Uber-style solution providing IT support takes out top tech prize
  • Wednesday 14 June 2017

St Andrews Anglican College team CheckTech Solutions has come out on top in the second annual Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards which help to promote, foster and grow innovation and entrepreneurship on the Sunshine Coast.

Students Charles Eldridge, Samuel Rieger and Sam Young came up with the proposal to develop an app to solve tech problems using a crowd-sourced approach by connecting tech gurus and those with tech problems through a fast, low-cost app.

The winning students took home a Galaxy TabPro S Pro 4G each, while their school was awarded a Meraki access point with a three-year licence.

The competition included more than $20,000 in prizes with the winners announced at a special ceremony at Spark Bureau in Maroochydore.

Winning CheckTech Solutions team member Charles Eldridge said being involved in the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards had been a lot of fun, as well as about learning.

“We’ve been working on an idea called CheckTech Solutions, where we are trying to connect people who have technology experience, like students, with those who need technology help,” Charles said.

“At the beginning, I didn’t know what I was going to do after school or what I wanted for the future.

“I had specific interests like science and technology but I didn’t know where it fit in, and this experience, particularly the entrepreneurial part of it really helped me to understand what it’s like to be in a technology-driven world.

“We had no idea what entrepreneurship was at the beginning and over the course of a couple of weeks we collaborated with mentors and industry professionals and we really learnt about what it is to be an entrepreneur.

“We’re definitely going to continue to grow the business and put it out to the public and see where it goes.

“Hopefully it goes well and we’ll be the next Uber for tech support.

“We’re really, really happy to have been awarded first place.”

Thirty students from six different schools across the Sunshine Coast participated in this year’s awards which were designed to encourage the Sunshine Coast region’s young people to express their technological talents.

The competition started in February and ran over a period of 18 weeks with finalists announced in April.

The 10 finalist teams participated in a four-week entrepreneurial mentoring program run by Spark Bureau to refine their ideas with the help of some of the Sunshine Coast’s sharpest minds with technology start-up business experience.

The Female Entrepreneur Award winner Lauren Bellamy from Siena Catholic College team Phoenix said it had been an amazing experience and she was honoured to represent women in the Sunshine Coast in this innovative industry.

“I’ve always wanted to go into the creative industries, and this experience has given me a lot of confidence in the ability I have in technology, particularly as I wouldn’t have counted myself as the most tech-savvy person,” Lauren said.

“You’ve got to learn through experience and it’s taught me so much and really built my confidence in this area and given me the confidence to go after what I want to do in life and not be confined by what other people think you should do.

“It’s the best experience. You get to do something with your friends and something that you’re passionate about and proud of.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I really recommend everyone gives it a go, you learn so much.”

Mayor Mark Jamieson said council was pleased to partner with Telstra again to bring the competition to the Sunshine Coast for a second year, and show our region’s bright young minds the future career options and pathways offered in the technology industry.

“These awards are all about encouraging our region’s young people to express their technological talents and help put them on the right pathway to develop the kind of skills that will be so important for the careers of the future,” 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.

“Many of the jobs of the future are yet to exist and they’ll be created by these bright young minds who we need to encourage to stay and invest their talent in the Sunshine Coast, so having these sorts of opportunities for them provides real life experiences building new services or products and I think it’s been an outstanding success.

“I’ve been so impressed by the ideas and inventions the students have put forward during these awards and how they’ve worked with their mentors to further refine their ideas for new and creative uses of technology.

“I would like to thank Telstra and all of the other sponsors along with the Spark Bureau and council’s economic development staff who’ve been very supportive.”

Telstra Area General Manager May Boisen said this year’s Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards had been a great example of the talent that the youth of the Sunshine Coast has.

“The Sunshine Coast is really fostering its talent by supporting the youth of the region to think creatively and challenge them through programs such as these awards to achieve great things in the technology industry,” Ms Boisen said. 

“We’re excited to join with Sunshine Coast Council and the other award partners to bring these awards to this region and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”

Additional awards were also presented during the night with Phoenix awarded the Telstra People’s Choice award, Phoenix team member Lauren Bellamy awarded the Female Entrepreneur Award and CheckTech Solutions team member Charles Eldridge won the Spark Bureau Spirit of Collaboration award.

The People’s Choice and the Female Entrepreneur award winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney to visit the Telstra Experience Centre and tour a content production studio, with Female Entrepreneur winner Lauren also receiving a mentoring session with one of Telstra’s Senior Female leaders.

For more information about the program and to view student submissions visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/techawards

Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards Final winners and finalist’s entry details:

1st Place – St Andrews Anglican College – ‘CheckTech Solutions’

Team members: Charles Eldridge, Samuel Rieger, Sam Young

CheckTech Solutions. An innovative way to solve your tech problems, connecting tech experts and those with tech problems in an ‘Uber style’ manner. It’s fast, low-cost and available anywhere. Just download the upcoming app and get started by entering your location, describe your tech issue and search for an expert near you. One of our tech gurus will meet you at your designated location and fix your problem. All transactions are handled through your account so no need for cash payments.

2nd Place – Matthew Flinders Anglican College – ‘Focused’

Team members: Taj Parmanand Wilson, Max Quirk, Alexander Lynch

Focus 1 is a study device that is the perfect companion for the successful student. Social media has proven to be a challenge for our generation to manage, and we have experienced this first hand. Our device aims to reduce the time spent procrastinating, and create balance between work and play. The device is controlled with a single button, and will give visual and auditory reminders if you need to get back to work.

3rd Place – Matthew Flinders Anglican College – ‘Step Up’

Team members: Ben Carey, Zachary Ryan, Zennjo Searle

Step-Up is an app designed for students to assist with managing study loads in addition to extracurricular commitments. Students will be able to communicate directly with student tutors as well as teachers. Personalised to-do lists will allow for students to see all homework and assignment due dates in one place. Teachers and coaches will be able to post important notices and material on a class or special group page.