SMARTY PANTS: North Ipswich mum, entrepreneur and CEO Anne-Marie Walton has experienced major success with her app, Wantu.
SMARTY PANTS: North Ipswich mum, entrepreneur and CEO Anne-Marie Walton has experienced major success with her app, Wantu. Rob Williams

Borrowed iPad sparks mum's 'appy' life

A NORTH Ipswich mum who started a business using a borrowed iPad has become one of the state's innovation golden girls.

Anne-Marie Walton launched her parenting and kids app, Wantu, in February last year, at Firestation 101.

Since she's been on speaking and research trips to Tokyo, the US and Hong Kong.

Now Mrs Walton, 54, believes she is on the cusp of having a highly successful product with global appeal.

Wantu is an app designed for time-poor parents and carers. It offers a range of activities suitable for two- to seven-year-olds.

"I've got two adult sons and when they were young I always wanted to do different things with them and introduce them to new experiences," Mrs Walton said.

"That meant copping some flak when I bought them a doll's house or taught them to sew, but it also exposed me to areas I wasn't so familiar with like creative arts and science.

"Our home was a gathering place for neighbourhood kids. When they took home stories of fun times, their parents often asked for the activities we did and I realised I had something to share."

In December, Mrs Walton was in London for the inaugural Startup Catalyst Female Founders Mission event.

She was one of five attendees supported by the State Government's Advance Queensland innovation program.

"When I stop and think about it, what I've achieved to this point is quite extraordinary," Mrs Walton said.

"Wantu began as Express2Fun, created from a business plan that had been shelved and waiting for today's technology to make the product a reality.

"The original plan was a non-viable physical product like a book, a series of cards or a busy box. That was before the rise of hand-held digital technology and the use of apps."



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