The Year 11 cohort experienced a brand new entrepreneurship program during Activities Week, IGNITE: Ideas with impact.
Unique to A.B. Paterson College, the program lets students engage in innovative thinking and idea generation in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship. Across the week, students worked in teams to create business concepts that fulfilled a social or environmental purpose.
The busy and challenging week culminated in a spectacular evening on Friday, 2 February. A carnival atmosphere greeted visitors, with food trucks serving delicious food and entertainment provided by talented piano students from our Senior School.
Parents and friends wandered through professional trade displays and spoke with young co-founders of innovative social enterprises. Ideas varied widely, from blankets with inspiring quotes used to help the homeless, to phone cases to help raise awareness and support for juvenile offenders.
One group, Wood for Good, tackled the growing problem of obesity in Australia. Their concept involved selling educational chopping blocks made from recycled materials. The profit made from this product would be donated to The Healthy Kids Association, who provide cooking classes within schools and meal plans within the school tuckshops. By providing students with education on how to cook nutritional meals through a fun service, Wood for Good hoped to encourage young people to cook healthy food once they move out of home.
With so many amazing ideas on display, choosing the best one was put to a public vote. The top honour for People’s Choice Trade Display was awarded to One Step at A Time. Their concept? A platform for young people to contribute original artwork, with chosen works printed onto socks and sold to raise funds for mental health services.
“I really enjoyed the week and I learnt a lot of relevant and useful skills. The best parts were working with my team and producing the trade show. I learnt that it takes a while to find a good idea, but once you do it is easy to pivot and adjust until it is just right”
Lacey Klerk, Co-Founder of One Step at a Time
Each member of One Step at a Time received a $100 prize, courtesy of event sponsor Alder Constructions.
As the trade show ended, the main event for the evening began in the Dawn Lang Performing Arts Centre.
Nerves and excitement built back stage as five student groups prepared to battle it out in the IGNITE Final Challenge. Their task? Pitching their social enterprise concept to a panel of expert judges. The judging panel included our Principal and CEO, Mr Brian Grimes, entrepreneurs Mr Tim Walmsley and Ms Nicole Gibson, and QUT lecturer, Dr Ruth Knight.
Finalist ideas included, a water soluble bait bag to help the environment, a native bee hive service to promote bee keeping and save threatened species, and a teddy bear making service to support children of parents with a terminal disease.
All five groups performed admirably and withstood challenging questions from our esteemed judging panel.
One group that was highly praised by the judging panel was Cordial. As Co-Founder, Tahlia Dilkes explained, “Our idea was based around the concept of random acts of kindness and promoting positivity, happiness and friendship within one another and the community. We designed an online platform called Cordial, where people can purchase a gift to send to someone else as a random act of kindness. We believe in a world where random acts of kindness shouldn’t be so random.”
Cordial have received offers of support from IGNITE Facilitator, Nicole Dyson and Guest Judge, Nicole Gibson, and they are looking to start their social enterprise later in the year.
Despite the tough competition, the judging panel were unanimous in their support of the winning team, Strayz Apparel, a social enterprise selling fashion t-shirts and other apparel with a proportion of profits supporting small animal shelters.
Their professional presentation and detailed plans were incredibly impressive given IGNITE’s short timeframe.
One of the Co-Founders of Strayz, Jasmine Liew, said of her Ignite experience: “I would have never thought that I, at Year 11, would ever be capable of creating and running a social enterprise. I am so grateful for IGNITE: Ideas with Impact, as it has provided me with this valuable and wonderful opportunity.”
Jasmine, alongside with Co-Founders, Sofie Cripps, Madison Marneros, Tahlia Kelson and Scarlett Wells, received a total of $2,500 to help launch their enterprise, courtesy of event sponsor Alder Constructions.
“I am proud to say that our enterprise, Strayz Apparel, has not only become Champion Team, but is also working towards launching as a real business in the near future! With the help of Mr Grimes, the College, and many other entrepreneurial contacts that we have made through the week, including Ms Nicole Dyson, Mr Tim Walmsley, Mr Simon Flack and more, I truly believe that our dream of making a global, positive impact in the lives of sheltered animals can become a reality.”
Jasmine Liew, Co-Founder of Strayz
IGNITE: Ideas with Impact and A.B. Paterson College would like to extend our gratitude to Alder Constructions and the wonderful judges and mentors who assisted during the week. We look forward to even more community involvement in our 2019 program.
Kate Clauson – Co-ordinator of IGNITE: Ideas with Impact