Almost two hundred students compete in the illuminate:nextgen Challenge

Participants in the Illuminate next gen challenge at Ourimbah campus. Archive 2017

Almost two hundred business-savvy secondary students have been competing to see who can develop the best business model for a new food product or service to tempt Central Coast residents, and help grow the booming local food and hospitality industries.
The illuminate:nextgen Challenge has given Year 9 and 10 students the opportunity to put their knowledge of business skills to the test by looking at real-world problems in a local context.
Principal of Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Tumbi Umbi Campus, and representative of the Central Coast Secondary Principals’ Council, Mr Shayne Player, said this was an exciting opportunity for Central Coast students.
“Be prepared for some wonderful ‘out of the box’ solutions that will excite your enthusiasm for the world that our young people will create.”
The 2017 Challenge required students to devise a new food product or service that met the needs of, and involved, their community, as well as enhanced the growing agriculture, food manufacturing and hospitality industry in the region.
The overall best business at the Illuminate:nextgen Challenge at Ourimbah Campus for 2017, was Coastal Krunch from Kincumber High School.
Participants considered their business idea from the ground up, including creating a business plan and concept, and ways to market their idea and engage the community.
The participants were guided by the Challenge creator, and one of Australia’s top 30 under the age of 30 (2017 Anthill’s 30under30 List), Mr Adam Mostogl, with experts from the University of Newcastle (UON) and leaders of the Central Coast business community.
The challenge started at UON’s Ourimbah Campus on November 13 and ran to November 17, ending with presentations of the student’s ideas and an awards ceremony.
Students attended a series of business information sessions on market research and financial planning.
They then completed their challenges, including pitching their ideas to a group of industry leaders.
They developed a business model and presented their ideas in a trade display at the end of the five-day challenge.
The students were judged on how they displayed and marketed their product, and the planning and reasoning behind it.
The displays were then open to the public, who voted for the best displays.
UON Dean of Central Coast, Dr Brok Glenn, said the hands-on nature of the Challenge was an excellent opportunity for students to get a taste of the skills and attributes that they will need to build successful futures.
“Providing students with the knowledge and tools they will need to be innovative and entrepreneurial in their future careers is at the heart of the UON’s vision,” Dr Glenn said.
“With food production and manufacturing, two of the largest growth employment areas on the Central Coast, the illuminate:nextgen Challenge gave students a real, practical insight into what it takes to build a business of the future,” he said.
Mr Mostogl said he was constantly amazed at the innovative businesses envisioned during the intensive week of practical learning.
“We’ve had over 4,300 students across Australia complete challenges like this, so you would think that we are used to the creativity and entrepreneurial capacity of our young people, but every single time, they raise the bar even further,” he said.

Media release, Nov 16
Leonie Cooper, UON Ourimbah Campus