A passionate believer in the power of education to unlock personal and public prosperity, Jacques Nasser AC has never forgotten the boost he got studying Business at RMIT.
Having forged an illustrious career in global business and investment, Mr Nasser is now helping launch a new wave of entrepreneurs.
Now focussed on start-up projects that create positive social impact, the Jacques Nasser Fund for Innovation distributes $15,000 individual grants through Activator, RMIT’s centre for entrepreneurship.
The Nasser Fund grant quite literally helped Esper Satellite Imagery take off. The SpaceTech start-up is preparing to launch a network of microsatellites to collect hyperspectral imagery data that will enable its customers to make better decisions on issues such as land cover, disaster management and climate science.
Co-founder Shoaib Iqbal, an RMIT Space Science graduate, said the Nasser Fund grant and working with RMIT Activator helped take Esper from space dream to business reality.
A major donor to RMIT since 2004, Mr Nasser has touched the lives of hundreds of RMIT students through scholarships, travel grants and entrepreneurial programs.
“The grant was instrumental in helping us prove our technology further,” he said.
“This led to further customer interest, which helped the company go on to pitch to venture capital funds.”
The Activator program provided business skills and networks, which was particularly important for Iqbal and Esper co-founder Przemyslaw Lorenczak, who both came from a technical background.
Esper now has a staff of 11 covering business, engineering, tech development, science and marketing and is on track to launch its first microsatellites this year.
Other entrepreneurs supported by the Nasser Fund through RMIT Activator include RMIT industrial design graduate Tim Ottoway, whose Flock Light biomotion bike light aims to reduce cyclist injuries and fatalities; Ben Sandhu, founder of IDA Sports football boots for women; Emma Rutherford-Ward, founder of eco-friendly underwear brand VEE Underwear; and The Big Sister Experience, founded by sisters Bianca and Kritz Sciessere, that offers workshops to nurture confident, capable and resilient young people.
RMIT Activator Director Margaret Ledwith said grant applications were open to start-up founders who had completed RMIT Activator’s LaunchHub program. Those who pass a Three-Week Micro Accelerator Program to gauge their business readiness can then pitch for funds to the Activator Capital Fund Board, which makes the final selection for recipients of Jacques Nasser Fund for Innovation grants.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.