ME Program students from St Philips Christian College recently pitched their innovations to a panel of Defence and industry experts at the STEM Innovation and Defence Pitch night held at The Business Centre’s new premises in Newcastle.
The culmination of a three month business acumen program that RDA Hunter engaged the Business Centre to deliver students in years 11 and 12 at St Philips, the night was officially opened by Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC and attended by 80 business and industry leaders.
“I congratulate each of the students who have put in the time and energy to pitch this evening,” said Mr MacDonald during his opening address. “We are seeing an exciting emergence of opportunity for the young people in our region and a flourishing industry for STEM graduates in the Hunter.”
Part of RDA Hunter’s ME Program activities to upskill Hunter students for the STEM jobs of tomorrow, 11 St Philips students pitched their innovations, which included mind-controlled prosthetic hands, autonomous trollies and stealth drones – honed over many months during their iSTEM studies, to an expert panel which comprised Officer Commanding of the Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office, Group Captain David Abraham, Manager of the F18 Classic Hornet Program for Boeing Defence Australia, Claire Kluge and Business Centre CEO, Pierre Malou.
Group Captain David Abraham said, “The student’s did themselves proud. It was also a great reflection back on the school and Mr David Bonzo, in particular, for his teaching passion, as well as RDA Hunter’s broader STEM Programs.”
According to Rick Evans, RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce Manager, the idea wasn’t to declare a winning pitch on the night – it was to showcase the skills that students had learnt during the seven month program.
“As far as we know, students in the Hunter haven’t had access to a program of this nature before so we were very excited to be able to facilitate a program that provides students with life-long skills. The Business Centre ran the program as it would for any other client providing students with techniques, skills and information to help them transition their ideas and prototypes to commercially available products and successfully sell their innovations. The program was highly successful and we’ll look to run it again in the future.’ Rick said.
Pierre Malou, CEO of the Business Centre said, “Through a distributed model, the Business Centre’s incubator program is a proven program which can be applied to cohorts diverse in age, background or industry”,
“We’re very excited to be able to work with key partners to deliver an exciting opportunity for these students to sample the commercialisation process”, said Mr Malou. “We are seeing the makings of the next generation of big thinkers in our local innovation ecosystem and wish them all the success in their future.”