- Friday 21 April 2017
Apps to improve study habits, body image, mental health and make your lawn look better than ever are just a few of the exciting innovations Sunshine Coast school students in grades 10-12 are working on in this year’s Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards.
Ten teams from six different schools are finalists in the 2017 competition that aims to encourage our region’s up and coming entrepreneurs to express their innovative talents and take steps towards future careers in digital technology.
They’re also vying for a share of $20,000 in prizes in this year’s competition that runs until June 5, with winners announced on June 13.
The students’ apps and inventions will be rigorously tested and refined over next four weeks during a mentoring program that started this week and involves a number of the Sunshine Coast’s sharpest minds with technology start-up business experience.
Mountain Creek State High School team "Intelligentsia" member Zrinka Popovic said helping fellow students was a strong main motivator behind their entry in this year’s competition.
“Our idea is an online interactive library called Epoc with four components giving students from primary school to university access to the curricular of any program they choose,” she said.
“It would also give them the ability to interact with other students, track how much study they’re doing and reward them when they achieve their goal.
"We find that some students struggle when studying in isolation.
"There are different types of learners and once you what type of learner you are you’re able to utilise that to make your study really effective so we wanted to improve that for students.”
Young entrepreneur Jess Thoms is one of the mentors who’ll be helping teams sharpen their inventions over the coming weeks and said the competition highlighted the Sunshine Coast’s growing digital technology focus.
“I love that I have the opportunity to mentor high school kids I’m only 21 myself and I love the opportunity to give back to the start-up community and share what I’ve learnt even in the short time in the ecosystem and I really love giving back that knowledge and mentoring the next generation that’s coming up.
“It’s also great to have six female participants this year. It adds diversity, it’s inclusive and shows the Sunshine Coast start-up ecosystem is really strong.
"We really top the game compared to major cities and other regional areas."
Mayor Mark Jamieson presented students with their finalists certificates at Wednesday night’s mentoring session and said choosing a winner on June 13 would be a difficult task.
“I was so impressed by the inventions that students put forward in the inaugural Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards in 2016 and this year’s finalists look every bit as impressive,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“We clearly have many fantastically creative young minds on the Sunshine Coast who’re focused on helping to develop a smart and healthy future.
"This competition is all about encouraging our young people to explore and express their talents in digital technology and to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Knowledge and Professional Services is one of our seven high-value industries on the Sunshine Coast that are keys to future economic prosperity and initiatives like the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards along with Hackfest, Coder Dojo and next week’s Start-up Weekend all enable our bright sparks and out-of-the-box thinkers to emerge.
“Our region is home to an ever-growing number of successful start-up businesses like IPug, Tilsta, Student WOW Card and WandsPro, alongside growing technology businesses such as Typefi, NanoNouvelle, SchoolZine and Retail Express.
"It’s fantastic to see 30 secondary school students testing their new ideas and getting a taste of the technology industry.
"In the not-too-distant future we might be seeing some of these youngsters take the business world by storm with their great ideas!”
For more information about the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards, visit https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/techawards