Upstart Challenge – Ballarat 20202020-11-27T11:13:41+10:00

Get Involved in 2021!

We are pleased to announce that the Upstart Challenge will be back in Ballarat for 2021, for the fourth year in a row!

Our teacher-led program is mapped to the Australian Curriculum and has been designed to be delivered to the whole class with minimal preparation from the teacher.

Register your school’s interest using this form and we’ll be in touch soon!

2021 Upstart Programs - Register your interest

And the winner is…

CONGRATULATIONS to Beth Wright, from Year 10 at Loreto College for being named Ballarat’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2020!

With environmental impact at the heart, Beth’s business idea is Ecolo – a mobile app that scans barcodes on beauty products to provide information about the environmental impact of the product. Armed with this information, consumers can then make more conscious decisions about their purchases. Beth has won $1000 for her idea!

People’s Choice Award

Team Hydrozoid won the People’s Choice Award – voted for by the audience during the Showcase – with a prize of $300!

Team Members: Carmen Gallardo, Joshua Di Mieri and Zoe Daniel from Year 9, Bacchus Marsh Grammar

Big Idea: Hydrozoid is a renewable, clean energy device that generates electricity through the currents of water, aimed at providing rural communities in the developing world with easier access to power.

Key Program Dates 2020

Join The Conversation


Brand new for this year, teachers participating in the Upstart Challenge will get access to our Upstart Teachers Community of Practice. This is a place for teachers to share resources, ideas and advice related to teaching entrepreneurial education and innovative thinking.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you here!

Join Today


If you’re a student taking part in the Ballarat Upstart Challenge this year, join the conversation online by following #UpstartChallenge. We’re so excited to hear some of your Big Ideas!

You can follow us on social media by clicking the links below – come and say hi, and connect with other young entrepreneurs across the region.

Meet The Judges…

We’re pleased to let you know that joining
Heather and Jenny, our Co-Founders and Directors, on the judging panel this year are Jodie Gillett, CEO of Commerce Ballarat and Ian Corcoran, Chairman at Buninyong District and Community Branch Bank of Bendigo Bank. 🥳🥳

As long time supporters of the Upstart Challenge, Jodie and Ian are looking forward to seeing this year’s entrepreneurial entries from Ballarat’s emerging young changemakers!

Jen Perks
Jen PerksCo-Founder & Director, Upstart
Heather Kelly
Heather KellyCo-Founder & Director, Upstart
Jodie Gillett
Jodie GillettCEO of Commerce Ballarat
Ian Corcoran
Ian CorcoranChairman at Buninyong District and Community Branch Bank of Bendigo Bank

Mentoring & Masterclass Maker Day

In this Upstart led, fast paced and energising workshop, finalist students from across the region work with our local mentors and learn how to take their ideas to the next stage. Hosted at the Ballarat Tech School, students will build prototypes and hone their communication skills in preparation for the Upstart Challenge Showcase.

Upstart Challenge Live Online Pitch Showcase

The countdown is on!

During the Upstart Challenge online pitch showcase event, finalist teams will represent their school to showcase their solutions to “Positively Change their World” to the Upstart judging panel, and an audience from business, education and the wider community and compete for their share of the prize. Book your free tickets here!

Prizes and Awards:

  • $1000 – The Upstart Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Award

  • $300 – People’s Choice Award

  • Perpetual Trophy – Entrepreneurial School of the Year

Stay informed

News & Events

Facebook Feed

5 hours ago

Upstart HQ

We wouldn't be able to run our Upstart programs without the support and commitment from the Upstart Community.

🙌 We want to say a BIG thank you to our generous sponsors for the 2020 Ballarat #UpstartChallenge - Regional Development Victoria, Buninyong & District Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank and Runway!
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3 days ago

Upstart HQ

Smile if you've got that Friday feeling 😎

Whilst you may not be celebrating with a GIANT cheque - like our Ballarat Entrepreneur of the Year winner, Beth! - we hope you have an awesome weekend!
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2 weeks ago

Upstart HQ

Introducing... Team Rescue Watch! 🏊‍♀️🌊🧭

Meet Olivia Beechey and Eleanor Justin from Year 6 at Ballarat Grammar and finalists in the 2020 Ballarat #UpstartChallenge. Their idea, Rescue Watch is a wearable GPS watch device worn by open water swimmers and surfers to help lifeguards locate them quicker if they were to get into trouble, designed to reduce the number of drownings across Australia.

Olivia and Eleanor really impressed the judges on the night and their passion shone throughout the program and their final pitch! 🌟

Well done, Team Rescue Watch - we hope you’ll take part in the #UpstartChallenge again next year!
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2 weeks ago

Upstart HQ

Introducing... TEAM Sports4Kidz! 🏏🥅🏉

Meet Mia Flynn and Zari Collin from Year 10 at Mount Rowan Secondary College. It was great to see their final pitch for their idea Sports4Kidz - a community-based physical activity program using school facilities to remove the barriers to exercise for young people - develop so much throughout the Ballarat #UpstartChallenge this year.

Their pitch receiving excellent feedback from our audience, the judging panel AND they already have interest from their school to take part in the initiative.

We’re excited to see where this idea takes them - well done, Team Sports4Kidz! 👏👏
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