Students win first prize in NSW Brilliant Business Kids Awards

Gorokan High School Principal, Matt Boake, with Amber Herder and Sophie Lawson

Gorokan High School students Amber Herder and Sophie Lawson have taken out first prize in the NSW Government’s 2020 Brilliant Business Kids Awards.

Celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship, the awards are part of the Startup Business State Pitch Competition, which challenges participating schools to pitch a business idea that addresses an existing environmental issue facing business and industry in accord with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Gorokan’s winning pitch was Bio Balloons, a business model for a new type of biodegradable balloon that would directly reduce the harmful environmental impact that the party decoration is becoming increasingly known for.

Startup Business International Education and Program Director, Leigh Morgan, said what really pushed Gorokan’s pitch over the line was their detailed research and well executed presentation.

“It (Bio Balloons) was a great initiative that focused on a popular product that could easily be scaled to make income for a business while simultaneously addressing the UN’s sustainable criteria.

“Their pitch included details on the chemical makeup of their balloons, as well as how they’d be manufactured.

“Students’ preparation was also clear to see, their high quality presentation obviously well practiced, which was pleasing given the disruption they would have faced due to the pandemic.

“All in all, it was a very nuanced pitch worthy of the $500 first prize and is an incredible achievement that Gorokan High School can be very proud of,” Morgan said.

Gorokan’s Head Teacher of HSIE, Steve Carey, oversaw student involvement in the competition and said he was extremely proud of the entire Year 9 selective class for their efforts.

“The entire class actually came up with pitches and then the three best were shortlisted, with Sophie and Amber’s chosen as the best,” Carey explained.

Carey also gave special mention to student intern, Ashleigh Hasting, who facilitated the initial stages of the pitch competition with the class.

“Ms Hasting was with us last term for her Macquarie University Business Studies practical.

“She worked very closely with the class on their initial ideas and should be recognised for that,” Carey said.

Having won the state competition, Herder and Lawson have now qualified to participate in the national version of the event, the Brilliant Business Kids Festival, where they’ll again pitch their idea against other state winners.

It’s an exceptional opportunity for both girls and the classmates who make up their support team and one that Carey said was well earned.

“I think what the girls have achieved is incredible considering so much of the competition program had to be modified due to the pandemic.

“They were essentially on their own, but they pulled it off.

“Seeing your students take advantage of amazing opportunities and helping them to succeed, to me that’s what being a teacher is all about.”

Brilliant Business Kids Festival will be held in November.

Dilon Luke

Share this story