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Bond student start-up crowned Pitch@Palace Australia winner

Alisha Geary, creator of luxury active wear brand Faebella and soon-to-be Bond Business/Laws graduate, was crowned a winner of the inaugural Pitch@Palace Australia start-up competition by HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York at Government House last night.

Ms Geary is one of three national winners, including fellow Gold Coast innovator, Nev Hyman of NevHouse and Ben Armstrong of HireUp in Sydney, who will be flown to London to represent Australia at the global final of Pitch@Palace, where they will compete against some of the world’s best, and most innovative start-ups.

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

From this idea, Faebella was born, and through Bond Business Accelerator - the University’s incubator program for early stage start-ups, she developed her fledgling business concept into a start-up.

Faebella’s mission is to share the rich culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by presenting their art on active wear, and now thanks to Pitch@Palace and HRH the Duke of York - Ms Geary will embark on her first overseas trip and have the opportunity to showcase her idea on a global stage on 6 December at St James' Palace in London.

Quite an achievement for a young woman who doesn’t officially graduate from University until next month!

Ms Geary, who grew up between Cairns and the Torres Strait Islands, received the 2013 Bond University Indigenous Community Excellence Scholarship to study Business/Laws.

“I am the first person in my family to attend university, so receiving the Indigenous Scholarship to study at Bond University really changed my life," she said.

Ms Geary said she was very excited about winning the first-ever Pitch@Palace Australia start-up competition.

“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 nature of this event was especially fitting for Bond given our long-standing reputation for innovation and leadership in the entrepreneurial space.”

Ms Geary’s fellow Gold Coast winner, Nev Hyman, is a former surfboard shaper and the creator of NevHouse, a business which turns recycled plastic and other sustainable materials into low cost homes, schools and medical clinics. The structures are constructed in five days or less and function off the grid.

Mr Hyman said the Pitch@Palace competition was an exciting opportunity that will help his business, NevHouse, access key people in the EU, UN and the World Bank.

Ms Geary and Mr Hyman will be joined in London at the global Pitch@Palace final by Ben Armstrong, the creator of HireUp, creator of a digital platform for people with disability to find, hire and manage support workers who fit their needs and share their interests.

Pitch@Palace is designed to support, enhance and add value to start-up and scale-up companies by providing a platform for entrepreneurs and audiences to meet, network and hear the great ideas that are being commercialised and built by the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

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