Startup Weekend provides youth with tools for success

RDA Sunshine Coast CEO Estella Rodighiero has congratulated the winners of this year’s inaugural Startup Weekend Youth Sunshine Coast which promotes entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This event is a great initiative to develop the skills, capabilities and capacity of our youth and provide them with the tools to succeed in the future,” she said.

Josiah Bettenay, a Year 10 student at Mountain Creek State High School, pitched the winning idea with classmates Mitch Keefe, Jayden Wilson, Georgia Walker-Healy and Emma Conway who developed Go Log, an app that replaces traditional paper-based logbooks by allowing learner drivers to record their drives in digital form.

The team’s final five-minute pitch impressed the judging panel which included Vanessa Garrard (CEO of e3! Style), Rick Baker (CEO of Blackbird Ventures), and Sally Williams (Outreach Program Manager for Google Australia). Team members shared in $1500 worth of tech prizes, along with swag of professional mentoring, coaching and development services.

Runners up included:

  • Ever Health, a mobile platform designed to promote wellbeing through gamified fitness challenges.
  • Appy Youth, an app that aims to address youth depression by helping young people to connect at safe drug-and alcohol-free events.

Startup Weekend Youth Sunshine Coast

Thirty-six senior students from 12 schools went from pitch to prototype in just three days, turning ideas into fledgling businesses with the help of mentors from the local startup and tech communities.

Organising team member and teacher Graeme Breen said the event, held at the Institute of Professional Learning from 21-23 August, was designed to give students in Years 10-12 an understanding of how the skills they learnt in school could be applied in a changing business landscape.

Startup Weekend Youth was timed to coincide with the upcoming addition of a Digital Technologies course to the Australian curriculum.

“This course will provide students with much of the knowledge needed to undertake this commercialisation, but in order to succeed in the contemporary workforce they will also need the more intangible skills businesses are looking for, including working collaboratively, problem solving, critical analysis, effective decision making and process management,” Mr Breen said.

In recognition of the student’s commitment and enthusiasm, all 36 participants received holiday internships with local businesses, which will provide valuable opportunities to further develop their skills and passion.

Startup Weekend Youth follows on from the hugely successful Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast, which has attracted more than 150 participants over the past two years.

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