A private tour of Google HQ is all in a day’s work for an AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholar


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You’re heading into your first year of university and are daunted yet excited about the year to come. You have no clue what is in store but let your mind wander over the possibilities on the horizon. What comes to mind? The places you might get to see on work placement? The friends and future colleagues you are about to make? A trip to San Francisco USA?!

I can wager you didn’t think a trip to sunny California was a stop along the way on your university journey, but it is just one example of what an AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship could do for you.

Horizon scholar, Sam Coggins from the University of Sydney, was among 15 Australian students chosen to attend the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship International Hacker Exchange Start-up Bootcamp in Silicon Valley, California.  The 13-day program took place in December 2017, immersing the young entrepreneurs in the innovative culture of Silicon Valley.

The intensive workshop covered networking in the region, lean start-up principles, product management, market research, recruitment, branding and public relations, growth hacking, pitching, venture capital investing and angel investing.

“We were encouraged to pursue personal interests through public ‘meet ups’ around San Francisco. I went to an IndieBio panel discussion about applications of blockchain technology for life sciences. I learnt about blockchain and the potential role it can play in streamlining and strengthening food supply chains. I met a lot of interesting people including an entrepreneur commercialising a technology to make bees more effective pollinators,” said Sam.

Sam also was lucky enough to score a private tour of company headquarters including Google, Gigster, Wizeline, Thunkable, Eventbrite and Weebly, plus the esteemed Stanford University, a highlight of his trip.

The program encouraged students to apply a new way of thinking and tackling problems. “Agricultural scientists are primarily focused on creating new knowledge while Silicon Valley are primarily focused on applying new knowledge,” said Sam. The students were exposed to principles of the Lean Start-Up that recognises high-risk elements of a business model, and tests the assumptions as if they were a hypothesis. “Learning this has enabled me to think about problems and potential career paths in a different light.”

The trip not only provided Sam and his fellow entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with key American contacts, but also allowed the chance to catch up with fellow Australian’s doing great things in the US. “I met at an Australian working at a tech startup in San Francisco that is determined to bring their cutting-edge services to Australian agriculture. I recently connected him with my friend working in Australia’s mango industry.”

Sam got the opportunity of a lifetime thanks to the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship that provides scholars with financial support, professional development opportunities and opens doors to experts and networks nationally and abroad.

Applications for the 2018 AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship close on Friday 23 February 2018. Successful applicants receive a $5,000 bursary per year for the first two years of their degree, attend the annual Horizon Workshop, participate in industry work placement and network at a range of industry events.

If you are a first year university student studying an agricultural related degree, or in your final two years of study of a financial services discipline with a keen interest in agriculture, then you may be eligible. Agcelerate your future today!

AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship apply now



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