Brainstorming small1Yesterday the winners of Teen Start-Up: ‘Future Cities’ were announced. Winning first place was Team PowAir with a project focussed on renewable energy in the aviation industry. In Second Place was Team PowerG Calculator that pitched the idea for an online calculator that allows homeowners to compare energy providers and relate their offering to an investment in solar. In third place was Team Esuriit Designs pitching a points-based membership network of community gardens to encourage urban farming.

Eleven teams participated, made up of students aged between 10 and 15 years from 14 different schools in Canberra. The students focussed on problems their generation would face in relation to the topic ‘future cities’, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges on the Sunday afternoon. Projects tackled issues relating to public transport, waste management, jobs and economic growth, food security, infrastructure, data, information access and air pollution.


Teen Start-Up is an initiative of local innovation consultancy, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre (Lighthouse). The Lighthouse team has been supporting Canberra entrepreneurs for nearly a decade and believes that teaching skills like creative problem solving, critical thinking, the ability to work effectively in diverse teams and knowing how to present your ideas clearly is vital for young people today.

“Teen Start-Up: Future Cities is the first of three teen innovation events we will be running this year,” said Lighthouse CEO Anna Pino.

“We will be running an Aviation-themed Teen Start-Up at Canberra Airport during the July school holidays and will also be launching a teen accelerator program towards the end of the year for those students who want to further progress their ideas”.


At the heart of Teen Start-Up is the focus on learning skills that will enable our young people to live and work effectively in the 21st Century. With the impact of technology and the move towards a service-based economy there has been a change of emphasis from knowledge to ability as well as the need to weave interdisciplinary themes such as global awareness and financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy into learning.

Over the weekend, the students taking part in Teen Start-Up: Future Cities had a unique opportunity to hear from successful Canberra entrepreneurs and even try out new technology provided by the YWCA Clubhouse and Canberra start-up Poppin Code, an online school that helps kids to learn about coding and digital technologies.


Market Research small Technology Showcase small TeamEsuritt hard at work small


Judge and mentor, Dr Lachlan Blackhall from Reposit Power addressed the audience of parents and friends who came to watch the teams pitch,” As judges it's really amazing to be able to come here and see what the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs are actually thinking about.”

“It is easy to underestimate the importance of events like this, but we live in a really interesting time with lots of significant challenges like climate change, pollution and food security. Over time we will overcome these challenges with the help of these young entrepreneurs and as we move on to face other challenges, it will be up to this generation to tackle them as well”.

“So, it is immensely important that these young people understand how to go through the process of generating ideas and also to realise that they have the capacity to actually make those changes”.

Addressing the teams directly, Dr Blackhall said, “It is important that you understand that each of you can change the world and that your ideas, passion and enthusiasm are what will make the world a better place”.

For more information about Teen Start-Up and the upcoming Aviation Teen Start-Up school holiday program, visit 

Photos by: Roslyn Clark Photography


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit for more information.