JUST Start It – Innovative program for High School Students – Semi Finals

Just Start It Semi-finals

iSOL8 Pty Ltd through the owner – Craig Power – dedicates up to 20% pro-bono consultancy time to support ventures that contribute to improving our WA community – especially for high school students in  developing their confidence and a sense of their worth, being able imagine and realise the pathways to their future careers.

I had the privilege and pleasure to be one of the judges at the Just Start It semi-finals held at ECU Joondalup Campus this weekend where over 20 teams from several WA high schools pitched their solution – starting from a “Real Problem” through to “Going to Market”.

I talked to many parents who were supporting their children participating in the semi-finals.

There was a unanimous expression that the program had excited and transformed their child. Parents were truly grateful and in some cases astounded on the positive changes.

I have included an excerpt of an e-mail sent by Lainey Weiser (CEO and Driver of Just Start It “) to mentors, schools, teachers and teams.

“Dear Just Start It Teachers & Mentors

This weekend Just Start It was honoured to hold our first Semi Final Round for the year at Edith Cowan University Joondalup’s new Smart Lab.  An incredible facility that offers students state of the art technology for hands on learning on social media platforms in a room purpose built for such, and a Trading Lab fitted out with all the latest Bloomberg technology to facilitate real world experience.  Such opportunity fostered by such a great university will hopefully have grabbed many brilliant imaginations that had the opportunity of experiencing the space for themselves over the 2 days.  Thank you to ECU’s School of Business and Law headed up by Janet Simmons and her amazing team Jo Martin and Jason Udy who took such good care of all of us all weekend.

Pitch events only work when great judges are present to judge them.  Steve & I would like to thank the team from Moshi Moshi Marketing – David Byatt & Karl Moyse, and Craig Power from isol8 for giving of their time over the weekend not to just score teams, but for their incredible feedback and love to each and every group.  These judges and all your mentors give of their time with no ask in return.  They do it for love and growth of our youth.  To our mentors:

  1. Angie Keeler from Zellabox;
  2. Cherelle Whitney from Tricky Treats;
  3. Claude De Lucia from Diversus
  4. David Byatt from Moshi Moshi Marketing
  5. Kathryn Raats from West coast Music School
  6. Mel Strutt from Roobix
  7. Sharon & Grant Grosser from SEQTA
  8. Morgyn Hastings
  9. Ali Sweet
  10. Chong Yee Ong
  11. Ty Sedgman
  12. Megan Gobey from The Inventors Hub
  13. Craig Power from isol8
  14. Andy Buchanan Hughes from Priority Management
  15. Darren Mottolini from crcsi


I don’t need to tell any of you who attended the 2 days how incredible and rich the talent was.  Fertile minds overflowing with energy and passion as students pitched with eloquence far beyond their years.  Their research, validation, and ability to build business has not gone unnoticed.  As a matter of a fact the calibre this year is higher than ever.

Because of such a high calibre, we have had to let 11 teams through this year.  To the teams who have not gotten through to the finals, we need you to know:

  1. You blew us away with your tenacity and passion
  2. Every idea we heard has legs
  3. Standing up and pitching is not easy and you all were incredible
  4. The teams who have gotten through were just more ready, more polished, more well researched, better validated and had proof of concept with partners or clients on board.

To you who have not gotten through to the finals of this round, our next semi-final round will be in November pitching towards West Tech Festival 6th December, where finalists will pitch for $5000 in front of judges all the way from Silicon Valley.  So if you are hungry enough to succeed and want this enough you will take on board feedback given to you in this round and pitch again in November.  We would truly love to see you then.

In no particular order please may we from Just Start It congratulate our top 11 teams who will pitch on the 29th July 10am-12pm for the Just Start It Trophy 2017, $5000 for themselves, the opportunity to represent WA at the iAwards end of August in Melbourne, and pitch for the title of WA Innovation Youth Award (our new partners) in November for a further $5000 brought to WA by the Department of Commerce and Industry.

Okay drumroll please (Teams who went though to the Grand Final):

TolkaComo Secondary CollegeBrenton SkufcaDarren Mottolini
ParKINGSacred Heart CollegeTanya AthertonTY Sedgman
Big Hand Little HandDianella Secondary CollegeLeanne PhillipeLainey Weiser
I Challenge youFoundation Christian CollegeAly HillLainey Weiser
GunkiesBunbury Cathedral GrammarDavid WhiteDavid Moyse
See FoodSouth Coast Baptist CollegeAntony NorrisSteve Weiser
Dream AwayPenrhos CollegeAlison WalkerClaude De Lucia
Coach ConnectShenton CollegeKshamta TrisalAngie Keeler
BookareeComo Secondary CollegeBrenton SkufcaDarren Mottolini
Wizard GuardianFoundation Christian CollegeAly HillLainey Weiser
Y.O.U.Penrhos CollegeAlison WalkerClaude De Lucia

We will be sending detailed feedback to every team who took part in the semi-finals over the weekend.  Teachers please make sure your teams receive the feedback.  We need every team to know they did an incredible job.”