Auckland’s young budding entrepreneurs have shown they have business ideas impressive enough to rival successful companies as part of the 2016 IDEAStarter youth entrepreneurship contest.

Six IDEAStarter winners were selected out of 137 entries and announced at an awards ceremony held at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) last week.

The winning ideas all centered around technology – including an app which helps young people share their feelings through colours, a water meter in your pocket and an idea to attract more girls at school into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

IDEAStarter is part of Youth Connections, supporting youth employment and enterprise in Auckland, which is primarily funded by The Tindall Foundation and Auckland Council.

The competition backs young entrepreneurs aged 15-24 years to turn their business ideas into action, whether they want to change the world or solve a problem in their own community.

IDEAStarter Judge Ken Brophy, Chief Enabler and Co-Founder of Joy Business Academy (JBA) describes the quality of thinking of young award winners as ‘outstanding’.

“Some of the up-front strategic positioning work was very impressive and more robust that some actual businesses I have worked with during my consulting past,” he says.

“The technology focused ideas presented could not only solve problems identified in New Zealand but also really pressing problems in countries globally, especially third world,” Ken Brophy says.

Patrick McVeigh, Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager Business, Innovation & Skills, says IDEAStarter enables a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by nurturing talent and helping young people into sustainable career paths.

“Our IDEAStarter award winners have come up with compelling ideas which have been well presented and I look forward to following the progress of these young Auckland entrepreneurs,” he says.

IDEAStarter business mentors will work with award winners to help them develop their ideas further with a view to bringing them to market if feasible on further investigation.


IDEAStarter winners


Category Winners Idea
15-18 years Isaac  Mercer SafeDriver
Zach Preston Sentinel
Alexia Hilbertidou, Kayla Turner, Sayurie Naicker GirlBoss NZ
19-24 years Vivek Kumar Fulcrum
Caitlin Smart GreenLightGo
Mildred Wong, Sam Yoon NoBS Ratings