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Bond's new Transformer competition set to launch budding businesses

Three up-and-coming businesses led by Bond University students have been given a massive boost after each securing $3000 development funding through the university’s new Transformer Launch Pad competition.

The three prizes were taken out by Derek Scolnick’s Tusk Toothpowder, Urooba Aslam’s Love Workbook, and Aftermath, set up by Vipin Dhunoo.

Ten finalists in the competition had earlier made a presentation outlining their business and its objectives to a judging panel made up of Transformer Director Daniel Abrahams, Director – Alumni and Development Brett Walker, Assistant Professor Siska Lund, and Associate Professor Dr Daniela Ottmann.

Tusk Toothpowder is an environmentally-friendly substitute for toothpaste, while Love Workbook provides a set of exercises and tools for couples to improve their relationship. Aftermath is a virtual reality experience that immerses the user in the aftermath of a climate crisis.

Scolnick said he came up with the idea for Tusk after using similar products in the United States.

“I was using toothpowder back in the States and I couldn’t find it here, and as I started doing more reading, I began to realise there’s a lot of waste from toothpaste tubes and that tooth powder can cut down on that waste.”

He intended to add complementary products and new flavours to the Tusk range.

“I’m going to keep taking Tusk further and try and get it out to more people, so people have access to zero-waste oral care.”

Aslam, who only arrived at Bond at the end of August, was looking forward to taking Love Workbook to the next level.

“I can’t believe it, I feel overwhelmed, I’m so happy. I’m from Germany and coming all the way to Australia and achieving something, it’s amazing. Coming here was an achievement for myself already, but this is great.”

She said the inspiration for Love Workbook came from her own relationship.

“I’m married, so it came from myself. I found myself writing down exercises for me and my husband, and questions I wanted to ask my husband.”

She intended to put the money towards research and working with a graphic designer on the workbook.

Dhunnoo said being named as one of the winners felt “surreal”, and he considered himself lucky and honoured.

“I’m extremely happy that my concept resonated with the judges, and I look forward to working on the project and materializing the idea. There are a number of hardware and software elements to be acquired for the realization of the project, together with the programming and 3D environment asset creation.”

The Transformer Launch Pad, which will be held again in semester 2 next year, gives students the opportunity to apply, refine their business case, and if selected, pitch to a panel of judges. During this process, all teams have access to mentoring and coaching.

The competition is funded through donations from the Bond community and alumni through the Ambition Appeal and distributions from the Bond University Endowment Fund.

Transformer is an Australian-first entrepreneurship program offered as a fee-free extracurricular option to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all faculties. The program aims to provide unique experiences and equip students with entrepreneurial skills and capabilities.

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