Last weekend, 26 young entrepreneurs from BGS and BGGS joined minds in an attempt to solve pressing sustainability issues facing Queensland. Echoing the calls of COP26 and UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Student Entrepreneur Weekend kicked off with a keynote presentation from President of National Park Association of Queensland Susanne Cooper.
With over 25 years of experience in environmental planning and management, Susanne briefed students about the challenges facing Queensland’s economic and environmental sustainability. As a state with twice the biodiversity than other states in Australia, Queensland has the lowest coverage (8.7%) of National Parks and Protected Areas, which is far below the UN International target of 30% by 2030. Due to the lack of resources, existing National Parks are also suffering from land degradation and biodiversity loss from being ‘loved to death’. Ms Cooper called upon the student entrepreneurs to come up with creative ideas to address these issues and enlist more support from younger generations to protect our natural landscapes.
Passionate about solving this real-world problem, the student entrepreneurs formed five teams, and put forward five creative solutions:
- Get Parked – a subscription-based service to encourage younger people to adopt a tree in their national park by providing naming rights, digital images and GPS locations.
- My Parks – a subscription-based service with user reviews to encourage young people to explore and share their park experiences.
- Wackr – water tracking technology aimed at rewarding consumption reduction though a points based rewards system.
- Ecovision – a market based solution using keepsake passes and permits to enourage preservation of our beautiful national parks.
- Go Bush – a competition program partnering with Scouts to organise events for young people to plant native species, clean up national parks and recycle waste.
During the two-day program, students pivoted their business ideas under the guidance of program leaders Nicole Jordan from Aussie Founders Network and Marvin Fox from UQ Ventures.
They also had opportunity to network and receive mentoring from industry experts, including:
- General Manager of River City Labs Pauline Fetaui
- Co-Founder of PUCTTO Belinda Scott
- Co-Founder of Endla BGS Riley O’Donnell ’14
- Managing Director of Finley Capital and Pledge Me Anthony Owen.
The weekend culminated in a live stream to the BGS and BGGS community, where families could view the student presentations. The presentations were judged by BGS Deputy Headmaster and Head of Senior School David Carroll and BGGS Teacher of English Nathan King, who is also National Director of the Australian Conrad Challenge.
Special congratulations to the winning My Parks team – Katie Ward, Kate Ireland, David Wang, Robert Gilbert and Ned Boorer. Congratulations also to teams Wackr and Go Bush for receiving second and third place respectively. The students’ ideas will be presented to the National Parks Association Queensland and may be adopted for further exploration.
The Student Entrepreneur Group is a Cocurricular program offered to Years 10 and 11 Economics and Accounting students. It provides students with opportunities to apply their knowledge to real-world issues and develop 21st-century skills of critical thinking and questioning assumptions.