Young Unearthed entrepreneurs at the hub

Three aspiring young entrepreneurs from Georges River College (Penshurst Girls Campus) visited the Sydney Startup Hub as part of their prize for winning the Entrepreneurs Unearthed competition, held by Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN).

Students Lisa Cheng, Judy Yu and Christine Karabalis won the competition when they pitched their idea for a safety wristband to a panel of experts. Their product, the ProTech Band, can be activated by the wearer to engage emergency services and or family contacts in times of distress. The girls said their idea came from their imperative to offer a protection mechanism to women and children in domestic violence situations or from violence in the community. Despite the concern behind the need for their product, they were upbeat about the ways their ProTech Band could be adapted to suit the style of each wearer.

The ProTech Band trio joined us at the Sydney Startup Hub to get insight and advice from the centre of the Sydney Startup ecosystem. The girls started their morning like many founders at the Level 1 café and were joined by Hub Operations Manager, Michelle Long; Founder of inclusive tech accelerator Remarkable, Peter Horsley; and Kurt McLachlan COO of startup Xceptional. The group had a frank discussion with Kurt, Michelle and Peter on the pitfalls and triumphs of running your own startup. They followed this up with a tour of the Tank Stream Labs co-working space with resident ecosystem expert Community Manager, Daniel Wasilewsky.

The trio developed the idea for their ProTech Band while participating in the Entrepreneurs Unearthed program run by the ABCN. The program is open to public school students from Victoria and New South Wales in Years 10, 11 and 12. It is both a mentoring program and competition that runs over six weeks, helping young students realise their business idea and learn the skills needed to pitch it to a judging panel. The six week program, assisted by volunteer mentors from EY (Ernst & Young) and CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) starts with a two-day intensive entrepreneurship Boot Camp, includes workshops and coaching and ends with a final ‘Pitch 2 the Panel’.

This year, from 21 students in 7 groups, the ProTech Band trio were chosen for their ability to use creative thinking, develop their design, problem-solve and confidently communicate their idea.

ABCN is an Australian wide a not-for-profit organisation that delivers mentoring programs to support disadvantaged education. Since 2005 their programs have been bringing expertise in the areas of innovation, leadership skills and business acumen to young students at no cost to the schools or the students. ABCN partner with business to deliver mentoring and programs that “inspire, challenge and engage businesses to have a greater positive impact in the community”. ABCN have won a number of awards for their Innovate and Focus programs, recently the Entrepreneurs Unearthed program won a Gold Global Best Award.

For more information on the Australian Business and Community Network visit www.abcn.com.au.