Report from Mrs Wu-Tollis and Mr Proud

The Upstart Challenge is an entrepreneurial program that asks students to consider possible solutions to community or world problems. By considering a range of issues, students from Ballarat and surrounding areas were provided with an opportunity to exercise and develop skills such as personal creativity, critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills (just to name a few). These are all skills and traits of a ‘career agile’ person.

As we have all experienced dynamic changes and challenges throughout this year, developing career agility means that we can adapt and evolve to push through hard times by considering a range of possible solutions from multiple perspectives. By doing so, we can look for effective ways to solve problems. Nowadays, career agility is more important than ever.

This year we were proud to have Year 9 students, Zoe Daniel, Carmen Miguelez Gallardo and Joshua Di Mieri showcase their ability to adapt and respond to change as team ‘Hydrozoid’.  As creative changemakers of the future, these students tackled their usual study demands and still found time to invest in developing concepts with mentors to address the social issue of non-renewal energy sources and reliable sources of electricity. As a result of their hard work and independent research, they were able to devise ‘Hydrozoid’ as a concept. Hydrozoid is a renewable, clean energy device that generates electricity through currents of water and is aimed at providing rural communities in the developing world with easier access to power. With mentoring by business leaders, the team impressed the judges and the audience at the finals and were awarded the ‘People’s Choice Award’ and a cash prize of $300.

Student reflections:

Joshua – Development

Throughout our journey designing our product/charity, we successfully developed and altered our design to perfectly address the needs of the charity and the reason why people would want to purchase the item.  At the Ballarat Technical School, we further developed our design with the CAD designers (who also attended the day), by making the design more efficient, portable and sustainable.

Zoe – Successful development

After hours of development, we finally arrived at a realistic version of our model named Hydrozoid; hydro refers to the concept behind everything which is Hydroelectricity. On the 6th of November we all attended a Masterclass session at the Ballarat Technical School. Throughout that day, we met up with our mentor Paul who helps people start businesses. He gave us really helpful tips and advice on our presentation and pitch and he looked at our set up and advised us on which paragraphs to reword to make a deeper impression on the audience and judges. We eventually WON the “People’s Choice award” when around 300 people in the audience voted for the pitch they loved the most – which turned out to be ours!

Carmen – Teamwork

Our team of three faced many hardships together; this in turn brought us closer than any of us could have imagined. Because of this, we can put words to our thoughts in front of each other without fear of being ridiculed or dismissed. This has pushed us into advancing rapidly and effectively through our journey, although it was not without its hardships. Everyday we continue to develop and learn more about each other and how we can improve communication and strengthen relationships within the group. Alone we are each capable, together we can achieve great feats.

Further information about the program can be viewed through news article: https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/7005636/the-ballarat-students-striving-to-solve-real-world-problems/