Last weekend, 26 young entrepreneurs from BGGS and BGS joined forces to solve some of the most 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, Queensland, Ms Susanne Cooper.
With more than 25 years of experience in environmental planning and management, Ms Cooper 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 per cent) of National Parks and Protected Areas, which is far below the UN International target of 30 per cent by 2030. Due to the lack of resources, existing National Parks also suffer from land degradation and biodiversity loss from being ‘loved to death’. Ms Cooper called upon the student entrepreneurs to develop 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 through a points-based rewards system.
- Ecovision – a market-based solution using keepsake passes and permits to encourage the 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.
Students pivoted their business ideas during the two-day program under the guidance of two program leaders, Nicole Jordan from Aussie Founders Network and Marvin Fox from UQ Ventures. They also had the 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, Riley O’Donnell, and Managing Director of Finley Capital and Pledge Me AUS, Anthony Owen.
The weekend culminated in a live stream to the combined Grammar School Community where families could see the student presentations. The presentations were judged by Deputy Headmaster of Students of BGS, Mr David Carroll, BGGS English teacher and National Director of the Australian Conrad Challenge, Mr Nathan King.
Special congratulations must go to Katie Ward (11G), Kate Ireland (10O), David Wang (BGS), Robert Gilbert (BGS) and Ned Boorer (BGS) from Team My Parks, for winning the competition.
Congratulations should also go to Team Wackr and Team Go Bush, who won 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 Program is a co-curricular program offered to Year 10 and Year 11 Economics and Accounting students. It provides students with opportunities to apply their knowledge to real-world issues and develop twenty-first-century skills of critical thinking and questioning assumptions.
Dr Sam Peng
Coordinator of Student Entrepreneur Program, Head of Economics