Melton council has scored $80,000 in state government funding to “unearth” the community’s hidden start-up talent.

The Hot House Project, a three-phase program featuring more than 20 activities, including workshops and mentoring, will run throughout the year. Melton council will partner with Western BACE to deliver the project.

Council engagement and advocacy manager Daniel Hogan said the money would help the council to support innovations which it otherwise might not have been able to do.

“The project’s aim is to focus on unearthing the hidden start-up talent in the community,” Mr Hogan said.

“It will help steer them on a path where their ideas can be nurtured, their networks developed, and their skills and knowledge improved to the point where they will be confident to take their ideas to the next level.

“The next big idea could be planted in our backyard.”

And that next big idea could come from Bask Aerospace founder David Skinner. Mr Skinner, based at Western BACE, is working on a SmartHanger prototype to “fully automate” the drone experience.

Although drones have revolutionised several industries and is automated while in the air, Mr Skinner said users had to be present to fly and land the devices and change their batteries.

He said SmartHanger would “close the loop” of automation, by flying, landing and changing the batteries of the drones without the user having to be nearby.

“The idea of SmartHanger is to minimise the interaction [users] have with the drones … We come to their site, program the SmartHanger to do what the users want,” Mr Skinner says.

Mr Skinner began developing the idea for the SmartHanger more than a year ago and said the support for startups at Western BACE had been phenomenal.

“Along the way, it can be a journey for small organisations, small start-ups,” he said.

“You can feel a bit lonely, feel separated and all of the onus to survive in the business world is on you.”

Hot House Project activities will be a mixture of free and ticketed events. For details, visit the Venture Melton Facebook page.