(this post is based on an article I wrote to be published in an upcoming digital Somerset Times edition – some variations have been made here, including some personal reflections on this event)
Congratulations to the Somerset College students involved in the recent Startup Weekend Gold Coast event, hosted by Bond University. The Overall Favourite and the Crowd Favourite winning team was Waterways, a team of seven members which included four Year 10 and Year 12 Somerset students. The High School Favourite winning team was Yetti Wear, a team of six members which included one Year 11 Somerset student.
This exciting event brought 70+ diverse participants together. Teams were formed on the Friday night and then they spent the whole weekend working on their innovative ideas. Each team had to consider the needs of their potential target audience, conduct comparative business analysis, research and forecast potential earnings, develop marketing strategies, and design digital app solutions. All 9 teams’ innovative startup ideas focused on digital technologies, including app solutions within digital marketplace environments catering for business-to-business and business-to-customer models.
Startup weekends, Hack events, and Entrepreneurial Pitch competitions are now a common feature in our society and it is no surprise that our young people are excelling at these events. Working on a startup idea and pushing through to a viable product solution is an invaluable experience for people interested in starting a business. It is especially important for our youth to experience this to help prepare them for their future lives in a digital, competitive and global economy.
It was lovely to see my students pitching their ideas and the enthusiastic responses from the judges was great. I especially enjoyed watching some of the parents proudly sitting in the audience. As a parent myself, I can imagine their feelings of pride, excitement and hope for their child’s future. It was really great to see the people that are involved in these types of events, including parents, academics, startup and tech enthusiasts, and supportive businesses and organisations. It is a type of event where you can visibly see the positive impact these events have on people and society resulting from grass-roots movements, teacher and parent support, and business and institutional sponsorship.