Technology has become an integral part of life, simplifying tasks and transforming the way people go about daily routines. For entrepreneur Domenic Ammendolia, this realisation struck when he bought his first iPhone and experienced its potential to simplify transactions.
However, a minor inconvenience at the supermarket made him notice that despite most people having a smartphone, accessing shopping trolleys still required coins.
In January 2019, Domenic took the leap into research and development, leading to the birth of Trolley Data Management Network (TDMN).
By October 2019, TDMN celebrated a significant milestone with its first working prototype, and early 2020 saw them receive an accelerated commercialisation grant.
Internships to meet business needs
COVID-19 offered TDMN valuable downtime to refine their products and improve research and development efforts.
During this time, Domenic reflected on the importance of training and guidance in his career.
This realisation led to Generation STEM Links, an internship program managed by CSIRO that assists businesses to attract young talent, provides recruitment support and a $2,500 grant on completion of the internship.
Participating in Generation STEM Links helped TDMN with cost control and cash flow management, as well as bringing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the team.
Domenic also acknowledged the advantages of the program’s candidate filtering process. He said the Generation STEM Links team saved them a significant amount of time.
“Letting the team handle the interviewing streamlined the process significantly. I was initially sceptical, but once I met Emma, I was quite surprised, because she was the perfect fit for the team,” he said.
From novice to successfully launching six apps
As part of her 12-week internship with TDMN, not only did Macquarie University student, Emma Kaelin, learn new skills in native coding for Apple and Android, but she was able to successfully launch six apps for TDMN.
Domenic noted that due to Emma’s attention to detail, she was able to spot missing details that he had overlooked.
“Her eye for detail was impressive. Despite having no prior Android experience, she has just completed and launched our first Android app. Her dedication and adaptability have been invaluable,” he said.
The placement was a valuable learning experience for Emma as she was able to apply her new knowledge from university.
“Everything that I've learned at TDMN, I'm already applying to my degree,” Emma said, adding, “When I complete my studies, having this practical knowledge will be incredibly beneficial.”
For students considering doing an internship, especially with Generations STEM Links, Emma's advice is to go for it.
“A hundred percent apply. I couldn't imagine advancing to the next year of university without the knowledge and experiences I've gained from this internship.
"I feel more confident about the work I produce, how I feel intellectually, and how I communicate with other people,” Emma said.
The value of investing in junior professionals
When it comes to advice for other businesses considering participating in Generation STEM Links or taking in interns, Domenic said it's important to be clear about your goals and what you aim to achieve.
“It's important to recognise the long-term value that a well-trained and skilled intern can bring. The initial time investment in training can lead to significant contributions and growth in the future,” he explained.
“I often question those who hesitate, asking them to reflect on their experiences. As business owners, we have a responsibility to provide opportunities for young Australians and contribute to their development,” Domenic said.
TDMN has since welcomed Emma as an ongoing employee, along with two new Generation STEM Links interns.