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Accelerating to Net Zero – Venture Makers Innovation Challenge

Students come together at Launch Pad to ideate ways to Accelerate to Net Zero

Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad, teamed up with Climate Kic Australia and Energy Consumers Australia to present the third Venture Makers Innovation Challenge on 15 September 2022. The challenge was a huge success, with 15 teams working on finding a solution to the question, “How do we stop the climate crisis by Accelerating to Net Zero”? 

Three of the teams were international, presenting their final pitches via Zoom, with the other 12 teams working out of Launch Pad’s Parramatta Incubator at the Western Sydney University’s Parramatta Engineering Innovation Hub for the day.

Across the cohort, we had individuals from the school of Business, school of Medicine, school of Computer, Data and Mathematical Sciences, school of Humanities and Communication Arts, school of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, school of Science, and school of Psychology.  

The challenge was led by Brad Twynham, Entrepreneur in Residence, alongside facilitators who encouraged and mentored teams throughout the day as they conceptualised their ideas. 

Facilitator Dr Christine Hallgren said she was “very impressed by the engagement of the students and the positive atmosphere.” Explaining further that “we all learnt something from this event, and I can only encourage everyone to participate. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.” 

Working across areas such as, software development, water cleaning systems, solar energy, AI algorithms and much more, the students were given the whole day to finalise and perfect their 3-minute pitch, which would be given at the end of the night in front of an audience.


The Accelerating to Net Zero Challenge has helped me to step out of my comfort zone, making me feel more confident in public speaking and brainstorming ideas in such a short amount of time.

The day ended with a fast-paced Pitch Competition where all the teams had 3 minutes to present their ideas that they had been working on the last few hours. 

The winners of our previous season – Team O2H, made a comeback. Along with a few other teams from overseas, they zoomed in and were streamed live to present their solutions.

There were three teams who placed as finalists and took home cash prizes! Thank you to our judges for joining us during the night to hear the teams pitch and debating the winners!

Congratulations to the following teams for winning the Pitch Competition! 

1st place: Sunergy

The winning idea was to create a sustainable version of blinds. The Sunergy realised that Solar panels are not always accessible to residents that live in apartments. Their solution is to create blinds that not only block light out of apartments/houses etc, but blinds that have solar panel on them which absorbs the light it blocks. These blinds would “save light and your savings”.

2nd place: Team Energy

The runner’s up idea was to set up a smart meter into households along with solar panels. The meter would measure what percentage of energy is solar or from the grid, the higher the amount that is solar the lower the monthly energy repayment will be.  

3rd place: Team 11

In third place was Team 11, with their SmartCrate solution. This supply chain smart crate would have a microchip embedded into plastic crates, that monitors and tracks the status and viability of the food to optimise sustainability.

Founded by Launch Pad – the University’s Business Incubator – Venture Makers drives transformational change and builds entrepreneurial knowledge and skills with a focus on equipping students for the jobs of the future. Thank you to everyone who participated and made the day an enriching experience, and congrats to all the teams for working together so well and leaving with new skills, ideas, and mindsets!

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for upcoming Venture Makers challenges and what ideas are brought to life from them!