From solar panel drones to attached reel systems for ECG machines and a device that makes it easier to shop, the Sunshine Coast’s brightest young entrepreneurs and innovators are rising to the challenge.

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards are hotting up with a record 13 finalists named in Years 9 to 12 across multiple Sunshine Coast schools.

The awards program presents a rare opportunity for student teams to bring their creative ideas or business solution to life.

Finalists will now advance after the opening phase of judging to connect with some of the region’s most successful industry leaders and mentors to further develop their concepts.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the awards supported the development of ideas that used creativity, innovation or technology to solve a community, environmental or business challenge.

“We’ve had an incredible entries response this year with an increase in schools participating, which includes all schools returning from last year and a great mix of new schools joining the program,”

Mayor Jamieson said.

“The calibre of applications has been fantastic and it’s great to see the program is building with double the entries from last year.

“From aquaponics to smart life jackets to automated biowaste systems, our future leaders have put forward an incredible array of ideas, many of which align to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which could one day strengthen and enhance capabilities in our region.

“And whether they got through to the next stage or not, we have been so impressed by all the entries this year and thank these students for their innovative thinking and confidence to participate in programs like this.”

Finalists and their amazing ideas (in no particular order):

Burnside State High School

Yabbieponics: Repurposing IBCs that are chopped up to make fish tanks that can house and grow fish and crustaceans that feed the plants, with my point of difference to make a product that is available to the public to buy that uses Aquaponics to grow food.

Caloundra State High School

Accessible Sunshine Coast: A website designed to show accessibility in Caloundra for tourists, visitors and locals, including areas that are bad for sensory sensitivities.

Chancellor State College

A-Bite: A-BITE (Automated Biowaste Intelligently Transforming Energy) is an improved renewable energy cycle using smart technologies to innovate the capture of under-utilized bioenergy from the Maroochydore Smart City food waste.

Glasshouse Christian College

Solbot: Solbot uses drone technology to dispatch autonomous cleaning robots to rejuvenate the efficiency of solar panels, increasing the overall sustainability while making cleaning of solar panels safe.

Matthew Flinders Anglican College

MyPark Finder: MyPark Finder is an app that can be downloaded on all mobile phones which assists people in locating car parks.

Mountain Creek State High School

Forever Alive: A smart, self-watering pot plant system. The aim is to prevent plants dying from incorrect watering.

Suncoast Christian College

Send It Siren: A bicycle alarm which is in the stem of the bike. This device will detect movement when turned on and will sound an alarm which will scare thieves while also alerting the owner.

Sunny Stations: Solar powered electric scooter charging stations. These charging stations will complement the beach environment by being in the shape of a palm tree with solar panels being the leaves.

The Fape: We have produced the newest and boldest idea. The Fape is a fake vape that runs off saline solution, good for your lungs as only consists of salt and water. What sets our idea apart is the 100% chemical free inhalation.

Sunshine Coast Grammar

Handi-Shoppa: Our accessible shopping cart is designed to assist disabled and elderly people. It is an invaluable aid for those who struggle with mobility issues.

JobsLaunch: JobLaunch is a highly-scalable and innovative job-seeking app designed specifically for teenagers on the Sunshine Coast.

MelodyMatchMelodyMatch’s innovative song recommendation algorithm will change how we listen to and experience music. Song ID compared with song database to find similar songs then songs are outputted from the database that are similar to your favourite song.

Reel Health: This product is an attachable reel system for a 12-lead ECG machine. 12 individual reels for each lead, which all attach to form the unit. This product will use a spring reel system in order to retract the ECG cords back into the machine with a simple tug.

More than 10 mentors have already been confirmed, including Andrew Bradley Professor in Computer Science at UniSC, Dominic Vrolijks Founder at Sunshine Coast Maker Space and Tim Kelly Founding Director at Manufacturing Excellence Forum.

At the conclusion of Phase 2 each team will then put forward a second submission, with all finalists invited to participate in a Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony on July 20, 2023 for their chance to win more than $10,000 in shared prizes.

Sunshine Coast Council is proud to partner with Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast to deliver the 2023 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards  exclusively to high schools within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area.

About The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards for 2024

Sunshine Coast Council is proud to partner with Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast to deliver the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2023.

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards Are Underway!

Year 9 to 12 students across the Sunshine Coast are participating in the 2023 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards. Students have the opportunity to create, innovate and collaborate by bringing their creative idea or business solution to life.  There is over $10,000 in prizes to share in including a personal mentor start-up incubator experience! Plus finalist teams have the opportunity to work with industry mentors and experts to further develop their idea and critical thinking.

“Our involvement in MTIA has been invaluable. We have discovered new business opportunities as a result of having been involved in MTIA. The experiences have provided us with phenomenal learning experiences. MTIA has created opportunities to learn new skills, network with others and collaborate as part of a team. Being involved in the competition was also lots of fun!” 

Bird Bell, 2022 MTIA Winning Team

Teams have put their innovation and creativity skills to work by developing a new app, design and engineering project, gaming technology or robotics. The ideas and business solutions are endless and could be a new idea for transport, health, the environment, the underprivileged, agriculture, sport, events, tourism, cyber security, conservation, construction, manufacturing energy or recreation. It could be the use of existing technology in a new way to solve a community, environmental or business challenge.

To learn more about the 2023 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, watch the videos below or download the Program collateral.

Learn more about the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards video by watching the video below.
Learn more about how you can embed the MTIA into your high school curriculum like Suncoast Christian College did in 2022

The aims of The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2023 are:

  • Nurture the knowledge base that exists among young people in our region
  • Encourage students to be innovative & collaborative by:
    • encouraging teamwork between students;
    • giving students an opportunity to present their ideas and concepts to a wider community audience; and recognising the efforts and achievements of students.
  • Highlight the importance of study in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) fields for the future of the Sunshine Coast – building a knowledge-based economy
  • Foster a culture of entrepreneurship amongst young people in the region through:
    • connecting students with opportunities such as access to mentors in the business community and other support channels;
    • providing students with valuable experience and knowledge regarding entrepreneurship at a local level; and incentivising students to take risks by making their own decisions to explore different opportunities.

The key details for this year’s awards program are:

Awards aim to encourage innovation, and/or a

  • The competition for the 2023 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards officially opens 15th February 2023.
  • The awards are open to students from Years 9 to 12 in teams of up to three. Teams must be from High Schools that are located within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area.
  • There is no limit to the number of teams that can enter from each school.
  • Phase 1 of the awards commences 15th February 2023. Teams will have 10 weeks to develop an original innovation, business or technological idea or concept.
  • Entries for Phase 1 of the competition close 11.59pm, 27th April 2023.
  • An evaluation panel will review all entries and shortlist finalist teams who will be announced 5th May 2023.
  • During Phase 2, teams have a further 7 weeks to develop their original idea or concept. During this phase, students will attend two face to face mentoring sessions where they will have the opportunity to be coached by a range of Entrepreneurs and Industry Experts.
  • Entries for Phase 2 of the competition close at 11.59pm, 22nd June 2023.
  • An evaluation panel will review the entries and allocate scores based on the award criteria set out in the terms and conditions.
  • Live pitch and awards ceremony to be held on 20th July 2023, the finalist teams will present their ideas or concepts in a live ‘pitch’ to the evaluation panel. Final scores for this presentation will be allocated and the winner of Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2023 announced.


The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards are delighted to announce there is over $10,000 in prizes up for grabs for teams and the winning school. 
All of this year’s prizes are proudly sourced from Telstra stores on the Sunshine Coast.

First Prize

Garmin Venu SQ Fitness Watch for each student, Beats Wireless Studio Buds for each student, Google Nest Mini each for students, DJI Mini 2 Drone for use by the school, 6-hours of team mentoring, Certificate for each student, School Trophy

Second Prize

Garmin Venu SQ Fitness Watch for each student, Google Nest Mini each for students, Certificate for each student and a School Trophy

Third Prize

Beats Wireless Studio Buds for each student, Google Nest Mini each for students, Certificate for each student and a School Trophy

Emerging Entrepreneur Award

6-hours of mentoring & School Trophy


Official School Handbook

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2023 School Handbook contains all information about this year’s competition, entry details, prize information and more.

Official Flyer

Entry Form and Parental Consent

Download and complete the Entry Form and Parental Consent here.

Key Dates

Wednesday 15th February 2023 (Term 1, Week 4) – Competition opens

Thursday 27th April 2023, 11:59pm– Phase 1 competition entries close

Friday 5th May 2023 – Finalist Teams announced and Phase 2 of the competition begins

Wednesday 17th May 2023 – Mentoring session 1

Wednesday 31st May 2023 – Mentoring session 2

Tuesday 22nd June 2023, 11:59pm – Phase 2 competition entries close

Thursday 20th July 2023 – Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony


The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2022 are proudly brought to you by:

Sunshine Coast Council’s Economic Development Branch is managing these Awards.  This project directly aligns with one of the five critical pathways identified in the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) 2013-2033, namely; Investment in Talent and Skills. The Sunshine Coast Council is committed to achieving the economic, social and environmental goals detailed in the REDS, and this project will be another step towards achieving those goals.

In addition, the Knowledge and Professional Services Industry and Investment Plan further highlights the need for all encompassing digital education and connectivity, as well as focusing on collaboration as a key driver in creating the new knowledge-based economy.

Telstra are a world class technology company and Australia’s largest mobile network, providing users with mobile phones, internet plans and packages, home phones & more. The Sunshine Coast Telstra Innovation Awards builds on Council’s and Telstra’s ambitions for the future and encourages students in our region to start thinking today about the possibilities of tomorrow.

Study Sunshine Coast (SSC), established since 2016, is the official study cluster for the Sunshine Coast region and is supported and funded by Sunshine Coast Council and Trade & Investment Queensland through Study Queensland. SSC plays an important role in supporting the student journey including positioning the Sunshine Coast as a leading Australian study destination for both domestic and international students. SSC also works closely with industry and our education providers to attract, develop and retain talent to support the growth and vision for the region.

Key focus areas:

  • Destination promotion
  • Enhancing the student experience
  • Industry engagement and collaboration to support students

If you are interested in embedding the 2023 MTIA into your curriculum please contact:

Tracey Coobula ( to further discuss this opportunity


The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards helps bring creative ideas to life for students in Years’ 9, 10, 11 and 12 at high schools within the Sunshine Coast Council Local Government Area. It connects students with industry mentors to develop enterprise skills and entrepreneurial thinking and runs from February to July 2023.

Mentor Program

The Mentors are a critical component of the 13 Finalist Teams journey in the MTIA. The two face-to-face Mentor Workshop sessions gives the teams exposure to local innovators and entrepreneurs to help evolve and strengthen their creative concept and idea and hear from a guest Mentor presenter.

 The MTIA mentoring sessions connects students with industry mentors to develop enterprise skills and entrepreneurial thinking. The Awards focus on business or social enterprise ideas that utilise innovation principles, creative uses of technology or scalable concepts – this could be a new app, design and engineering, gaming technology, robotics, a smarter phone, watch or digital camera.

2023 Mentors

Andrew Bradley

Professor | Founder | Company Director | Registered Biomedical Professional Engineer at UniSC

Colin Graham

Managing Director at Causeway Innovation

Dominic Vrolijks

Maker in Residence, Sunshine Coast Maker Space

Emma Norman

Marketing Officer at TAFE Queensland

Ilana Boon (IEAA-AA)

International Strategy | Marketing & Recruitment | Process Improvement | International Higher Education | MBA Candidate at UniSC

Jake Harris

Telstra Plus Operations Lead | Agile Chapter Lead at Telstra

Lachie Smart

General Manager| Speaker | World Record Pilot at Smartline Medical

Lenny Vance

Lecturer in Marketing, Tourism, Leisure and Events Management at UniSC

Matt Travers

Director at Sunny Digital

Neil Waldbaum

Industrial Designer | Owner at Deep Orange Design

Renee Galvin

Manager, Marketing & Sales at TAFE Queensland

Tim Kelly

Social Entrepreneur | Aero Engineer | Director at Manufacturing Excellence Forum

Masterclass Presenters

Emma Norman

TAFE Queensland Marketing Officer

Masterclass Topic Marketing & Digital Growth Hacking

Workshop Time: Workshop 1 Wednesday 17th May – Masterclass 2

Fiona Woolliscroft

Coach | Facilitator |Start-Up Venture Specialist

Masterclass Topic: Concept & Customer + Pitching

Workshop Time: Workshop 1 Wednesday 17th May– Masterclass 1 & Workshop 2 Wednesday 31st May – Masterclass 2

Kelly Lavery

Strucket Founder & CEO

Masterclass Topic Prototyping

Workshop Time: Workshop 2 – Masterclass 1

2023 Judges

Mark Jamieson

Mayor at Sunshine Coast Council

Tim McGee

Head of Business & Industry Development at Sunshine Coast Council

Tara Jacobsen

Program Director at Groei Education

Matthew Thornton

Regional Engagement Manager at Telstra

Questions? Get in Touch with Us

For all enquiries related to the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2023, please submit via the form and we will respond to your enquiry within 48 hours:

Having trouble submitting?

Email for assistance.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Latest News from the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards

Looking for the 2022 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards?

All 2022 information and winners is on our 2022 archive page. Click below for more information.