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[email protected] Australia 2.0 finalists announced

Alcohol-free craft beers infused with Indigenous ingredients and an ethical clothing brand are among nine business ideas selected to go through to the Australian final of the Duke of York’s [email protected] competition for entrepreneurs.

The Queensland final took place at Bond University on the Gold Coast this afternoon, presided over by His Royal Highness who cracked jokes, mingled with students and offered business advice.

“I make no bones about putting you under pressure,” the Duke told pitchers before they took to the stage.

“The whole idea is to put you under pressure. Because when you’re under pressure you perform at a much higher rate.”

The nine finalists are:

  • PowerWells, a self-contained systems of solar energy production and battery storage using electronic waste and ex-commercial solar panels.
  • Kynd, an app providing a simple and safe way for people to find carers.
  • IDU Identification, an app designed to be a one-stop shop for going out on the town.
  • Sobah, a family-run company making a range of premium non-alcoholic craft beers infused with native fruit and spices.
  • Skygrow, which uses autonomous robots to plant trees.
  • iStaySafe, whose products include the TicTocTrack GPS watch for children.
  • Folktribe, an eco-friendly, fair trade clothing range.
  • Uptek’s Airbands, a training device that restricts blood flow to help build muscle strength.
  • SiteSee, an infrastructure analysis service for telco, power, oil and gas enterprises.

Emma Sommerville, who formed Folktribe with her sister Kellie, said she was “super excited” to go through to the national final of [email protected]

“The experience was amazing, (it’s the chance) to spread our message and help other people live sustainably,” the Bond University student said.

“It’s not about me, it’s about Folktribe and everything we stand for. I got to chat to the Duke of York which was pretty cool. The other pitchers were amazing and everyone was in there helping each other and cheering each other on.

Earlier, the Duke was greeted by Bond University Chancellor Dr Annabelle Bennett, Vice Chancellor and President,

Professor Tim Brailsford, and wellwishers in the university quadrangle.

While at the university’s Transformer hub for budding entrepreneurs, the Duke offered tips to those about to pitch their ideas to judges.

“Never underestimate serendipity,” the Royal said.

“Whilst you are talking and telling (the audience) about what it is that you’re doing, somebody will be sitting there and go,

‘Ah! I know exactly what you should be doing’.

“The trick is to make sure you, the entrepreneur, and that person meet. And the last thing I’ll say to you is, it’s meant to be fun, so enjoy it.”

Professor Brailsford said the nine finalists, including Bond students, staff and alumni, would do Queensland proud.

“What a fantastic day to have royalty on campus once again, but I think the real stars were the entrepreneurs,” Prof Brailsford said.

“The 16 pitches were all outstanding and it was a difficult choice for the judges to narrow them down.

“And it’s always pleasing to have Bond represented in a competition that embraces innovation and creative thinking.” 

The Queensland finalists will join others from around Australia in Brisbane tomorrow for a boot camp and mentoring.

The [email protected] Australian final takes place in Brisbane on Friday.

Several pitchers will then be invited to the global final at St James’s Palace in London later in December.

Last year’s global winner was Gold Coast surf industry legend Nev Hyman whose company Nevhouse turns recycled plastic into affordable, cyclone-proof housing.

Mr Hyman said winning [email protected] had had an amazing impact on his business.

“My ask (to the Duke) was please introduce me to key people that can make a difference,” Mr Hyman told the crowd before the finalists were announced.

“His Royal Highness has done exactly that.”

But the year since then had not been all plain sailing, Mr Hyman said.

“My company has had its up and downs,” he said.

“Don’t believe your own hype. Don’t be in a rush.”

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