A local group of business entrepreneurs who have developed a mobile phone app that provides an audio guided tour of the area being visited, has won the Dragon’s Den style business competition held at Pambula Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday, March 16.
The app, called Phonic Path, was developed by Jackie Stallard, of Dalmeny, Carsten Eckelmann, Bega and Sarah James, Merimbula after fierce competition from around 14 other entrepreneurs who brought their ideas and plans to the Entrepreneurs Seachange Startup Camp.
The app provides convenient speaking tours of local attractions, and by linking to the phone’s in-built GPS mapping, the ‘story’ follows you wherever you go.
The idea for Phonic Path sprung from Ms Stallard’s experiences running a gallery in Birdsville.
“Tourists who’d driven the Birdsville Track would say that it was just 500km of sand and rocks, and I’d think, if only you knew,” Ms Stallard said.
“Birdsville relied on tourist trade but struggled with short visitor stays because nobody understood what was there. I realised that audio tours could be of immense value to regional Australia, keeping tourists in small towns longer and boosting the local economy,” she added.
Phonic Path will enhance tourist experiences of local walks and drives, providing an opportunity for tourist operators, local councils and interested members of the public to upload content for use in audio tours. These will be distributed to the public through apps for iPhone, Android and Windows 8.
A phone app will play audio content as listeners reach a specific location.
Visitors can choose locally-sourced audio stories based on their interests and a variety of themes.
“I’m passionate about great audio. My motto is entertain, educate, inspire,” Ms Stallard said.
Fellow team member and IT professional, Carsten Eckelmann said the project caught his imagination as it can deliver themed and multilingual tours worldwide.
At the entrepreneurs event, run by local group IntoIT Sapphire Coast, the team presented to a panel including Mary-Anne Waldren, Christine Kaine (Business Angels), Mark Englaro (Sydney Angels), Russell Fitzpatrick (deputy mayor, Bega Valley Shire Council and Regional Development Australia board member) and Natalie Godward (Bega Valley Business Forum).
Phonic Path will now be listed on Christine Kaine’s Business Angels website, designed to connect entrepreneurs with investors and the group will receive business mentoring from mentor speaker and event creator, Mary-Anne Waldren.
“The Entrepreneurs Seachange Startup Camp was founded by IntoIT to encourage entrepreneurialism and foster projects like Phonic Path,” said IntoIT co-founder, Liam O’Duibhir, said.
“Don’t come to the South Coast to find a job, come to make a job, and while you’re at it, make five more,” he said.
“Phonic Path has great potential. I can’t wait to see what happens.”
Project details will appear online at phonicpath.com later this month.