Gold Coasters journey from Bond University to the Palace

Post date:
December 6, 2017

NEWS UPDATE: Nev Hyman was crowned overall winner of Pitch@Palace Global at St James's Palace, London on 6 December, 2017. Read more about his journey below...

Recent Bond University graduate Alisha Geary and local businessman Nev Hyman are currently in London to represent Australia in the global final of the Pitch@Palace start-up competition.

This Wednesday evening (6 December) at St. James Palace in London, Ms Geary and Mr Hyman - along with 12 of the most innovative start-ups from across the world - will pitch their start-up businesses for three minutes to His Royal Highness, The Duke of York, Prince Andrew and an audience of high profile investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and key influencers in the technology and innovation sector, who will then vote for their favourite.

The journey to the Palace for Ms Geary, founder of Faebella luxury active wear which features Indigenous art, and Mr Hyman, Founder of sustainable social enterprise NevHouse, began on the Gold Coast at Bond University back in September, when they pitched their start-up business ideas to the Duke at the regional (Qld & NT) final of Pitch@Palace. This was the first royal visit to the Gold Coast in around thirty years.

From Bond, Ms Geary and Mr Hyman went onto win the national final of Pitch@Palace Australia at Government House in Sydney, and from there to London for this week’s Global final.

The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace in 2014, recognising the profound role that entrepreneurship is playing, and will continue to play in the future of the United Kingdom and Global economies. The initiative expanded internationally in 2016, with the aim of creating stronger ties between the UK’s entrepreneurial community and entrepreneurs in international markets.

The 14 Finalists selected to compete in the Global competition in London this week were selected as the winners of the Pitch@Palace competitions in their respective countries, representing Africa, Australia, China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates and Mexico. Over the past two years, the programme has held events across five continents.

The Duke of York said: “Pitch@Palace has been busy in 2017 holding a total of 34 events across five continents to find really brilliant Entrepreneurs and businesses that are growing or scaling, that have great innovation or an idea that is going to bring change and benefit millions around the world in the next few years.”

22-year-old Ms Geary recently graduated with a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws from Bond University.  The mission of her start-up Faebella is to share the rich culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by presenting their art on active wear.

Ms Geary was inspired through her volunteer work as a guide for the Corrigan Walk Art Tour – Australia’s largest, private modern Indigenous art collection – which is displayed throughout Bond’s Gold Coast campus.

Ms Geary said she was very excited about winning the first-ever Pitch@Palace Australia start-up competition and travelling to London for the global final.

“It was very unexpected, but I’m very excited about winning as it will give my business global exposure – plus it will be my first trip overseas!” she said.

Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford said he was 'extraordinarily proud' of Ms Geary's efforts. 

Pitch@Palace Australia will provide Alisha and her fellow entrepreneurs with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase their talent on the world’s stage, and potentially receive global exposure and investment," Professor Brailsford said.

“We were honoured to have The Duke of York visit Bond University, and very proud to be host of the northern leg of Pitch@Palace Australia.

The staff, students and alumni of Bond are not alone in their support of Alisha in the global final by voting for her to win the ‘People’s Choice’ award online at www.pitchatpalace.com/vote.

Earlier this week, rugby league legend, Indigenous mentor and Queensland's Australian of the Year for 2018, Johnathan Thurston, sent Alisha a video message of support on social media.

“Alisha, I just want to wish you all the best over in England. You’re doing our country proud and you’re also doing our people proud. We’re extremely proud of you. Good luck, do us proud, you’ll smash it!” JT said.

Mr Hyman – whose business NevHouse turns recycled plastic and other sustainable materials into low cost homes, schools and medical clinics - said the Pitch@Palace competition was an exciting opportunity that will help him access key people in the EU, UN and the World Bank.

“Being part of the Pitch@Palace competition at Bond University has absolutely helped our business NevHouse; the timing could not have been better to be in the UK,” Mr Hyman said.

“Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. From the first moment we met Prince Andrew at Bond, the association of being part of Pitch@Palace has been worth its weight in gold. To be able to tell the people we’re meeting in London that I’m going to be pitching to His Royal Highness, the Duke of York at St James’ Palace this week adds great credibility to the business - they love it!”

For more info on Pitch@Palace Global and the finalists and to lodge your vote of support for our Gold Coast local entrepreneurs, visit the Pitch@Palace website www.pitchatpalace.com