The Coopernook Public School community is dizzy with excitement.
School principal Tania Gilchrist and six year 5/6 students are travelling to Melbourne next month after two teams from the school were announced winners in the inaugural Kidpreneur Challenge.
“They’re just beside themselves,” Mrs Gilchrist said on behalf of her students.
“Most of them haven’t ever been on a plane, and three of them are indigenous students.”
The Challenge is a national competition to unearth Australian’s youngest kidpreneurs, aged 9-12 years, and is run by social enterprise Club Kidpreneur Foundation.
Coopernook Public School’s wins are spectacular, considering only 10 teams Australia wide were selected as winners.
More than 2000 students across the country entered the competition, and the top 50 teams progressed to the judging finals.
In those top 50 teams were all seven teams from Coopernook Public School – comprising every single student in year 5/6.
Led by Mrs Gilchrist, the teams of three built micro-businesses for the Challenge, sold products at a market, donated the profits to charity, and pitched their idea to entrepreneurs with videos.
The two winning Coopernook ‘businesses’ were Caplures, making and selling fishing lures made from recycling bottle caps, and Jewletastic, creating polished stone and leather necklaces.
Ty Wallace was the mastermind behind Caplures, and his two fishing-loving classmates Shawn Drury and Kaios Baker were right behind the idea.
The boys were sick of having to buy expensive lures that kept breaking and wanted to find a way they could make their own.
Mrs Gilchrist, who is a keen angler, tested the product for quality control and caught nine rainbow trout in once session.
Bantiva Baker, Madison Gill and William Harper make up the Jeweltastic team, with Bantiva being the mind behind the product. They said that, as kids, they are given a lot of cheap jewellery that breaks, and they wanted to produce a product that was long lasting, durable and affordable.
After news of the wins was aired on local television stations, the teams soon sold out of product, with viewers phoning the school to place orders.
“It was 10 weeks of hard work,” Mrs Gilchrist said, and the trip to Melbourne is an exciting reward for that work.
In Melbourne the students will have a money-can’t-buy business experience, the ‘Kidpreneur-in-Residence Internship’ at Moose Headquarters.
They will spend the day with product engineers and a marketing team exploring behind the scenes of Australia’s fourth largest toy company.
While there, each team will be presented with their prize, to go to their school, of a computer, 3D scanner and printer, valued at $4589. As Coopernook has two winning teams, this means they receive this package times two, an important gain for the school.
“We’d never be able to afford anything like that,” Mrs Gilchrist said.
To help the kids get to Melbourne, the Manning Valley Business Chamber generously donated $1200 which is the entirety of the airfares, something Mrs Gilchrist is extremely grateful for.