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Bond start-up offers painless saving scheme

With 43 per cent of the Australian population failing to save and university students battling to make ends meet, a Bond University commerce and law student has created a business start-up designed to turn petty cash into big dollars.

Toby Speck’s business model is based on young consumers making a small contribution, between 20 cents and $2, into a savings vehicle every time they make a purchase, enabling them to save between $600 to $1000 a year.

His start-up, called 'Spare', will see deposits invested in managed funds that are designed to provide returns three or four percentage points higher than those available in standard saving accounts.

Toby is one of eleven students to take part in the Bond Business Accelerator, a new entrepreneurial program designed to provide practical skills to commercialise and teach the next generation of leaders to think creatively in a fast-changing global business environment.

“Spare is an automated savings system that does the saving for you and provides a much better rate of return than what is available through traditional financial institutions,” said Toby.

“By contributing small amounts automatically each time you make a purchase consumers can have savings accounts that are no longer vacant, and with higher returns, they end up with a sizeable investment.

“Through our initial customer development process we have calculated that on an annual basis consumers will end up with somewhere between $600 to $1000 that they would not have previously had.

“With our key target market being 18 to 25 year olds, who have a lot less capital and cash flow than working counterparts in the 26 to 49 market, this amount of money has significant value."

Spare will cost its customers $2 a month and hopes to deliver between a four to six percent return.

Toby said the business model was based on Spare using conservative managed funds that have high liquidity.

“We will be using a very conservative approach and while funds will be very liquid we believe that the majority of savers will let their nest egg build up over time,” he said.

“Of course if they want to take funds out or want to contribute more they can, but the real benefit will be in letting the small amounts accumulate over a 12-month time frame or longer.”

Toby, who has been at Bond University on a scholarship since September 2014, has fine-tuned his business model through the Bond Business Accelerator program which he undertook as part of his studies.

"The Bond Business Accelerator has been instrumental in the development of Spare; not only am I earning credit points that contribute to my overall degree, but I am also actively working on my own venture that I will hopefully grow into a commercially viable business," he said.

"The skills that I have learnt throughout the program have been invaluable, it has given me the practical skills to take Spare through the development of its go-to-market minimum viable product."

The Bond Business Accelerator program is led by Bond University Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr Baden U’Ren alongside Program Manager Tres West, and is overseen by a board of top advisors and mentors including iQFunds founder/director Rick Anstey, Silicon Lakes chief  executive officer Aaron Birkby, and Lutz and Associates principal Steven Lutz.

Dr U’Ren said the program aimed to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and give them the necessary skills to take their business idea from conception to reality.

"The Bond Business Accelerator is basically a 'business bootcamp' where business ideas can be researched, developed and commercialised into a ready-to-launch enterprise with assistance from industry leaders," he said.

"Our mentors have all met the challenges and overcome the obstacles of creating a business from scratch, so the expertise they provide is of significant benefit to our students in helping them explore different possibilities and understanding the practicalities of bringing an idea to market."

Dr U'Ren said the program focused on developing the core skills of entrepreneurship, and was open to members of the public to take part.

"In addition to students, the Bond Business Accelerator program is open to existing small businesses and individuals looking to develop their start-up dreams," he said.

"In today's competitive workplace, entrepreneurial skills such as the ability to think creatively, adapt and make fast-decisions are essential for success."

For more information on the Bond Business Accelerator Program, visit http://bond.edu.au/bond-business-accelerator.

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