Sally Dwyer is gearing up for the third year of the gen[in] statewide innovation challenge for young people.
The gen[in] project nurtures students aged from 14 to 24 through the process of creating an idea to solve a real world problem and develop their skills in collaboration, planning, pitching their idea, and networking.
“It’s about building and developing the entrepreneurial mindset that will equip students with the skills for whatever is ahead, whether they want to study further, start their own business or pursue a career,” Sally says.
While it’s her first gen[in] challenge as Project Manager, Sally has been part of the gen[in] consortium since the early days of the venture, initiated by Indooroopilly State High School and its business, university and start-up partners.
As the founder of a company called Be Social. Be Smart., Sally is a member of the gen[in] consortium board and her work has dovetailed with the networking aspects of gen[in]. She has run workshops for the 2018 and 2019 finalists on how they can use social media to market and build a profile for their potential start-ups. Sally took over last term from Megan Short, who steered gen[in] through its first two youth innovation challenges.
“Be Social. Be Smart. is an innovative education initiative that focuses on the positive use of social media for young people,” Sally says.
“It’s really teaching young people how to leverage social media and their online footprint to build a strong personal brand for career and entrepreneurship.”
The third round of the gen[in] challenge will run online from January to May 2020, with face to face introductory workshops being delivered at schools and universities from October 2019. A total of $15,000 in prize money is on offer for students who make it to the final pitching round, held in May 2020.
The winning Community Entrepreneur, Profit Entrepreneur and Unicorn Entrepreneur teams are awarded a $4000 cash prize and the runners-up receive $1000 to help kickstart their ideas.
Last year’s winners were:
Winner: St Mary’s College Toowoomba team pitched an interactive platform that will provide the public an opportunity to learn more about their local indigenous culture.
Runner Up: Dominic and Connor from St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace pitched their solution Beach Lingo a speaker system designed to save the lives of international visitors and migrants on Queensland beaches.
Winner: George from the University of Queensland showed how his digital name badge solution would improve the event industry by allowing better connections and tracking.
Runner Up: Jayden and Zac from St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace presented their online platform, Tuta, which aims to connect students with reputable educators to support their learning journey.
Winner: Tiarna from Murrumba State Secondary College presented her innovative technology solution IntelVest that aims to save the lives of fire-fighters across Queensland.
Runner Up: Adelaide from University of New England and Daniel from QUT, pitched an online learning platform that harnesses the association method to help people learn a new language quickly and easily.
“Registrations open during Term 4 and students can continue to register throughout Term 1 of next year, and we all will continue to the workshops during this time,” Sally says.
“Indooroopilly students have a great opportunity to be a part of gen[in], because it’s based here, so we would encourage them to register.
“It’s a great way for students to start developing their entrepreneurial mindset, and to start building those key employability skills. We have an international focus, and we encourage international students to apply.”
At this year’s finals, Indro’s team of Jemila, Isabella and Hannah pitched StudySmarter, a digital platform to help with organising students’ school life. The Year 11 students were commended for their understanding and insights into the wants and needs of student learners.
“In a technological modern world where a majority of schoolwork is done online, why are diaries not? Students find that they have to carry around thick organizers and diaries while every other aspect of learning has an online option available. StudySmarter is a platform with all the functions of a school organiser and other study tools combined. It is an interactive website that encourages effective study and a balanced lifestyle for modern day students. StudySmarter aims to sync across multiple devices making it available to students on both laptops and smartphones.”
Study Smarter – Jemila, Isabella and Hannah
In 2018, Indooroopilly SHS finalists Maxim and Nitai’s won the Community Entrepreneur Prize with their music app idea, MUSO, to help musicians monetise their work at local level.
The gen[in] challenge gave these Indro students the opportunity to take their ideas to the next level after their involvement in Indro’s Year 10 Social Enterprise Program.
The school’s full Year 10 cohort is involved in the Social Enterprise Program, which asks students to create their own product or prototype and, through a process of design thinking, evaluate the scalability, design and impact of their prototype or product for the intended audience.
The program culminates in the Indooroopilly SHS Year 10 Innovation Expo in August, where students pitch their ideas to our partners from Queensland University of Technology and The University of Queensland, as well as fellow students.
Students from the rest of the school are encouraged to give feedback to the Year 10 students about their design ideas and prototypes, and to vote on their favourite concept.
After their success in Indro’s Year 10 Innovation Expo last year, Jemila, Isabella and Hannah received mentoring from Graham Fellows, Manager of QUT Foundry, to refine their idea, which they entered in the 2019 gen[in] competition.
The gen[in] consortium includes members from Education Queensland International, The University of Queensland, UQ Idea Hub, Independent Schools Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Creative Enterprises Australia, Sarina Russo Group, CarAdvice.com, Holden Capital, iYouth Global, Australian Catholic University, Study Brisbane, Griffith University, FutureWe, and Be Social. Be Smart.
gen[in]: how it works
January – March 2020
Registrations are open throughout Round 1, meaning you can join any time between January and March. In Round 1, gen[in] will help you identify a problem to solve in your local community and develop an innovative idea. Then you will need to submit a 60-second video pitch about your idea. Once you have submitted your pitch, you’re automatically through to Round 2!
March – April 2020
Round 2 is about writing a two-page innovation plan for your idea. You will get to attend live sessions with gen[in] mentors to get feedback on your idea and plan. You will work with your team to identify roles, target customers, branding and overall plan for your innovation. The top 11 teams will be invited to the finals!
Round 3 will be the spectacular finale of the gen[in] challenge! Finalists will be invited to a special event that will go over two days where you will meet mentors and then pitch your idea to a panel of judges and a live audience. Winners will then receive a share of the $15,000 prize pool and an opportunity to get further mentoring to take their idea to the next level.
About Sally Dwyer
Sally studied journalism at the University of Queensland and her first job was as a news producer at CNBC television in London. After a stint working back in Brisbane for the Nine Network, she returned to London and made the move into Marketing with a role at British Telecom, followed by a Marketing and Events role at Barclays Bank in Hong Kong. Upon returning to Australia she worked in marketing in Sydney before founding Be Social. Be Smart., a social media education program that empowers students to create and use digital portfolios to support communication, collaboration and connection for entrepreneurial and career success.