actioned the feedback he was given and has already seen results.

Tomorrow’s active interest in entrepreneurship and making the most of his university experience is motivating to watch and exciting to be a part of.


SPARK Social Impact Award

The SPARK Social Impact Awards gives recognition to an entrepreneur in the the early stages of their work that supports the creation of a thriving society. Nominees come from all sectors including social impact, environmental impact, startups or business. This award is co-presented by That Startup Show.


Beau Arnfield, Co-Founder & Director of Spair Pair (Deakin University Alumnus)

For his efforts in bridging the gap between socio-economic status. Spair Pair is a social enterprise that designs and sells high quality, ethical, sustainable and aesthetic undergarments. With a ‘buy one give one’ mode, Spair Pair is breaking barriers between social statuses by having the purchaser of the original pair and the receiver of the duplicate wear identical clothing items.

Starting Spair Pair, Beau and his co-founder, Josh, are changing lives one pair of socks at a time.


Roseanne Rofaeel, Founder of Christmas on the Streets

For her commitment to supporting people experiencing homelessness, a world-wide under-represented community. Christmas on the Streets (COTS) is a not-for-profit organisation that aids those who are homeless, on the verge of homelessness or experiencing poverty by providing food, clothes, sanitary items, gifts and companionship to individuals or communities that are in need.

Through founding COTS, Roseanne highlights the determination of young Australians and the great impact they can have on the world.


Steph Huang, Founder of Homegirls

For her work in supporting migrant and refugee women in their journey of financial independence and creative expression. Homegirls does more than sell jewellery, it creates meaningful connections. Through this community of refugee and migrant women, Homegirls connects women seeking refuge and asylum with local designers to create and sell jewellery to the Australian market.

Through Homegirls, Steph is bridging the gap that refugee and migrant women experience in Australia.

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Chris Burnett, Strategist at Melbourne SOUP

For his passion and efforts in building a community of people interested in doing good. Melbourne SOUP is a bi-monthly event that brings people together for a wholesome evening of connecting, and provides a platform for Melbournians with ideas and projects that have a social and/or environmental benefit. SOUP supports individuals, community groups, social enterprises and charities.

In creating this community, Chris has allowed for socially and environmentally conscious people to find a home and connect in meaningful ways.