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Entries open for Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards

Mayor's Telstra Innovation Award winners
Mayor's Telstra Innovation Award inaugural winners Mercedes Thomas, Nawshaba Ahmed and Tessa Bryden learning invaluable lessons.

Ideas, inventions, and innovations from some of the region’s brighest young thinkers are being sought for the 2021 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards.

After the success of the inaugural event, held in 2019, entries are now open for this year’s event.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the awards were a chance for the next generation of entrepreneurs now have the chance to etch their names in history.

“Bundaberg’s history of invention, and endeavour, is world renowned and have contributed to getting the region to where it is today,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“From the invention of the cane harvester, to the students who achieved so much in these same awards two years ago, there has been no shortage of entrepreneurial talents here.

“The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards are an opportunity for current students to leave some remarkable footsteps the rest of the world may follow.”

Teams of three can enter the 2021 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, and there are no limits on the number of teams each school can enter. Students in Years 9 to 12 will work together to come up with an innovative and original technological idea or concept.

Phase one of the competition opened on Monday, 15 February, giving teams five weeks to develop an original technological idea.

From there, teams will be allowed further time to develop their strategies during phase two before the final pitch and presentation night on 16 June.

The inaugural Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards in 2019 proved the extent of the Bundaberg Region’s talent, with the highest number of entries of any other regional council area in Queensland.

Out of the 23-team submissions, 10 finalists were chosen to showcase their innovative ideas to a panel of three judges.

St Luke’s Anglican School students Mercedes Thomas, Tessa Bryden and Nawshaba Ahmed, as Team Melior Terra, won best innovation for CLEARN, a scanning system that tells people what can and can’t be recycled and rewards them for checking.

While their schoolmates Tyler De Been, Aiman Rahman and Zain Aslam from team Raksha, along with Murray Macpherson went on to win the inaugural Junior Hinkler Innovation Award.

The team invented and designed the floating hydroponic farming system Lifeboat to solve poverty, starvation and food deficit problems experienced by many developing nations.

Telstra excited for awards to return

Telstra regional general manager May Boisen said the organisation was excited to see the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards return to the Bundaberg Region.

“Students and schools surpassed all expectations the first year these awards were held in the Bundaberg Region,” Ms Boisen said.

“The number of submissions received was the highest we have seen in any region over the eight years the awards have been running in Queensland.

“It has been exciting to see where some of the past MTIA teams have taken their ideas since the awards – patenting their ideas, diversifying their ideas and even seeing some going on to win other awards with the knowledge they gained through participating in the MTIA’s.”

Ms Boisen said the past 12 months had created many challenges and had highlighted just how imperative innovative technology was in keeping people connected.

“Innovation, fostering talent and encouraging young people to explore new ways of thinking through technology are so critical for ensuring a sustainable future for us all,” Ms Boisen said.

“These awards are just one way to continue to encourage students and schools to embrace and be creative with technology.”

To find out how to enter the 2021 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards click here.

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