Safety device wins $70,000 EChallenge

Thursday, 25 September 2003

A device no bigger than a 20-cent coin that could help improve safety at ski resorts has won $50,000 in cash and prizes - and has a real shot at becoming one of South Australia's newest innovative products - thanks to the University of Adelaide's Entrepreneurs' Challenge (EChallenge).

The EChallenge is a competition in which teams - including at least one University of Adelaide student - come up with new business ventures that have real commercial value.

Last night's finals dinner, held at the Italian Centre in Adelaide, was the culmination of six months' hard work for the five finalist teams.

The winning team was Genii (pronounced JEN-EYE), which is developing a system designed initially as a location device for patrons at ski resorts.

Hands-free and no bigger than a 20c coin, the device will act in the first instance for safety, and also as a cashless point-of-purchase for all locations within the resort, freeing consumers of the worry of carrying cash and credit cards.

"With our product, there is no search and rescue - only rescue," says winning team member Austin.

Among the five-member Genii team are two current University of Adelaide students and one graduate: Monique Bowley from Clapham, studying for a Media Studies degree, Commerce/Law student Rebecca Schwartz from Glenelg North, and Commerce/Law graduate Jason Watson from Modbury North. The other team members are Andrew Hardacre from Seacombe and Austin, also from Glenelg North.

The runners up were GeneSense, winning $17,000 for second place, and Bioprotective Innovations, with $6000 in cash and prizes for third.

The winner of the $1000 People's Choice Award last night was the Sahara Lounge.

EChallenge project manager and University of Adelaide Commerce/Law student Marissa Haltis says the winning teams represent South Australia's best and newest entrepreneurs.

"When you consider the calibre of the competition, with 60 teams originally competing and the overall quality of the finalists, our three winning teams have made a remarkable effort," Ms Haltis says.

"We hope that EChallenge will be the catalyst these teams need to go out and succeed with their business ventures, and we are proud that the competition has helped to develop entrepreneurial skills in a new generation of South Australians.

"We wish Genii all possible success with their new venture, which has the potential to make a huge impact on resort operations and patron safety worldwide."

Austin says: "Winning the EChallenge is a great stepping stone for Genii. The prizes supplied from Hewlett-Packard, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and the other fantastic sponsors will enable Genii's dedicated and talented team to take the next important steps in its development."

The EChallenge's major sponsor is Hewlett-Packard, with sponsorship also from the University of Adelaide's Graduate School of Business, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Coopers Brewery, Computer Associates, Corporate Express, Centre for Innovation, Business and Manufacturing, Adelaide Research and Innovation, Woman Chiefs of Enterprises - International, Microsoft, Playford Capital, Taylor Collison, Madderns Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys and the Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources.


Contact Details

Rebecca Schwartz
Genii team members
Mobile: 0402 349 116

Austin Schwartz
Genii team member
Mobile: 0402 349 116

Ms Marissa Haltis
Project Manager
Business: +61 8 8313 6138
Mobile: 0401 670 673