Expert advice lights up our bright sparks!
  • Friday 15 April 2016

The ‘business end’ of the inaugural Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards began in earnest last night at Spark Bureau.

Eight student teams from schools across the Sunshine Coast had their powers of innovation put to the test, as some of our region’s sharpest minds with technology start-up business experience ran the rule over the youngsters’ competition entries.

It was the first of four mentoring sessions student finalists will undertake over the coming weeks to refine their ideas before final judging and awards presentations on May 18.

Matthew Flinders Anglican College student Fraser Creighton said last night’s mentoring session was an eye-opening experience.

“This is a great opportunity for our group to get together and talk to people who have already created their own start-up so it’s a great idea to learn and to bring our idea into fruition and even if it doesn’t work we’ve learnt new skills so it’s a great experience to learn and work with people who know what they’re doing,” he said.

Sienna Catholic College student Braydon Munro said participating in the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards was an important step towards his future career of choice. 

“I’m looking to pursue this as a career and by being a part of this program it’s the first step in the door, I see it as that. So by doing the Mayor’s Telstra technology Awards I’m able to understand the workplace, I’m able to see what this kind of career holds and I’m able to get the experience of making my own product and going through the whole process,” he said.

“I want to do this as a career but I don’t have that many people to speak to so by going through a mentor that has understood the process and gone through the process we can get a first- hand insight and look into what’s actually happening and that’s great for me I really need that.”

Unity College Student Ellen Massey is the sole female participant in this year’s awards and said she hopes to learn how to put her technological skills to positive use in the future

“Hopefully creating a successful idea that can be implemented and that will help others,” she said.

A hydrogen-solar hybrid car, a brain mapping network to help people with mental illness and a musical microprocessor that uses light to trigger sound are among the incredible ideas submitted by student teams in the inaugural awards.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said council was excited to partner with Telstra to deliver the awards on the Sunshine Coast for the first time.

“The Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards are all about encouraging the grassroots of our entrepreneurial ecosystem to grow by showing school students what can be achieved in the knowledge and technology field and some of the exciting future career options that are available in this industry,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Knowledge and Professional Services is one of the seven high value industries that are keys to future employment and economic prosperity on the Sunshine Coast and initiatives like the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards along with Hackfest, Start Up Weekend and the Coder Dojo programs al encourage our bright young minds and outside-the-box thinkers to emerge.

“For these students who’ve put their thinking caps on over the last couple months and submitted outstanding entries in the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards, the mentoring sessions at Spark Bureau over the next couple of weeks will be an absolutely terrific opportunity to take their bright ideas a step further.

“The Sunshine Coast is already home to a number of successful IT start-up businesses like Cloud DC, The Creative Collective, Cloud Clicks and Atmail just to name a few. So it’s extremely exciting to see 24 local secondary school students testing their new ideas and getting a taste of the Technology industry through the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards. In the not too distant future we might be seeing some of these youngsters take the business world by storm with their great ideas!”  

All finalists’ entries will be in the running for the ‘People’s Choice’ award and details on where and how to vote for this will soon be available.

For more information about the Sunshine Coast Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards, visit council’s website: