Port Macquarie secondary students at St Columba Anglican School have taken out first and third prizes in the National Shark Tank eSchool Program.
The Shark Tank eSchool program introduces Year 10 and Year 11 high school students to entrepreneurial thinking, where after training and education students develop and pitch a solution in the form of a product, service or user experience.
Charles Sturt University is the exclusive NSW partner of the competition in which the students competed against 102 schools from across Australia.
Charles Sturt Executive Director of External Engagement for Port Macquarie Ms Kate Wood-Foye said the University was proud to partner with the Shark Tank eSchool program.
“This interactive project-based learning program is designed to inspire Year 10 and Year 11 students to think critically and creatively enabling them to unleash and develop their big ideas,” Ms Wood-Foye said.
The interactive online guided sessions feature masterclasses with leading academics and industry partners to provide the students with the essential skills and practices to become leaders of the future.
“With the increasing rate of small business start-ups, many of which are online, and the ongoing global opportunities and challenges our young people face, there’s never been a more important time to equip our young people with entrepreneurial skills that can transfer to creating a product, service or solution to address these issues.”
The students came together from a range of local schools to form the Solutionaires Group as part of the Shruder, Shark Tank and Solutionaires Project.
They were taught across 20 weeks in their own time after school in the Charles Sturt Innovation Hub at Port Macquarie as part of the three-phase project.
Teacher and project facilitator Mr Lloyd Godson led the Solutionaires team supported by Charles Sturt Sustainability Intern student Mr Brendan Lowe and staff from the Charles Sturt Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences.
Mr Godson said he was proud to facilitate the project with the students.
“The Shark Tank eSchool program has to be one of the most rewarding student projects I have had the pleasure of facilitating,” Mr Godson said.
“Since it was hosted at Charles Sturt University’s Innovation Hub, it was on mutual ground for all of the participants and open to motivated students from any school in our region. Students connected with each other based on a shared passion for the environment and business, rather than their school background.
“By the end of the semester-long program, I was blown away by the way the students worked together and the ideas they came up with. Their final presentations were beyond all expectations; I was so proud of them all.”
The students involved in the program and their projects included:
- The MIDIfier: Luke Aguilar from St Columba Anglican School (awarded first place in the national STEM category)
- The Reusable Fibreglass Concrete (TRFC): Hudson Lord from St Columba Anglican School
- Team Litterbug: Ali Ashrafy, Eva Dabovich and Millicent Wilson from St Columba Anglican School (awarded third place in the national Sustainability category).
- Bio Shoes: Logan Bourke and Ethan Gibson from St Joseph’s Regional College and Banjo Bannon who is now employed
This is the second year that Charles Sturt has secured this exclusive state-wide partnership with the Shark Tank eSchool program to provide an innovative entrepreneurial learning program in 2023.
In 2022 the program has successfully delivered entrepreneurial skills to over 8,000 students across the country.
The program will now be delivered exclusively into NSW classrooms by Marketing Innovation Entrepreneurship Lab (MIELab) in partnership with Charles Sturt University.
The University is encouraging teachers to enrol in the train the teacher sessions that will take place in June 2023 for the semester two program.