Young innovators back 2023 awards

Published 5:00am 24 February 2023

Young innovators back 2023 awards
Words by Kylie Knight

Last year’s winners of the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards say the program helped develop business and marketing expertise and they’re encouraging other students to have a crack in the 2023 competition. Entries are open now.

Belinda Infanti and Alivia Kenwrick from Albany Creek State High School wowed the judges with their QR Goes Green initiative to take out first place in the 2022 competition.

Householders or businesses can scan a QR code on the product and use an app to find out how to recycle the item and earn points.

Alivia and Belinda haven’t had an opportunity to pursue the idea further due to current study and school commitments but are keen to do so during school holidays or when school finishes.

They recommend taking part in the awards program to other students.

“I think for us the most beneficial part was definitely the marketing and the whole money side of it. We had the idea, and we had the concept, and it was great talking to all the mentors to get their opinion,” Belinda says.

“When they went through how to market the app properly and all the finance side of it, that was beneficial to us because we didn’t really know what we were doing with that.

“It does show you can innovate to do things better. You can innovate to reduce waste and a problem that’s really all around the world.”

Belinda is keen to study business at university and while Alivia is still weighing up her options, she also has an interest in business.

“This competition did give us an insight into entrepreneurship as well and I guess we have an advantage in knowing more about that,” Alivia says.

“It was a great opportunity. You learn a lot.”

Belinda agrees and says it was a great chance to meet other young people who have big ideas.

“My advice would be just to have fun and know that any product can come to life even if it’s just a small idea. You can have confidence in your idea and it can really work,” she says.

Young innovators back 2023 awards
Participants in last year's awards program.

Calling for entries

Moreton Bay Regional Council is hoping to see a record number of schools enter this year.

The awards program is open to students in Years 9-12, who are attending school within the Moreton Bay Region.

Mayor Peter Flannery says the MTIA program helps students learn, explore and develop entrepreneurial passions.

“These awards are all about giving students the confidence to transform what might be a dream or a small scheme into something big that could really make a difference to our community,” he says.

“During the program, students will connect with mentors to help develop industry-relevant skills and promote critical thinking. Students will gain the tools they need to bring their creative ideas to life.

“Last year, we saw 21 teams from eight different local schools present an incredible array of pioneering ideas to solve real-life problems, and we’re hoping for even more school registrations this year.

“The 2022 teams created innovative solutions for all manner of problems from affordable temporary housing to life-saving smart bands, as well as apps to help the homeless and QR codes designed to simplify recycling. I can’t wait to see what the 2023 entrants come up with.”

There are more than $10,000 in prizes, including prize packs for the first, second and third-placed teams and their schools, school trophies for the top-three teams, certificates for all finalist teams, and the award for Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Phase one applications close on March 20, 2023 at 11:59pm.

Teams selected to move through to phase two will workshop their concepts with industry mentors and potentially showcase their ideas at a live pitch event in June.

Embracing technology

Telstra Regional General Manager May Boisen says 2022 was Moreton Bay Region’s inaugural tilt at the awards, and she is looking forward to this year’s competition.

“The awards aim to drive the youth in our communities to look at technology as a tool for innovation, rather than just a source of entertainment and fun,” she says.

“We encourage ideas that demonstrate an innovative use of technology to solve a community, environmental, or business issue.

“The program is local, using local experts and leaders for the mentoring sessions, engaging with TAFE and universities along with mayors, councils and of course the schools.

“We aim to educate the students not only about technology and innovation, entrepreneurship and business skills, but also have them understand that world-class ideas and businesses don’t have to be based in major cities to be successful - thus supporting economic development objectives of local councils.”

For more information, visit the website

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