Students prove a beacon of entrepreneurship

Trak King, a beacon that can be attached to any object and located easily through an app, complete with alerts when you move out of range of the device, was the best of the startup ideas by high school students taking part in Queensland incubator Silicon Lakes’ Startup Apprentice Pilot Program.


Trak King was selected as the overall winner from the seven products created by the students from years nine, 10 and 11 from Varsity College, Queensland’s largest school. Thirty students took part in the eight week program, which encouraged them to start thinking differently about how to approach their working life.


The program aims to lift Australia’s participation rate in startup businesses by exposing students to entrepreneurship.


Other business ideas created by the students include:


  • Booster Box; a device which would help increase the performance of old computers by increasing its memory and processing speed with a SSD booster box.
  • Pocket Rocket; Mobile gaming reinvented – better designed games that work on every platform.
  • Pop ‘n’ Chew; Chewing becomes a new sensory experience this exciting and tasty new popping bubble gum.
  • Beanman; A new game featuring Beanman who is on a quest to destroy evil carrots.
  • X20 Flava; Straws that contain low fat flavour crystals that turn a glass of water into a drink of cordial.
  • Background Reminders; An app that changes the wallpaper on smartphones based on keywords it picks up in your calendar to ensure its users don’t miss events.

Silicon Lakes’ Sharon Hunneybell and Sam Winter were thrilled with the efforts of the students.


Five of the seven teams had a working prototype of their product ready for the demo day.


“The most special part of the whole thing for me was at demo day, we had quite a few of the parents come up to us and tell us that they’d seen changes in their kids,” Hunneybell says.


“Their children were looking at the world differently, seeing new opportunities in everyday objects that they could improve and build on.


“Quite a number have been bitten with the entrepreneurial bug.”


Hunneybell says it was quite a learning experience delivering a program to students, which presented new challenges for the Silicon Lakes team, who are more familiar dealing with adult entrepreneurs.


“I’d be happy to admit it was a lot more work than we thought it would be,” she says.


“We’re used to teaching skills to adults, adapting that to a school age audience was a challenge.


“They have an amazing ability to be tinkering away on their phones, coding on their computer and still listen to what you’re saying,” she says with a laugh.


The program has been chosen by Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate’s as the part of the prize for the winner of the Mayor’s Technology Award for Gold Coast high schools and will be delivered for free to the winning high school.


Organisers are currently in negotiations with other schools to host more programs.


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