Spacecubed incubates innovators

You could be looking at the next wave of home-grown self-made millionaires.

These young entrepreneurs are just a handful of local innovators trying to navigate their way through the minefield that comes with starting a business.

But with a little help from an 18-month-old initiative called Spacecubed - and projects such as the StartUp weekend - they have a little more confidence.

Spacecubed, on St Georges Terrace, allows entrepreneurs or self-employed to rent out a desk, develop their ideas and, hopefully, gain funding. It is the brainchild of Brodie McCulloch.

The space also hosts the StartUp Weekend initiative, which took place yesterday. Participants are pushed to polish an idea in 24 hours and pitch it to venture capitalists over the weekend.

It is part of the StartUp Spring festival, with events over the next month exposing start-ups to a broader audience.

In resources-centric Perth, it is a tougher environment to attract an investor willing to back a tech start-up.

GeoMoby founder Chris Baudia said funding was a battle.

"I've been pitching to investors once a week for eight weeks and because they're used to investing in mining and resources, they don't really understand technology start-ups," he said.

"The mentality is changing a little in Perth, but it's still really hard, particularly with the dotcom boom fresh in their minds."

Mr Baudia is developing a platform to deliver highly targeted messages to mobile users when and where they are relevant, a process called "geo fencing" in the tech world.

Mr Baudia, Ania Niedzwiadek, head of Fundifest - a business designed to help artists find and submit grant applications - and Estelle Oliveri, who runs Eternal Eve, a global listing of beauty, hair, medical and alternative therapy businesses, won scholarships to work in the Spacecubed building for free. They said it was an ideal working environment to formulate ideas.

Osric Powell, also a scholarship winner, is developing an online marketplace for Op shops called Op Rock. He said Spacecubed had opened doors.

"You can do this stuff from home, but being able to share the energy and realise there are other people like you who are working really hard, but not really getting any money, helps a lot."

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