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That’s a wrap: School Entrepreneur of the Year 2021


This year marked the launch of the inaugural School Entrepreneur of the Year tournament.

In partnership with Generation Entrepreneur, a youth-led not-for-profit organisation, Finder helped to design the most comprehensive entrepreneurship competition and training program in Australia. We loved every minute so we thought we'd write a post to tell you about how it all went down.

What is School Entrepreneur of the Year?

School Entrepreneur of the Year is a workshop-based competition for high school students who are keen to develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Over 3 rounds of workshops with Generation Entrepreneur and Finder mentors, the students identify a problem and come up with their business solution to address the need.

Round 1: Laying the foundation

Round 1 kicked off with virtual Startup 101 workshops for 77 teams across 19 schools. The students participated in interactive workshops to build their skills in problem identification, market research, product development and pitching – these all proved crucial as the competition went on.

Sitting in on some of these workshops, I was blown away by the quality of the content being delivered by Generation Entrepreneur. I wish I'd learned this stuff as a teenager!

The aim was to run these as in-person workshops, but unfortunately the pandemic had different plans. The Gen E team was able to transition these workshops into equally valuable virtual sessions.

With help from mentors from Gen E, the students spent the workshop immersing themselves in a start-up mindset and by the end of the day they had the skills needed to ideate, create and pitch a business idea. The top 2 teams from each school moved into the second round.

Round 2: Meeting the mentors

On to Round 2 and things started to get a bit more serious. Each of the teams worked their way through the lean business canvas and financials workshops delivered by Generation Entrepreneur so they could start developing their minimum viable product (MVP). We had planned to do this in-person but because of COVID the Gen E crew quickly pivoted this into a virtual experience.

Most exciting for us, this is where the Finder crew got to jump in and meet their teams. 24 Finder crew volunteered their time, meaning that each team was assigned at least one industry mentor to help them refine their idea. Consistently, the students said the Finder mentors were helpful, but just as importantly the mentors loved being a part of it too.

Round 3: Crisis hits the teams!

And just like that, we were down to the top 10 teams. Again, we had planned to do Round 3 as a residential weekend but COVID-19 got in the way and we ran this round virtually too. This final round saw the final teams hit with 2 personalised crisis statements relating to their business.

Their challenge for their final session was to work together with their Finder mentors to analyse these two situations and come up with a viable solution to protect their businesses. The end goal here was to collate all their work from each round into a cohesive final pitch to present to the Finder judges.

And the winner is…

Out of the 375 students from across Australia who participated in the program, the stakes were high and our head judges Frank Restuccia (Founder of Finder) and Shirley Liu (Head of Program Management at Finder) were both extremely impressed with the quality of the final 10 pitches. After a lengthy deliberation, the winner was named as Team DECK from Girraween High School in NSW.

Team DECK came up with a digital platform that allows users to play and modify boardgames online in a way that creates value for all users through Web 3.0 decentralised technology – another huge congratulations to Team DECK!

Bring on School Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 (SEY 2022)

After the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from SEY 2021, we're delighted to say that School Entrepreneur of the Year will be back bigger and better for 2022. Once again, join Generation Entrepreneur and Finder for fun-filled workshops and mentor sessions, and to battle it out to see who will be named School Entrepreneur of the Year for 2022.

Do you know a school that could be next year's School Entrepreneur of the Year? Register your interest now.

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