From working on his start-up at Swinburne’s Innovation Precinct to becoming founder and now CEO of ASPIRE, Cameron McKenzie is putting to use what he has learnt throughout his start-up journey.
Last year, McKenzie spent a number of months at the Innovation Precinct working on Supply Mate, which paved the way for ASPIRE (Advisory System for Process Innovation and Resource Exchange), a start-up offering a digital solution for the circular economy, which is a concept based on minimising waste and maximising available resources.
ASPIRE is an online matchmaking tool for material resource exchanges, based on a methodology for engaging and supporting all sized businesses. It uses a website and an engagement model to promote business sustainability by matching material resources or waste to businesses, manufacturers, re-manufacturers and recyclers to identify alternative supply chains.
McKenzie’s first start-up, Supply Mate, applied a similar concept, but instead connects tradespeople with local suppliers of building materials and equipment. While McKenzie’s energy is focused on developing ASPIRE, his business partner Dean Grace is continuing work on establishing Supply Mate as a separate project.
The technology behind ASPIRE was developed by CSIRO and its data and digital specialist arm, Data61, with McKenzie coming on board earlier this year to create the commercial entity Advisory System for Process Innovation and Resource Exchange Pty Ltd (ASPIRE) to expand the program across Australia and eventually the globe.
ASPIRE’s digital business-to-business (B2B) platform connects resource generators with other businesses to improve business productivity and reduce environmental impact, while supporting businesses to build markets for unwanted resources and materials.
McKenzie says data mapping, simulations and projections through the platform are likely to play an important role in the future of waste management.
“Working on ASPIRE is exciting because it is post product and post revenue. It is unique, incredibly scalable and fits into the circular economy space globally.”
“ASPIRE is a digital and modern way to create a ‘shared value’ community across networks,” he says.
A number of metropolitan and regional councils have registered for paid memberships with ASPIRE, providing companies within these councils free access to the platform.
Larger organisations with businesses across a number of councils can purchase a membership to gain access to the platform for the entire business.
McKenzie says the experience of working on Supply Mate has played a significant role in his success with ASPIRE. In addition, the knowledge he gained from the Master of Business Administration (Executive) / Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MBA/MEI) program has supported McKenzie as founder and CEO of ASPIRE.
“Access to contacts and having advice at your fingertips while at the Innovation Precinct was really helpful, especially when bouncing ideas around,” he says.
With ASPIRE’s progress 12 to 18 months ahead of Supply Mate, McKenzie hopes knowledge learnt from developing ASPIRE can be transferred to help Supply Mate along its start-up journey.
McKenzie is currently completing his final unit of the double degree MBA/MEI at Swinburne’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship