I participated in the 2017 Upstart Challenge.

I participated in the 2015 competition with another friend, and won a prize of $200. I learnt about the competition through my Legal Studies teacher Rosetta Pugh. So I decided to have a go at the competition in 2017 to try and kickstart a few of the interesting ideas I wanted to look into after school.

I have never created my own business before. But after upstart, I have the intention to become first a sole trader for building IT systems and then start a business that uses innovative technology solutions to solve meaningful problems, particularly the environment.

  • The three skills I would have taken from Upstart would be the idea that only you are between your idea and its realisation. If there is an idea that you think may work, it’s possible for it to happen as long as you put in the require effort (AND MARKET RESEARCH!!!)
  • I learnt a very large amount of techniques for evaluating ideas. Some of these include the “Testing chamber”, finding everything that’s wrong with your idea from peers, building something that you yourself would use (Pivot Summit – Steven Wozniak).
  • Finally, my public speaking skills have improved by pitching my idea in front of audience. I really enjoyed being on stage at the pitching night.

The problem I identified was that there is no real incentive for people to reduce their waste quantity. People can throw out as much as they want and it never comes back to bite them. All the while we are filling up our landfill. So I thought that if waste was treated like a service, much like water or electricity, and charged based on usage (aka weight), then the community would have a large incentive to throw out less rubbish. This creates a more mindful community and reduces environmental impact.

I would absolutely love to see this implemented within Geelong. Apparently, Corio Waste Management is the only waste company in Australia that has a truck that can legally run Pay-As-You-Throw. So I would love to work with them to make it a reality for private companies (as that is their main clients), and then a reality for the average household.

My highlights of Upstart would have to be the people. I made some great friends such as Scarlett, Will and Sacha. My mentors, Andrew and Terry, were incredible and the Upstart Crew, Heather, Jen and Meg supported all the teams along the way. That being said, there isn’t much of Upstart that wasn’t a highlight. I remember coming back after the competition to Federal Mills (Upstart HQ) and feeling euphoria due to all the great memories that I had there.
Thank you, Sam!
Please check out Sam’s partner Tara and her interview.

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