Young Business Minds Awards showcase innovative Hunter students

Young Business Minds Awards showcase innovative Hunter students

Local school, TAFE and young university students have been recognised and given funding support for their business ideas at the Hunter Young Business Minds Awards.

Ten awards were handed out across five categories for students in primary schools, secondary schools, TAFEs and registered training organisations, and the University of Newcastle (for students under 25).

Business ideas ranged from a sustainable swimsuit made for tweens by tweens, a solar automated feeder for domestic and small farm animals, screen free kids’ activity packs, a lifesaving CO2 inflated buoyancy ring, as well as apps for making beeswax lunch wraps, for making medical appointments and to help students be more productive.

Young Business Minds (YBM) Chairperson and the Australian Government’s appointed Hunter Entrepreneurship Facilitator, Cheryl Royle said there were some outstanding entries again this year.

“This year’s submissions show the talent and creativity of Hunter students,” Cheryl said.

“The awards are a great way to start putting an idea into action, test it, and connect with others to help take it forward.

“We want to empower the Hunter’s next generation of creators and innovators.

“There’s no reason why young people can’t establish a successful business. For some, this may be a better alternative to traditional employment.”

Winners and runners-ups included:

Hunter Water Primary School Award        

  • Winner: Myla Tucker and Olivia Lorenz – Newcastle Grammar – A sustainable swimsuit made by tweens for tweens.
  • Runner Up: Ollie Ugray – Wallsend South Public School – Automated home door and lighting system for people with a disability

Hunter TAFE Tertiary Education Award               

  • Winner: Tom Brewer – Busy Little Bosses – Hunter Tafe – Tom has cerebral palsy and has designed children’s activity bags to provide screen-free creativity for busy families on the go. He drew on his own experience of having to attend multiple health appointments.

I2N, Under 25 University Student Award

  • Winner: James Casey-Brown -– Newcastle Uni – Surf Safe uses a CO2 cylinder to inflate a buoyant ring under the user’s arms, which is stored in a pouch around the waist.
  • Runner Up: James Wooden – Newcastle Uni – Intervergent provides service users and professionals with an entirely virtual booking system for health appointments.


Bengalla Mine Secondary School Student Award          

  • Winner: Daniel Bell – St Philips Christian College – An easy to use, multi purposed, hardwired controller for music mixing and editing.
  • Runner Up: James Vazquez – St Philips Christian College – Solar automated domestic and small farm animal feeder which saves over 50 hours a year in manual feeding.

Harvey Norman School/Class Innovative Learning Award        

  • Winner: Kayla Loyola – Callahan College Jesmond Senior Campus – The Start Up program provides disengaged students with skills to become young entrepreneurs.
  • 2nd: Annabel Mckensey – Newcastle Grammar – LunchBox Legends is an app which allows people to design their own Beeswax wraps.
  • Third: Molly Boyle – Newcastle Grammar – The Perfect Week is a time management app to help students be more productive.

First prize winners received $1,000 while runners up banked $500 in the four individual categories.

Three prizes ($1,500, $1,000, and $500) of goods from Harvey Norman are also on offer to primary and secondary schools to reward teachers and principals who are encouraging creativity, innovation, or entrepreneurialism in students.

Winning students also receive free, ongoing, business support through the Hunter Futurepreneurship Program.

The annual awards, sponsored by Ampcontrol were back for a fourth year after being postponed by COVID-19 in 2020. They were held online this time.

YBM is a Hunter not for profit organisation formed leaders in business and government to run the awards and support other activities to help develop creativity and entrepreneurship skills in the region’s youth.

IMAGE | Surf Safe product – winner of the I2N, Under 25 University Student Award

The Finer Line

The Finer Line is a Hunter-based coaching and consultancy firm focused on helping clients with strategy, process, training and practical skill development. Founder and Managing Director, Cheryl Royle, has 25 years’ experience running businesses and educating, supporting and coaching thousands of business owners, executives, freelancers, consultants, artists and entrepreneurs across Australia.

The firm helps large and small businesses and entrepreneurs to unlock their potential to create their dream business, improve their existing one and to navigate change. The Finer Line has also been selected to run the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurship Facilitator Program in the Hunter. It also co founded the Lone Rangers Business Network for solo business operators in the Hunter.

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