The Activator program, as it is known, will see seven new centres of learning built across Victoria, Singapore and Vietnam, along with a web portal that will allow students and alumni with a start-up idea to learn a range of skills to help them on their way. These will include financial literacy, market validation and how to pitch to venture capitalists. RMIT is known for specialising in vocational training.
Ian Palmer, RMIT pro vice chancellor and board member for the Activator program, sees the initiative as in keeping with the institution's long-running commitment to entrepreneurship and start-ups.
"We've been working with vocational education and the government's national enterprise incentive scheme for 12 years. We've also had one of the biggest business plan competitions over the last decade and we've cycled more than 4,000 people through that," said Palmer.
"Last year as a university we decided it was really important to provide entrepreneurial skills throughout the university. We know there are less jobs around for graduates and we want to be the one place students can come not just for a qualification, but to have the skills to create jobs and businesses."
RMIT has $7 million at its disposal for investment in the Activator program, which has been in existence for approximately a month. In this time, 500 students have applied to enrol.
The program anticipates being able to handle thousands of students at a time, with applicants assessed according to the stage of development of their start-up idea. They are then placed in the program at an appropriate level and as they progress they can re-enter Activator (and be re-assessed) five or six times in total.
RMIT Activator director Renzo Scacco said, "We'll also run large workshops multiple times a year … which will then pipeline into some boot camps we'll run and then there will be an Activator business school opening next year."
"It has been well planned out and we'll also be running summer schools and for all the workshops people will be able to stream them online, based on the various sections of the program which they're in."
A new program at Melbourne's RMIT is offering free entrepreneurship mentoring and training, with the university set to become the national hub for budding start-up founders.