Go Innovate winner makes scientific breakthrough

Go Innovate winner and Massey PhD
candidate Juergen Kolb.

A PhD candidate’s revolutionary tool to simplify scientific  experiments has taken out this year’s Go Innovate competition at Massey University’s Albany campus.

Juergen Kolb impressed both the judges and the audience by also winning the People’s Choice Award for GeneSelect, a biotech tool for selecting specific cells in biological research.

The judges felt the cell selection method, which was simple and could be applied to all cell types – from bacteria to mammalian – was a truly innovative breakthrough.

“I felt this idea had the most potential for commercial success, his proposal was the most developed and I can imagine that he will be able to get his product to market within a year,” says Go Innovate judge Professor Christoph Schumacher.

The ecology and conservation student received a $5000 bursary towards his university fees at Massey, a place on the ecentre’s Sprint Programme to help develop his idea and $500 worth of Hewlett Packard products.

Mr Kolb says he is looking forward to developing his innovation into a viable business through the ecentre’s Sprint Programme.

“As a scientist I saw a gap in the market,” he says. “I want to provide a tool that not only saves time and money, but is also completely universal. GeneSelect can be used in university science labs as well as applied medical, pharmaceutical and agribusiness environments.

“The ecentre prize is going to be so valuable for me because scientists are awful businessmen. Having the support of experts in that field with their robust business model is exactly what I need to get this business off the ground.”

ecentre chief executive Steve Corbett says he is looking forward to helping all three finalists to validate their ideas, build their entrepreneurial skills, develop a scalable business model and bring their ideas to global markets."

“In particular the winner, Juergen Kolb, will benefit from the new initiative at ecentre, Venture Science Labs, which aims to bring science-based ideas to market through a supported commercialisation process.”

The other two finalists in the competition were business students Aden Cooper and Sam Kerse whose software packages engaged school students with educational games and tracked their learning progress, and science student Ryan Stillwell who developed a smartphone app that allows users to design items with Lego-style bricks and then 3D print them.

The Go Innovate competition, which is run by the Business Student Group at Massey’s Albany campus, is now in its sixth year. It aims to encourage entrepreneurship and is open to any student with an innovative idea that has real business potential.

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