HYBMA 2024

New Collaboration – Newcastle Innovation Summit presented by Future Minds Network

Here at the Young Business Mind Awards (YBMA) we have to rely on school educators or the University of Newcastle’s I2N Start Ups for Schools program to teach innovation and entrepreneurship skills to the students who participate in our competition. It was therefore, with some excitement, that we discovered that the Newcastle Innovation Summit was being held at the University of Newcastle at the end of this month 29 – 30 July.

We reached out to the Future Minds Network who is presenting the summit to find out more and to explore the opportunities for collaboration.  

The Newcastle Innovation Summit is a NSW-first platform for Year 10-11 students to learn innovation, explore emerging careers, and create their own employment. Designed, developed and delivered by youth, they deeply understand the challenges that students face today. This two-day program will start with an action-packed Summit of inspiring keynotes, panels, and practical workshops. It will culminate in a high-energy hackathon, where students develop their own business ideas to solve problems across Newcastle.

On Day 1, students will meet young entrepreneurs starting ice-cream companies from scratch, groundbreaking heat-tracking technology and adventure tourism businesses.

On Day 2, they will embark on a hackathon and build their own businesses on key themes of Future of Cities, Future of Education, Future of Healthcare then pitch their ideas to the NSW Government.

Guest speakers include previous recipients of Young Australian of the Year, Newcastle Citizen of the Year, Lord Mayor of Newcastle and more!

The Newcastle Innovation Summit is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in the innovation and entrepreneurship space and anyone considering entering the YBMA to learn and be inspired by the best. Participation in the high-energy hackathon, where students develop their own business ideas to solve problems across Newcastle will see students pitch their ideas in a 2 min presentation, and we are looking to video each pitch and automatically enter it into YBMA.

We recognize that this is an event targeted at senior high school students and that the YBMA is open to all ages under 25. We will endeavour over the next 12 months to seek out programs that are suited to younger students as part of the ongoing development of our annual event.

To register for this year’s Newcastle Innovation Summit, visit

HYBMA 2024 Uncategorized

How it works…

Are you looking to inspire your students with an exciting project that sets them up for success? One that can lead to business and industry mentorship and that recognises and rewards efforts to make our world a better place?

The Young Business Mind Awards is open again this year and has partnered with the Hunter Innovation Festival to create opportunity and resources that encourage our young people to look to the future with positivity, to foster a sense of entrepreneurship and an awareness of the skills necessary for success in the world.

The YBMA has been providing a showcase opportunity for children and young people under the age of 25 to develop entrepreneurial projects since 2017. Young people are encouraged to enter a business idea, design a new product or showcase a creative project for a chance to win cash prizes, school recognition, industry mentorship and participation in this year’s Hunter Innovation Festival.

Primary students are encouraged to take on a class project exploring ideas around Sustainability.

Secondary students and under 25s can work as individuals or in groups across the categories of Sustainability, Social or Business Enterprise, Creative Industries or Design and Technology. It’s about taking a step closer to a future where their ideas can make a difference.


Step 1: Decide that you’re going to pursue this as a great project for your students (or yourself – there are teacher awards too) and register here. If you register before 31 May, you could win one of 10 $30 cash gift cards. Registration is only so that we have an idea of who is working towards their entry and how many participants we are likely to have and is not a barrier to entry.

Step 2: Familiarise yourself with the resources available online here. And the entry requirements (Secondary; Primary; Teacher).

Step 3: Talk to your students about the awards and start researching your big ideas, determining what category each student/group is entering as you go (Sustainability for Primary students; Sustainability, Business, Social Enterprise, Creative Industries, Design & Technology for Secondary students).

Hints: The awards are called the Young Business Mind Awards – the idea is to showcase an innovative new idea/business/product within your chosen category. Many existing school projects will fit the bill without much extra work entailed. How can you take your idea and create a business or product from it? What problems can you solve? Use the resources available online.

INVITATION – this is the point at which we invite you to reach out and request a visit from one of our team. We are happy to come along and present to your students for 30 minutes or so, explaining the awards and inspiring big ideas. Please reply to this email before June 7 if this is something you would like to take advantage of – we are offering this to 15 schools only.

Step 4: Award applicants should prepare a simple pitch deck explaining their project and produce a short 2 minute video to submit by Sept 3. The resource page on our website contains a pitch deck template, an idea builder for primary students, curriculum links for teachers, and a digital magazine for teens that contains useful content.

Step 5: Attend the awards ceremony, tentatively scheduled for Sept 24 to find out if you’ve won or been a runner up! Enjoy your prizes – we can arrange mentorship by appropriate businesses or industry leaders, incursions, excursions, attendance and participation in the Hunter Innovation Festival, there’s cash, trophies and certificates.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to us (email us at Put your hand up for a visit. We want to make this as easy and rewarding for you as we can. We really believe that events like these help to foster the skills and networks our young people are going to need to be successful in the future and we’d love your students to be a part of it this year. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

HYBMA 2024 Uncategorized

Prizes for YBMA 2024

Prizes for YBMA are a bit different this year. We want to bring more value to the school, teachers and students. The biggest change is the collaboration with the Hunter Innovation Festival and the opportunity for students to attend and even participate in the festival. The addition of business and industry mentorships will be facilitated through Hunter IF and sponsors.


Primary Schools enter the Sustainability Category as a classroom or as individuals. There will be one winner and one runner up with some encouragement awards.

Primary Winner/s will receive:

School – $200 + Primary School Trophy

Entrant/s – $50 cash card + medallions & certificates

Invitation to attend the Hunter Innovation Festival valued at $249pp

Runners up & Encouragement Awards will be medallions & certificates.


Secondary Schools and Under 25s enter as groups or individuals in the categories of Business, Social Enterprise, Sustainability, Design & Technology and Creative Industries. There will be one winner and runner up from each category with some encouragement awards.

Secondary / Under 25s Winner/s will receive:

School – $200 + Category Trophy

Entrant/s – $50 cash card + medallions & certificates

Invitation to attend the Hunter Innovation Festival valued at $249pp

Runners up & Encouragement Awards will be medallions & certificates.


This year we’ve decided to award an overall winner. The overall winner can be awarded from either Primary, Secondary or Under 25s.

Overall Winner will receive:

School – $500 + Secondary School Trophy

If not in school, Under 25s – $500 seed funding + Trophy

Entrant/s – $100 cash card + medallions & certificates

Invitation to Hunter Innovation Festival valued at $249pp

Opportunity to pitch at the Hunter Angels Pitch Event as part of Hunter Innovation Festival


And we never forget our teachers, who can enter for innovation in the classroom. There will be one winner and one runner up with a possible encouragement award.

Winner will receive:

School – $500 + School Trophy

Entrant – $100 cash card + Trophy & certificate

Invitation to Hunter Innovation Festival valued at $249pp

Runners up & Encouragement Awards will be medallions & certificates.

In addition to the above prizes there will also be mentorships, incursions, excursions etc offered through sponsor organisations and/or the Hunter Innovation Festival. We are looking to showcase the winners at the festival and invite a panel of young people to participate.


Startups @ School

Young Business Mind Awards (YBMA) is proud to have I2N Integrated Innovation Network, a part of the University of Newcastle as one of our long-term partners. Did you know that they offer presentations and workshops for year 9 and 10 students on entrepreneurship?

This year we will be working with our partners to provide our teachers and schools with more resources to enable and grow participation in the YBMA because we believe that innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to our future – and that supporting our young people to develop skills in these areas is our duty.

I2N Startups @ School presentations and workshops are presented by leading I2N Startup founders, to inspire a future generation to reimagine what they can achieve in their career. Each program features one I2N Startup founder who, through sharing their story, will give the students a first-hand insight into the life of an entrepreneur.

The program is designed to be flexible and can be delivered at your school (from classes to year groups) or at the University of Newcastle’s Q Building in Newcastle (up to 60 students). There are two options to choose from – the 30-minute option which is perfect for assemblies and career days, featuring a presentation from a local startup founder or the 60-minutes option which also incorporates an interactive workshop into what entrepreneurship is and what the first steps look like once you have an idea.

This program fits seamlessly into the YBMA as it provides the perfect foundation for students to develop the confidence to problem solve, to understand how innovation and entrepreneurship work and to have a go at developing their own BIG IDEA to enter into the awards.

If you are interested in inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs through a Startups @ School presentation or workshop, you can find more information at or contact Tayla Furey, Program Coordinator, (High Schools) at or phone +61 2 49217410. Along with participation in YBMA, it begins a solid foundation in the study of entrepreneurship, business studies and career preparation.

HYBMA 2024

Career Links & HYBMA Join Forces

Hunter Young Business Mind Awards and Career Links have very exciting news! We’ve joined forces to deliver the competition in 2024 and from now on HYBMA will be a Career Links event, delivered to you by the team behind the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Career Expo, the Work Placement Program, Youthlinks, the Future Choices Disability Expo, YAKKA and the Mini Electric Vehicle Challenge.

We are working behind the scenes to have everything ready to launch this year’s competition before the end of March. In the meantime, there are no plans to change the structure of the competition, in this way, teachers and students can begin confidently working on their projects.

Primary schools can enter as individuals or as classes in the category of Sustainability. Secondary schools and tertiary students can enter as individuals or a group in the categories of Sustainability, Business Enterprise, Creative Industries, Design & Technology, or Social Enterprise.

Career Links would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment that has gone into the development of the awards over the years by the founding board of HYBMA and past sub-committee members who were all volunteers. This exciting new phase of the awards brings the expertise of the Career Links team who have extensive experience and relationships with schools, industry and businesses to take HYBMA to the next level.

Let’s make this year’s awards truly amazing – celebrating the innovation, passions and entrepreneurial spirit of our youth.

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.”

HYBMA 2023

Entrepreneurship & Innovation – Essential Skills for the Future

The legacy of the covid pandemic, the rising costs of living and changing technologies all contribute to the evolving employment landscape and the way in which our young people will engage with it. Recent studies* have shown that these circumstances have influenced the way people under the age of 24 perceive their future, with as many as 77 percent of Gen Zs having a strong preference for entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is seen as a way to diversify income streams, to follow your passions and to have more control over your life. The covid pandemic adversely affected our young workers who bore the brunt of 55 percent of the job losses despite only making up 14 percent of the market. This had a significant impact and resulted in many changing their priorities. Gen Z now values passion and work/life balance over everything else, including financial reward, and much more so than previous generations.

Add into this equation the effects of changes to technology and the rise in AI and it’s easy to understand why young people want to have more control over their choices. In terms of traditional employment, many of the jobs our children will work in actually don’t exist yet. Then there are the opportunities that AI opens up for tech savvy innovators. 

According to Peter F Drucker of the Harvard Business Review: “Innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship, … It is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth.”

In other words, you can’t really be an entrepreneur without embracing the need for creative thinking and innovation. So as the world continues to evolve, our young people will need to cultivate skills that will empower them to thrive in a landscape of constant change. Entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, along with flexibility and resilience are critical skills to develop for future success.

The Hunter Young Business Mind Awards (HYBMA) has been providing a showcase opportunity for children and young people under the age of 25 to develop entrepreneurial projects since 2017. Young people are encouraged to enter a business idea, design a new product or showcase a creative project for a chance to win $1000 of seed funding and recognition at an industry networking awards night. It’s not just about winning an award; it’s about taking a step closer to a future where their ideas can make a difference.

In 2018, Belmont Christian College year 11 students won two awards. The Business Studies teacher, Mr Ross Urane, recommends the awards to students and teachers at other schools and already has students who have entered this year.

“Anything that inspires our young people is great,” said Mr Urane.  “These awards deliver the opportunity for innovative thinking and problem solving … something that will become critically important in their future. We already run a Shark Tank expo where students pitch their ideas, so entering the pitch into the awards is not difficult.”

There is also an opportunity to network with industry at the awards night.

“The awards night is more than just a ceremony; it’s an opportunity for students to connect with local professionals who have already made their mark,” said Tricia Martin, CEO of Nudge On, Digital Learning and Employment Solutions Consultancy and Chair of the HYBMA Sub Committee. “It’s a chance to network and seek advice, bridging the gap between classroom projects and real-world applications. Even the venue, the Q Building, adds an exciting dimension. As the entrepreneurial hub of Newcastle, it’s the perfect place to showcase projects and make connection with local industry leaders.”

HYBMA provides parents and teachers with the resources needed to encourage the young people in their lives to enter the awards, to have a go and see where their ideas can take them. Categories include Sustainability, Creative Industries, Design & Technology, Social Enterprise, and Business. To enter, students prepare a simple pitch deck and a two-minute video and submit through the website at Entries close on October 9 and the awards night will be held on November 15.

*The studies referred to: GoDaddy/Antenna 2023 Research; Frontline Recruitment Group January 2023; The Square Gen Z Survey by Wakefield Research April 2023

HYBMA 2023

Empowering Student Creativity



This year, the Hunter Young Business Minds Awards (HYBMA) have introduced two fresh categories: Design and Technology and Creative Industries. These additions offer Hunter students working on major projects or Personal Inquiry Projects a practical opportunity to bring their ideas to life and the world of industry.

For students undertaking Design and Technology, the Design and Technology category is a golden opportunity to showcase their expertise. Submitting their works and projects to the HYBMA is not just about recognition; it’s about getting the support needed to turn innovative ideas into reality. Winning this category means receiving seed funding that can kickstart projects, turning classroom concepts into tangible products.

Similarly, the Creative Industries category celebrates students’ artistic and creative pursuits. Whether it’s an innovative approach to set design, an artwork, or an entrepreneurial solution to support the creative arts, this category acknowledges the power of creativity across fields. For Visual Arts, Music, Visual Design, Textiles and Design and Drama Studies students, this award offers a steppingstone to take creative projects further, with the potential to secure resources or collaborate with professionals.

The awards night, due to be held on November 15, is more than just a ceremony; it’s an opportunity for students to connect with local professionals who have already made their mark. It’s a chance to network and seek advice, bridging the gap between classroom projects and real-world applications. Even the venue, the Q Building, adds an exciting dimension. As the entrepreneurial hub of Newcastle, it’s the perfect place to showcase projects and make connections. This is a unique chance for students to present their work in a dynamic environment, preparing them for potential interactions with local industry leaders.

In a nutshell, the new Design and Technology and Creative Industries categories of the HYBMA provide a practical pathway for students to turn their ideas into something real. Whether it’s designing a new product or showcasing a creative project, these categories offer recognition, funding, and a platform to connect with industry experts. It’s not just about winning an award; it’s about taking a step closer to a future where their ideas can make a difference.

Entries close on October 9.

HYBMA 2021

2021 Hunter Young Business Mind Award Winners​

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Hunter Young Business Mind Awards. Check out this lovely article about the winners!