Ignition the catalyst for more than 200 WA businesses

Ignition 2018 participants

Ignition is a week-long intensive training program for anyone with an idea for a new or improved product or service. Since its inception in 2010, it has helped more than 200 WA small businesses go from bright idea to commercial success.

62 entrepreneurs took part in the 2018 program, held in August.

Financial educator and chemical engineer Lacey Filipich described the experience as “intense to the point of insanity, mind-explodingly value-packed and ending with a pitch to amazing people you’ve been desperate to get in front of.” You can read Lacey’s full account of the week here.

The 2018 delegates listened to 19 speakers and two panel sessions, participated in over 25 hours of mentoring and were introduced to the who’s who of the WA startup ecosystem.

2018 was a year of firsts for Ignition: it was the first time it had been held on the Curtin campus, the first time delegates delivered ‘public pitches’ and the first time delegates (who completed the program and an additional assessment) were offered credit toward Curtin’s MBA and Master of International Business and Entrepreneurship degrees.

Ignition is part of the Curtin Innovation Pathway. Following Ignition, delegates can participate in other programs such as Curtin Accelerate, West Tech Fest and other innovation focused programs.

Success stories from previous years include Rhinohide, CV Check and Tap into Safety.

Marc Berryman


Marc Berryman’s invention is a removable paintwork protection system for four-wheel drive vehicles. Aptly named Rhinohide, it’s made from high impact ABS plastic panels that conform perfectly to a vehicle’s surface with Neodymium magnets, allowing drivers to venture off-road without worrying about scratches.

“Ignition was really the turning point for Rhinohide,” he says. “The networks that I managed to create and the confidence that the course gave me to steer my business in the right direction was invaluable.”

Within three months of completing the Ignition program, Berryman received support from two sets of private investors in Perth. He also made waves in 2016 when he appeared on Channel 10’s Shark Tank.

Melbourne tram with CV check advertisement on the side

CV Check

Before attending ignition, Steve Carolan had funded CV Check for many years from his own pocket. While he thought the concept was right – a screening system for businesses and individuals – he needed a plan to scale the business.

“Ignition was excellent,” Carolan says. “It helped us focus and gave us a good reality check on our ideas. It also helped us develop the elevator pitch that was all-important in the capital raise. The program was really good – it ticked all the right boxes for us and accelerated our learning. Raising the capital for rapid high growth was all-important for CV Check and it helped point us in the right direction.”

In 2016 CV Check was ranked 13th in Deloitte Technology’s Fast 50 Australia and 95th in the Deloitte Fast 500 APAC after achieving 538 per cent growth over three years.

Hands holding a tablet, showing Tap Into Safety software

Tap into Safety

Sue Bahn’s business, Tap into Safety, develops customised, interactive hazard perception and safety training apps. The apps are developed using the client’s content to engage staff with simulated hazard scenarios that are familiar to them.

Bahn attended Ignition in 2013. In 2015, Tap into Safety received a state government Accelerating Commercialisation grant to the tune of $95,000 for the development of the new product iterations.

Of the Ignition program, Bahn says “Ensure to take your blood pressure medication! Ignition will get your brain firing so fast that you can’t wind down at the end of each day. It’s emotionally exhausting but you can’t miss a word – everything within the program is crucially important to set you on the right path.”