Endless possibilities: Could your idea be a big hit?

Budding entrepreneurs and innovators are being given the chance to turn their dreams into a reality. This comes as entries open for the 2023 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards.

Sunshine Coast Council, in partnership with Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast, will deliver the fun and exciting awards program that is open to all Sunshine Coast students in Years 9 to 12. 

There will be more than $10,000 in prizes to share for students who work in teams of up to three to create, innovate and collaborate, plus they will work with some of the region’s most successful mentors to further develop their creative concept.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson, who has been a champion of these awards since 2016, said the program inspired innovation and creativity through the development of a new creative idea, business solution and/or a new use of technology.

“One of the great outcomes of the awards is connecting students with industry mentors to help them gain valuable real-life work experience, understand their potential customers, and develop a prototype,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Last year we saw 10 finalist teams from five schools present an amazing array of creative ideas, including the winners from Suncoast Christian College who invented Bird Bell – a device that emits a radio frequency to deter birds and prevent injuries by the likes of swooping magpies.

“The possibilities through this program are truly endless, and I encourage students to get together with their school mates, form a team and start thinking about that great app or invention. I can’t wait to see what the 2023 applicants come up with.”

Telstra Regional Engagement Manager Matt Thornton said it was wonderful to see the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards power into their seventh year on the Sunshine Coast.

“The awards aim to drive the youth in our communities to look at technology as a tool for innovation, rather than just a source of entertainment and fun,’’ Mr Thornton said.

“We aim to educate the students not only about technology and innovation, entrepreneurship and business skills, but also have them understand that world-class ideas and businesses don’t have to be based in major cities to be successful.’’

Study Sunshine Coast Program Director Tracey Coobula said the awards entry criteria had been refreshed to include region specific suggested topics to help students looking for direction on their innovative ideas, creative concepts, and business solutions.

“The ideas and business solutions are limited only by the students’ imaginations,” Ms Coobula said.

“They could develop a new idea for transport, health, the environment, the underprivileged or the use of existing technology in a new way to solve a community, environmental or business challenge.”
Phase 1 entries is about student teams coming up with an innovative idea, creative concept or business solution or further developing an existing idea of concept. There are no restrictions on topics or themes.

This year we have provided an “Ideas Guide” with some potential entry themes if student teams are stuck for ideas or would like to pick a topic from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs relate to the Sunshine Coast region as part of the Sunshine Coast Council’s REDS plan and are also a focus of the local business community. Topics include:

  • Climate Action
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption

Suncoast Christian College took out the top prize at the 2022 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards for their Bird Bell innovative idea. Bird Bell is a discreet bird deterrent that will prevent injuries and promote safety and wellbeing for sporting enthusiasts through a device that emits a high frequency, undetected by the human ear.

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

Schools also have the opportunity this year to embed the MTIA into their school curriculum like winning team Suncoast Christian College did in 2022. Watch this video for more information on how to do this.

Further information about the 2023 MTIA including Phase One entry guidelines and to apply, can be found here.

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