His Royal Highness the Duke or York has arrived at Bond University on the Gold Coast ahead of the Queensland final of his Pitch@Palace competition for entrepreneurs.
A crowd was waiting in the university’s quadrangle to welcome the Duke of York who has been in Australia to attend regional finals of the international showcase for up-and-coming businesses.
The Royal was greeted by Bond University Chancellor Dr Annabelle Bennett and Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, before touring the Faculty of Law.
He seemed surprised by the number of students there to greet him.
“Now aren’t you all supposed to be on holidays?” the Duke said.
Later he will visit the university’s entrepreneurial hub, The Transformer, and meet students at the Bond Business School.
Following lunch at the University Club the 17 Pitch@Palace entrants will each have three minutes to pitch their ideas to judges.
The entrepreneurs include Clinton Schultz of Sobah Beverages which brews alcohol-free craft beers infused with bush tucker, and Emma Sommerville who has launched Folktribe, an ethical, environmentally sustainable fashion label.
Eight entrants will be selected to go through to the Australian final of Pitch@Palace in Brisbane on Friday. The winner of that event will then compete in the global final at St James’s Palace in London next month.
The ultimate winner will get access to internationally-acclaimed mentors to grow their business. Queensland surf industry icon Nev Hyman took out Pitch@Palace last year with his affordable housing company NevHouse that turns recycled plastic and other sustainable materials into low-cost homes.
Mr Hyman said the exposure that followed had been invaluable.
“It’s really easy to impress people when you chuck up a photo (of you) hanging out with His Royal Highness, but probably more important is the access to people that in your wildest dreams you’d never have met,” he said.