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Bond puts students on the path to brilliance

It was a gap in the market that drove Bond University student Jonathan Colak to develop a bespoke line of men's stationery, and his business has been given a well-deserved boost after taking out first prize in an entrepreneurship competition orchestrated by Bond University and the Helensvale Technology Group.

The 'In Pursuit of Brilliance Entrepreneurship Competition' invited six Bond students to pitch their entrepreneurial start-up ideas to the Helensvale Technology Group directors, Paul Gunther and Tim Tocco, with the winner offered an internship with the award-winning company as well as a $5000 cash prize to kick-start their business.

Jonathan took out the top spot with his pitch for B├╝roMan - German for 'Office Man' - a company that creates stylish stationery for men.

He will start his 12 week internship in September where he will have the opportunity to work alongside the Helensvale Technology Group directors across all facets of the business from finance to sales to marketing, in order for him to learn the skills to develop a successful business.

The judging panel were so impressed with the level of competition that they extended an offer to each of the remaining competitors to spend an afternoon with the executive team at the Helensvale Technology Group to further their respective business ideas.

The students who placed first, second and third also took home an HTC One MP smart phone and HTC One M9 Dotview Case, valued at $1254.

Jonathan, who is in his third-year of a law and commerce degree at Bond, said his inspiration came from an inability to find any suitable stationery he liked on the market.

"I was looking for a notepad I liked and could use, and after hunting around in shops and online with no luck, the idea for B├╝roMan was born," he said.

"The first product I have designed is the Ochre Notebook - a cork notepad I have developed and produced with a supplier. After bringing my sample product into my pitch to the Helensvale Technology Group I made six sales in the room which felt like a good sign.

"Competing in 'The Pursuit of Brilliance' has really helped me to accelerate my business and has given me the incentive to push forward. Up until now it has been more of an afterthought, but after the feedback from the judges I have the confidence to take it to the next level.

"The next step for BüroMan is to start selling it. I've got the design, supplier and product ready to go so now it's a matter of how to take it to the market, so the $5000 prize money will be instrumental in kicking off this next phase.

"Being able work alongside the team at the Helensvale Technology Group and try my hand at every area of their successful business will be truly invaluable in the development of my business and career, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity."

Mr Gunther said the ideas presented by each of the competitors were exceptional.

"From the very first presentation we were blown away by the business concepts and the level of preparedness the students had for their ideas," he said.

"Jonathan had really done his homework in terms of his target market and where he could potentially take B├╝roMan, and we are very excited about working with him to bring his dreams to fruition.

"Every person in the judging room made a purchase of Jonathan's notebook which is a good indicator of the quality of his brand and product.

"To all of the competitors we have said we'd love to continue to support them along the way and we're more than happy to take a phone call or spend some time working on their proposals."

Mr Gunther said this was the first year the competition had run, but he planned for it to become an annual event.

"We try to encourage entrepreneurship within our own business and we have a lot of staff at the Helensvale Technology Group who have been with us a long time and whose great ideas actually helped drive and create our business from scratch, which we are very proud of," he said.

"Seeing what was happening at Bond around entrepreneurship we were really keen to jump onboard and work with students to help the next generation of business leaders get their ideas off the ground."

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