Bond University has recruited one of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs to help its students forge their own path to business success.
Stuart Giles, who alongside wife Cathie Reid co-founded Icon Cancer Group, Epic Pharmacy Group and the Epic Good Foundation, has been named as the inaugural Founder in Residence for Bond University’s Transformer entrepreneurship program.
Mr Giles said he was thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to Transformer, a fee-free extracurricular option for all Bond University undergraduate and postgraduate students.
“I’m really excited by the idea of being able to go back to where it all starts and not just give a little back, but maybe play a role in helping younger entrepreneurs at the start of their journey by sharing what I’ve learnt along the way,” he said.
The role at Bond is the next step in a relationship Mr Giles and Ms Reid have formed with the university over several years, which began when Ms Reid attended a Bond University Yarning Up trip to the Lockhart River Indigenous community, and went on to include sharing an AFL guernsey as co-major sponsors of the Brisbane Lions AFLW team.
The role of Founder in Residence is multi-faceted, overseeing development of the Founder’s Program, strengthening entrepreneurship capabilities and industry networks, and helping secure funding opportunities for student start-up ventures.
But for Mr Giles, it’s the opportunity to increase student engagement and interact with Bond’s students that matters the most.
“The primary objective for me really is to connect with students. Everything else we can hopefully do around that, whether that’s alumni engagement, profile building for the university and the business school, the interaction of the business school with the other faculties across the campus, these are important parts of what we’re doing, but in the main to me it’s going to be about actually connecting with students and helping them work through their first steps.”
As Founder in Residence, Mr Giles will be available to Transformer students for individual coaching and mentoring, as well as acting as a sounding board for business pitches.
Mr Giles and Ms Reid’s current business focus is on their Epic Good philanthropic foundation and family office Arc31.
Transformer director Daniel Abrahams said he was “delighted” to have Mr Giles on board.
“Stuart was a natural choice, he’s been an active supporter of Bond University, but in particular he’s demonstrated the values that Transformer holds dear. His track record of success, his energy and his focus on Indigenous opportunity is what attracted us to him.
“What Stuart brings is this amazing energy, a sense of network, but equally his focus on students. He reflects and reminisces on the opportunity educational transformation gave him, his educational experience, his start-up experience, and I think he’s wanting to pay it forward. He’s very relatable, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Mr Abrahams said over the long-term, Transformer planned to bring in a series of founders, with a particular focus on Bond alumni. A founders forum was also a possibility.