Best foot forward for Shark Tank eSchool winner

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

A team that want to assist children born with clubfoot has today won the top prize in the Shark Tank eSchool for their innovative solution. The team, 1 Step At A Time, has won $5000 in prize money.

The Shark Tank eSchool, created through a partnership between the University of Adelaide, Sony Pictures Television’s Shark Tank Australia and MIE Lab and supported by the South Australian Department for Education and Santos, is a program that develops entrepreneurial skills in young people.

Participants in the program developed an innovative solution to a real-world problem, either personal, school, community, industry, or a social issue that they defined and identified needs to be solved. Today they pitched their innovations to a panel of judges and industry specialists.

1 Step At A Time is a not-for-profit organisation comprising Sabrina Passelli, Mahala Truscott and Sarah Pike from St Peters’ Girls’ School, Adelaide. The team worked alongside Bangladesh charity Walk For Life to help children born with clubfoot. Every year in Bangladesh an estimated 5000-6000 children are born with clubfoot deformity: approximately 1 of every 1,000 children born in the country.

Their new and improved splint design corrects the condition and allows children’s feet to properly heal after surgery and reduces the chance of relapse in infants due to the increased mobility in the design. The splint can be made locally using a 3D printer.

After completing one semester of tailored entrepreneurial skills training, over 500 Year 10 and 11 students (120 teams) across South Australia competed for a slew of awards at today’s Shark Tank eSchool Venture Showcase. Other projects included an app to reduce food wastage in the home, a fast, convenient way of testing for urine infections and a custom clothing brand which allows customers to get their perfect fit of jeans.

Professor Noel Lindsay, Pro Vice Chancellor Entrepreneurship and Dean of Business, the University of Adelaide’s Adelaide Business School, highlights the need for the Shark Tank eSchool program: “The importance of entrepreneurship in education is being recognised in building foundational skills for the 21st century and the Shark Tank eSchool program will arm secondary students with the ability to create and build their own futures.”

Managing Director of MIE Lab, Andrew Bensley states: “The Shark Tank eSchool program does more than just aid in the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs, it teaches students transferable skills such as how to research, how to communicate and work within a team dynamic, as well as critical and creative problem-solving skills, and how to pitch and present to an audience. These are the soft skills all students need to have and can apply to whatever career path they choose to take.”

Professor Carolin Plewa, Director of the University of Adelaide’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre says: “The Shark Tank eSchool program helps students develop critical and creative thinking and encourages them to adopt an innovative approach to problem solving.”

The program is a train-the-trainer model whereby teachers are taken through a 2-day workshop delivered at the University of Adelaide which equips them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver the Shark Tank eSchool program within their own schools. In the process these teachers are also building their own understanding of entrepreneurship and creative and critical problem-solving capacity.

“More than forty teachers from both public and private schools from across SA will teach more than 500 students in our semester 1 pilot program and, with participation numbers looking to double in our Semester 2 2019 program, 2020 is looking pretty exciting”, says Andrew Bensley, Managing Director of MIE Lab.

Shark Tank eSchool is one of the projects selected to support five specialist schools which have been established to champion, model and deliver entrepreneurial learning and to build capacity in other schools across the state.

“The State Government is helping young people to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and is embedding entrepreneurial learning in their schools’ curriculum and culture. The South Australian economy will benefit greatly from young people pursuing an entrepreneurial career pathway,” Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said.

“The State Government is delighted to be working with the university sector to promote entrepreneurial education, and I congratulate all the partners involved in making the Shark Tank eSchool project such a success.”

Professor Noel Lindsay says: “The Shark Tank eSchool program will arm secondary students with the ability to create and build their own futures.”


Contact Details

Professor Carolin Plewa
Director (Interim)
Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 (0)408 559 722

Mr Andrew Bensley
Managing Director
Mobile: +61 (0)422 925 979

Crispin Savage
Media and Communications Officer
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 (0)481 912 465