Cleve Area School students win national Agrifutures competition

WINNERS: Georgia Macgowan and Jorja Newlyn at the National Brilliant Business Kids Festival in Sydney. Photo: Supplied.

WINNERS: Georgia Macgowan and Jorja Newlyn at the National Brilliant Business Kids Festival in Sydney. Photo: Supplied.

Cleve Area School students have brought home yet another award for 2019, with Georgia Macgowan and Jorja Newlyn winning a national entrepreneurship award in Sydney last week.

The two year 8 students represented the school at the Brilliant Business Kids Festival after participating in an entrepreneurial learning program sponsored by Agrifutures and startup.business.

The school is the only one in the state to participate in the program, which encourages entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving skills to get students thinking about a career in agriculture.

During the course of the program, Georgia and Jorja developed a pitch for their entrepreneurial idea; the 'Handy Trough' app, which they presented at the festival.

The product is a sensor fitted to the bottom of water troughs that monitors water levels and quality and senses leaks.

The sensor is connected to a mobile app which sends the consumer alerts when something requires attention.

The students pitch their 'Handy Trough' business idea. Photo: Supplied.

The students pitch their 'Handy Trough' business idea. Photo: Supplied.

Georgia said the pair came up with the idea with assistance from her father, a local farmer.

She said the app would potentially save lives, allowing farmers to better monitor the safety of their stock.

"It saves farmers time and money as well," she said.

The two students said the assistance they had received from the wider Cleve agricultural community had helped them develop a business idea that addressed a real need.

Local industry professionals were involved in judging the year 8 and 9 classes to decide on the pitch to send to Sydney, and Georgia and Jorja also surveyed their peers' parents for feedback while developing their pitch.

"Most of them are farmers so that was really useful," Georgia said.

At the festival, the students spent a day hearing from speakers including federal skills and tertiary education minister Geoff Lee and successful entrepreneurs within the industry.

Georgia Macgowan and Jorja Newlyn with entrepreneur Oliver Bora, Cleve Area School teacher Annie Richter and minister for skills and tertiary education Geoff Lee. Photo: Supplied.

Georgia Macgowan and Jorja Newlyn with entrepreneur Oliver Bora, Cleve Area School teacher Annie Richter and minister for skills and tertiary education Geoff Lee. Photo: Supplied.

Jorja said they were given additional strategies for successfully pitching their idea, and the speakers reinforced the importance of building a career from your passion.

Georgia said the trip made her think about the role of entrepreneurial skills for the future and the skills they had learned would assist them in their studies both within agriculture and in other areas.

"The things we learned, that's going to stick with us for a while," she said.

The pair won $400 in prize money which they said they would use to fund their travel costs.

They have also been invited to an entrepreneurship event in May 2020.

Agriculture teacher Annie Richter, who accompanied the students, said the win confirmed the benefits of the school's approach to educating students in agriculture.

"The kids have really good ideas and they've been able to pitch it successfully," she said.

The win follows on from the school's recent success at the Royal Adelaide Show Interschool Merino Competition, student Sophie Nuske winning an SA Training award for her school-based apprenticeship and the school's involvement in the town's SA Ag Town of the Year win.

The Agrifutures program was supported financially by the District Council of Cleve, Port Lincoln 4WD, Primary Industries Education Foundation of Australia (PIEFA), Rudall Motors, Deloshanda Merino and Poll Merino Stud, and Rabobank.