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Featured News Big Ideas for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Thu, 11 Aug 2022

Big Ideas for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Smart Precinct NQ General Manager Cassandra Cazzulino, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill, winning students Zayden Fortt, Kyle Gibbs and Jeffin Jo Prince and JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academy Professor Marcus Lane.

North Queensland’s next generation of innovators and changemakers developed their entrepreneurial thinking and design skills at the Townsville City Council Big Ideas Youth Challenge held at James Cook University’s Bebegu Yumba campus today.

Hundreds of students from across the region were led through the Entrepreneur’s Odyssey, with teams going on to pitch their big idea in a Shark Tank format to compete for the perpetual trophy and prizes.

Smart Precinct NQ General Manager, Cassandra Cazzulino said the event, now in its third year, is a highly anticipated event on the school calendar .

“The Big Ideas Youth Challenge gives these students and their teachers the opportunity to undergo the design thinking process to identify a problem and map out a business idea to target that audience,” Ms Cazzulino said.

“Throughout the day they were inspired by successful entrepreneurs and be mentored by leading academics, entrepreneurs, local government leaders and businesses.

“We’ve had a fantastic response from the schools, and this year’s event reached capacity very quickly.”

The event is designed to foster youth entrepreneurship in the region, with the winning team receiving an exclusive tour of the JCU Area 61 industrial scale facility that builds innovative one-off prototypes which can be scaled for manufacturing and a prototyping session to workshop how their idea could be turned into a real product.

James Cook University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academy Professor Marcus Lane said he was thrilled to host the Challenge on campus.

“As Townsville’s preeminent education and research institution, JCU is the perfect environment for students to cultivate their ideas and explore what’s possible through innovative thinking,” he said.

“I am particularly pleased that students were able to hear from JCU alumnus and LiteHaus International founder Jack Growden, who explained how he turned his passion for making digital technology accessible to disadvantaged communities into an internationally recognised not-for-profit charity, and reinforced the message that any one of those students can make a global impact from right here in Townsville.

“Together with James Cook University’s recently announced partnership with Smart Precinct NQ to accelerate future innovation in the region, it is an exciting time for our future innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the council was proud to support the Big Ideas Youth Challenge for another year.

“Townsville is one of Australia’s major economic centres, which is why it’s essential for us to empower our young people with the tools they need to be successful leaders in the future,” Cr Hill said.

“Our collaboration with Smart Precinct NQ and James Cook University only helps further the great reputation that the Big Ideas Youth Challenge has across North Queensland and to show these high school students that they can achieve whatever they set their sights on.”

The Big Ideas Youth Challenge has been made possible through the support of Townsville City Council, James Cook University, and a range of local businesses, mentors, civic leaders and subject matter experts.


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