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Young Business Minds Awards recognise innovative Hunter students


Local high school and university students were recognised, and given funding support, for their innovative ideas at the 2022 Hunter Young Business Minds Awards.

The concepts ranged from a device to produce domestic energy from water, a program to use art to connect to communities and commercialise products, shark repellents, water saving apparatus and a virtual booking system for health appointments. 

In all, 10 accolades were handed out across five categories.

The awards, in their fifth year, were sponsored by Newcastle Airport and Astra Aerolab.

Under-15 Award winner Jahluvi Mtanda and under-18 counterpart Georgia King.

2022 winners included:

Kings Engineering under-13 Award

  • Winner: James Parkhouse – Domestic Hydro Dynamo; harnessing the power of water to produce domestic energy
  • Runner-up: Corben Breckell – Cool Fire; Aboriginal cultural land burning workshops

Careerlinks Under-15 Award

  • Winner: Jahluvi Mtanda – Off the screen onto the canvas; A community-led program to inspire young people to use art to connect to community, develop confidence and commercialise their products
  • Runner-up: Annabel McKensey, Molly Boyle, Kate Nightingale, Siena Latham – Pivot; An app for teenagers to promote positivity, confidence and sharing of ideas

Bengalla Under-18 Award           

  • Winner: Georgia King – Sharksurf; A range of shark repellent products, including wetsuits and surfboards, made to not harm sharks
  • Runner-up: Emily Miles – Remote Medical Animal Aid; Resource stations across NSW to aid injured animals

I2N University of Newcastle Under-25 Award    

  • Winner: James Wooden – Hifie Professional; A virtual booking system for health appointments
  • Runner-up: Georgia Hinde – Guide to Your Mind; A handbook of mental health resources designed to meet the needs of rural communities

Hunter Water Sustainability Award

  • Winner: Felix Anderson-Smith, Jackson Moore, Jesse Ndakaza – Water leak detector; An affordable device which detects leaks and clogging in the pipes at schools
  • Runner-up: Evan Turner and Samuel Drury – Foot Pedal Tap; A water saving device to prevent taps being left on

Hunter Futurepreneurs Idea Encouragement Award

  • Winner: Amelie De Iuliis, Bronte Feros, Jorja Bramble – Closet Collection; An app to distribute surplus clothes to charities and to people who have experienced loss or a natural disaster

Young Business Minds (YBM) chairperson Cheryl Royle said the region boasted some very talented up-and-coming businesspeople.

“Encouraging entrepreneurship in youngsters is an important tool in diversifying the Hunter economy and creating employment for them,” the Australian Government’s appointed Hunter entrepreneurship facilitator explained.

“There’s no reason why young people can’t establish a successful business.

“For some, establishing a business may be a better alternative to traditional employment.

“We want to empower the Hunter’s next generation of creators and innovators.”

Newcastle Airport’s planning and design manager Shane Murray at the 2022 YBM Awards.

Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said an important part of the airport’s mission was helping to grow and strengthen the industry for the benefit of young people.  

“Newcastle is fast becoming Australia’s largest and most mature innovation ecosystem outside of a capital city, with increased collaboration across industry, start-ups, local government and the education sector,” he added.

“We are proud to be involved in these awards.

“The upgrade and expansion of Newcastle Airport, and the development of Astra Aerolab – Australia’s premier location for defence, aerospace and innovation – will move us from a regional centre to a truly global city with more capacity to support young people in our region.”

First prize winners received $1,000 while runners up banked $500 and the encouragement award recipients collected $250.

Victorious students also receive 12 months’ business support through the Hunter Futurepreneurs Business Mentoring Program.

For more information about the awards, visit

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