Bright ideas, clever thinking, drive, teamwork and creativity. These skills and qualities are key in Haileybury’s StartUp Program that gives entrepreneurial Middle School students the chance to transform a startup business idea from a dream into a reality.
Each year, 10 teams from the Program are selected from Haileybury’s Melbourne campuses and from Haileybury Rendall School in Darwin to compete in the Haileybury StartUp Pitch Showcase.
This year, the winner of the Boys Middle School Best StartUp Idea was VIPT which came up with a rideshare service for the visually impaired. The winner of the Girls Middle School Best StartUp Idea was Coco Cosmetics — an organic skincare company with a tinted acne product.
Each team receives $1,000 in seed funding and mentoring to help progress their creative business ideas.
Damien Meunier, Head of Entrepreneurship, says the StartUp Program helps students develop a mindset where they see opportunities, rather than problems.
“Instead of sitting back and complaining, we want students to turn a problem into an opportunity and to be able to change and improve a situation. We want to create problem solvers, risk takers and also for students to see failure as a ‘first attempt in learning’. They may have to try, try and try again with their startup and learn that it won’t immediately take off,” says Damien.
“Along the way, the StartUp Program teaches students about teamwork, project management, how to share responsibility and build accountability. They learn digital literacy and resilience. We want students to have a mindset that they can take on any situation and thrive.”
This year’s teams that stepped up to pitch their business ideas were:
Boys StartUp Winners
Anthony Ruiu, Lachlan Luong, Liam Buktenica and Nethum Perera
VIPT’s tagline is ‘getting the visually impaired from here to there’ which neatly sums up this StartUp idea. It’s a rideshare service specifically designed to cater for visually impaired people. Vision Australia research found 82 per cent of people who are blind or have low vision don’t feel safe walking on footpaths, highlighting the importance of services like VIPT. It relies on an app with voice prompts and voice recognition.
Girls StartUp Winners
Ellie Gianakis, Ruby Molnar, Brooke Lew and Zoe Berends
Coco Cosmetics is an organic skincare company. The feature product targets age 13-plus users and is an organic, vegan-friendly tinted acne cream that also protects against sun damage as it is rated SPF30+. The product taps into the multibillion-dollar skincare market but is reasonably priced to suit its younger target market.
Monty Wright, Matt Gianellis, Aydin Ilhan, Jimmy Shen and Lewis Caust
Track It is a personalised boutique bag packing, tracking and delivery service.
Olivia Cook, Daniella Petris, Sophie Bystrzycki and Larissa de Courten
Easy Clip is described as an all-in-one ‘smart’ leash and collar for dog owners.
Catherine Le, Eva Lekgabe and Nuha Sameer
The Vitails team designed a smart collar and app to help pet owners monitor their pet’s health.
Ethan Christrup and Felix Bender
The Scanetic device scans blood vessels in the eye to detect blood glucose levels of people with diabetes.
Amber Sharp, Kiara Ikonomou and Arabella Renwick
Eco-Ink can be removed once printed words are no longer needed so paper can be re-used and recycled.
Charlie West, Alex Meyzis, Kye Smith, James Wilkie and Ethan Xu
Custo Chair is a customisable chair with add-ins such as head rest, cup holders and massage features.
Tracy Chen, Riva Joshi and Nicole Lin
Clothes.ly is a clothing rental service that helps reduce the amount of textiles that are produced and discarded.
Ethan Ly, Harrison Green, Harry Doyle and Suriya Rajarajan
BOL is a pet feeder device and app that allows dog owners to care for their pet from anywhere in the world.