In 2017 Wollongong’s Natalie Chapman and her team at gemaker won the mico-business category at the NSW Telstra Business Award.
Now the the business established in 2011 to take new technologies to market is celebrating again.
Ms Chapman has just won the University of Wollongong’s Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for leading gemaker’s innovative work in research-industry engagement and taking innovation to market.
During the presentation Ms Chapman was recognised for her leadership as managing director of a business that recently collaborated on a world-leading professional capabilities framework for the tech transfer sector.
gemaker has also trained hundreds of university researchers in industry engagement.
And accelerated international commercialisation of an Australian invention that reduces suffering after catastrophic storms.
The gemaker team also supported the transformation of a small exploration company to an investor-ready high-tech materials producer, developed SME engagement strategy with the Defence Science and Technology Group and won over $1million in grant funding for Australian innovators.
Ms Chapman said to win UOW’s Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was very special because UOW is where the inspiration for gemaker all began.
“At the time of studying my MBA at Wollongong I had never thought I’d end up being an entrepreneur and running my own business so soon afterwards but that’s exactly what I did,” she said.
“I saw a gap in the market after completing my MBA and began gemaker with $15,000 taken from long service leave at where I worked at the time, registering a business, developing a website and pulling people and materials together.
“Since that time I have made it my mission to help research organisations and innovative businesses to commercialise new knowledge and technologies, so we can grow the next generation of industries in Australia.”
Within four years of being founded gemaker employed more than 20 people and had helped accelerate the commercial deployment of many Australian innovations.
Ms Chapman and gemaker have won significant recognition over the last seven years.
It took out three Silver Stevie Awards at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for innovation in management and in business-to-business products and services.
In 2013, Ms Chapman was named 2013 Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia and New Zealand – Business Services.
And in 2017 she was named a finalist in the NSW Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards.