The UQ Ventures, Startup Adventure is a four-week international internship program that specialises in innovation and entrepreneurship. The centre of the startup universe and a major global hub for technology and innovation, Tel Aviv-Yafo is an ideal location for budding entrepreneurs and precisely where my Startup Adventure took me. 

But first, a bit of background. Having spent the last four years completing a dual Bachelor of Science (majoring in Zoology) and Bachelor of Journalism, my sights are set firmly on a career in science communication. 

I’m not exactly your off the shelf entrepreneur but I’m an entrepreneur all the same. 

My interest in the communication of science comes not only from my passion for the natural world and my joy in sharing that with others, but from what I see as a distinct gap between the makers of knowledge, and those receiving it. An entrepreneur creates change and space for innovation, skills crucial for me to acquire as both a scientist AND as a communicator.

This startup internship presented an opportunity for me to work alongside energetic and experienced innovators and to gain first-hand experience in the process of founding, investing and growing an early-stage business. I was placed with the Association for Urban Farming which aims to promote urban agriculture through the development of urban food infrastructure and education, ultimately bringing food growth closer to the plate.
In 2009, the UN General Assembly revealed that food production would need to double by 2050 “to meet the demand of the world’s growing population”. That is a shift from approximately 2.1 billion tonnes to some 3 billion tonnes. At the intersection between research, economics and social science, urban farming provides one of the many solutions needed to combat the increasing food demand with rising populations.

Not only was I actively working with people that were aiming toward goals that resonated with my own, but I was meeting some of the best Tel Aviv-Yafo has to offer. I visited the Tel Aviv Landing Pad in South of Salame (SOSA) and was fortunate enough to be introduced to their ‘Go Global’ mindset. Not a matter of days later, I was enjoying a round table discussion with Chris Cannan, the Australian Ambassador to Israel.

Throughout my internship I produced marketing material, social media content (both written and visual), I wrote grant and fundraising and developed strategies toward event management and engagement. I was also lucky enough to participate in the day-to-day operations of projects in Ha'Yarden and Balfur schools where I assisted the exceptional teachers in their workshops with the children and the maintenance of the hydroponic and greenhouse infrastructure. I saw first-hand not only the ease of implementation from an infrastructure perspective but I also saw a remarkable warmth from school children being educated in this field. Having grown and cared for produce from seedlings, their understanding had fundamentally changed their behaviour toward food and toward their environment.

Though I take many away from this experience, that is the lesson I most want to share. The way we think about and experience nature, the more we know about it, fundamentally changes our behaviour towards it. At the beginning of my Startup Adventure, I could have told you about my goals in science communication but as I sit here at the end of my Startup Adventure, I can now tell you what it’s going to take and exactly how I’m going to achieve those goals. Sincere thanks to both UQ Ventures and the HASS Globetrotters Grant for making this Startup Adventure possible and to each and every one reading this, yes - you should and you can.

Kirsten Slemint

Bachelor of Journalism/B Science

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

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