UQ’s new Chief Student Entrepreneur wants to make more startups sustainable

23 March 2021

The University of Queensland’s new Chief Student Entrepreneur advocates for more sustainable startups by leading through example.

Chief Student Entrepreneur, Rachel Huang

Chemical engineering/science student and ex-professional tennis player, Rachel Huang, co-founded Powersphere in 2019 when she went through UQ’s startup accelerator program, Ventures ilab Accelerator

Powersphere is an omnidirectional wind turbine for high-rise buildings capable of capturing wind from all directions. It is an upgrade from conventional turbines available on the market as it is more efficient, portable, and cost-effective for urban applications.

Ms Huang said that she loves to transform theoretical concepts and ideas into tangible solutions that can help society to thrive and looks forward to inspiring UQ students to do the same in her new role.

“I started Powersphere in the first year of my undergraduate degree,” Ms Huang said.

“Being an entrepreneur has shaped me to become who I am today.”

“I believe this whole chain of events started when my friends and I made our first wind turbine prototype with metal wires for a UQ student innovation competition.”

Ms Huang is excited to share her passion for sustainability to encourage more students to start sustainability-focused startups.

“I would like to advocate for more sustainability-related research, innovation, and entrepreneurship as we need to make a joint effort to meet the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals.”

Ms Huang is the fourth UQ Chief Student Entrepreneur to step into the role, which was established in 2018 to lead and mentor the UQ student community to get involved in UQ’s entrepreneurship opportunities, from first-year undergraduates right through to post-graduates and PhD candidates.

Joining her in the team are six Ventures Ambassadors who will represent their faculties and engage new students to broaden the profile and engagement of Ventures across the University.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement and Entrepreneurship) Dr Jessica Gallagher said we are privileged to have these young innovators joining our Ventures team.

“Their unique insights, entrepreneurial mindsets and experience founding their own businesses will help to inspire the next wave of change-makers at UQ,” Dr Gallagher said.

Ms Huang is a firm believer that being a student is advantageous to starting a startup.

“We are full of potential and our lives can go where we put our heart to,” she said. 

“Students should not be scared to start because there are so many wonderful resources and people at UQ who are always willing to help.”

“All it takes is to believe in the idea, make a start, and keep going.”

Watch Rachel Huang pitch Powersphere at ilab Accelerator Pitch Night 2019.

Powersphere has contracted sales to corporate clients in AGL Energy and Sino Group. It is currently in the process of seeking investments to conduct further technical development.

UQ Ventures is a university-wide initiative that embeds entrepreneurial learning across all disciplines and deepens engagement with local and global partners.

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