HYBMA 2023

Celebrating the Hunter’s Young Business Minds 2023 Award Winners

The Hunter Young Business Mind Awards (HYBMA) has celebrated and awarded this year’s young entrepreneurs and innovative teachers at a packed event held at University of Newcastle’s I2N on Honeysuckle.  In it’s sixth year, the awards recognise young people under the age of 25 who have an innovative business concept, product, service or solution and educators for innovation in the classroom.

The event was MC’d by innovation ecosystem connector and Business Development Manager for The University of Newcastle Research Associates, Daniel Smith, who began his own journey into innovation and change making when he was still at high school and believes that traditional jobs are ‘dead’.

“The most important skill you can learn is how to solve problems,” said Daniel. “And that is what all of the award participants have done.”

Supported by local companies such as Hunter Water and Ampcontrol that are seeking next-generation skills to future-proof their business, the awards provide an avenue for our region’s youth to showcase their ideas and network with industry leaders.

“It was amazing getting to speak with industry experts, fellow students and the many other people who attended the awards night,” said 14-year-old Joshua Pidgeon, winner of the Design and Technology award. “I was excited to talk to the Newcastle Airport Astra Aerolab representative for over 30 minutes! I’m hoping to apply again next year.”

Across several different categories, entrants tried to solve real world problems with runners up winning $500 and winners receiving $1000. The problems tackled by the students were wide-ranging and included: accessible self-checkouts; portable washing and spinning device for backpackers; a school uniform recycling program; an app that records where you’ve parked your car; sustainable shelters for school bus stops; milk cartons made from sustainable milk casein and recycled cardboard; a product that promotes nutrient density in the soil and many more innovative ideas.

“I learnt a lot through this project,” said Joshua Pidgeon who developed the sustainable bus shelters. “I learnt about the design process, about pre-modelling and sustainable materials used in construction.”

Lotus Antoni, winner of the Business Enterprise award for her Dairy Way submission has big plans for the future.

“I want to take my concept to UNSW to find the right formula for my sustainable milk carton, to research the correct formula and then take it to the government.”

And perhaps, most moving of all, young 14-year-old Taya Porter who was in a wheelchair, shared her frustrations at inaccessible self-checkouts and the difficulty it places her in when she goes shopping.

“Our design for accessible self-checkouts will provide greater independence for people like me,” said Taya. “It creates a better quality of life for those in a wheelchair and able-bodied people who may not be suited to the usual check out design.”


The Teacher Innovation Award

Runner Up: Caroline Phillips and Amy Radford – Macquarie College – Transdisciplinary Education Program

Winner: Jade Bassett – Rutherford Technology High – Women in Stem     

Primary Students Innovation in Sustainability

Runner up: The Youth Environment Council – Belltrees Primary School – Biological Bubble Bath

Winner: Creative Creators Team – Shoal Bay Primary School – Creative Creators

Secondary & Under 25’s Innovation in Sustainability

Runner up: Isabella McGhie – Belmont Christian College – Izzys Services Sustainability

Winner: Isabelle Donohoe – Hunter Valley Grammar – Aquarinse

Secondary & Under 25’s Innovation in Business Enterprise

Runner up: Annabel McKensey, Zara Campbell, Kiara Drinkwater – Newcastle Grammar – Find my Car

Winner: Lotus Antoni Rutherford High School – Dairy Way

Secondary & Under 25’s Innovation in Social Enterprise

Runner up: Annika van Woerkom – Hunter Valley Grammar – Safe Seats

Winner: Tilly Bevin, Taya Porter, Alice Wilkinson, Emma Collinson, Samia Burke, Laura Gabrielli – Hunter School of Performing Arts – Accessible Self-Checkout

Secondary & Under 25’s Innovation in Design & Technology

Runner up: Charles Cohen – Newcastle Grammar School – Zenithium the future of security assets

Winner: Joshua Pidgeon Bishop Tyrell Anglican College – Star – School Transport and Roads Shelter Plan

Tricia Martin, HYBMA Sub-Committee Chair, CEO of Nudge On and herself an FYA Young Social Pioneer sees the organisation as a proud champion of young innovators across the Hunter region.

“And we don’t plan to slow down,” said Tricia. “In 2024 HYBMA will spotlight and celebrate Hunter youth spanning from Primary School to 25 years of age who have developed entrepreneurial solutions to challenges spanning from sustainability, design and tech to accessibility. The awards will be open from early 2024.”