Solar trading scheme takes out the Australian eChallenge

Friday, 14 November 2014

A business plan to develop an innovative solar energy trading scheme has won the University of Adelaide Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre's (ECIC) 2014 Australian eChallenge.

Virtual Energy, with members Jonathon Harvey, Stephen McLinton and Peter Cockburn, also received the Vroom Award and the People’s Choice Award, seeing the team walk away with more than $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Professor Noel Lindsay, ECIC Director, says this year's competition was highly competitive, with the highest number of applicants in its 13-year history, and the members of Virtual Energy should be proud of their achievement.

"Virtual Energy is a truly worthy winner. With increasing concerns around the environment and the cost of electricity, the team has identified a gap in the market place and developed a highly desirable scheme," Professor Lindsay says.

"The Australian eChallenge is not just about good ideas; the team members also demonstrated they have keen business minds and the commitment to develop a sustainable enterprise."

Further Australian eChallenge winners announced at the awards' event, held at Adelaide Oval last night, include:

  • Light, a drone platform offering cost-effective data collection for farmers – winner of second prize, a Day@Microsoft and the trip to Austin Texas;

  • Peekaboo, a detachable phone case that reduces the risk of application intervention – winner of third prize;

  • Australian School Search, an online school search portal for parents – winner of the Highest Potential Online Award; and

  • Freshly Squeezed Business, a website and mobile application for women starting a new business – winner of the ECIC Commercialisation Encouragement Award.

The winner of the schools stream of the Australian eChallenge was also announced at the awards night, with Indigo & Co (an online portal to help secondary students map out career pathways), taking out first prize.

The three team members, Wendy Shirra, Amelia Smith and Erin O'Carroll, are from Mitcham Girls High School.

Further winners of the school stream of Australian eChallenge, include:

  • Brightlife, a watch containing GPS and heart monitoring systems for people at risk of heart attack – winner of second prize and a Day@Microsoft;

  • Deep Crust Mining Initiative, an inexpensive deep-crust drill – winner of third prize;

  • Funporia, a 24-hour fun-park café for adults – winner of ECIC Encouragement Award; and

  • Alequim, a free phone call service that doesn’t require the internet – winner of Best Presentation Award.

The annual Australian eChallenge competition incorporates business and entrepreneurial workshops, team mentoring by industry professionals, networking opportunities and help in developing new business ideas.

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The University of Adelaide
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