Published on 19 August 2014
A planned business based on beehives made from recycled plastic created a buzz at the final of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast’s annual Business Pitch competition last week (Thursday 14 August).
Beerburrum beekeepers Ann and Jeff Ross won the Concept category of the contest after impressing judges with their ‘show me the honey pitch’, which outlined their plans to produce innovative beehives designed to deter disease and pests like the deadly small hive beetle.
The couple’s prize includes $1,000 for the development of the business, bookkeeping services, financial and legal consultations, website development, smartphone app development, a promotional film, an advertising package and Innovation Centre membership.
“This will be a huge cost saving and has come at just the right time for our business,” Ann said.
Ann and Jeff have been testing their hives for the past eight months and are about to enlist Queensland Professional Beekeepers Association members to do further field testing before they begin production.
Ann is studying a Bachelor of Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast and credits her studies with helping prepare for the competition and planning their new business venture, Hive Haven.
“Studying entrepreneurship really helped me write a good business plan,” she said. “I drew on what I’ve learned in accounting to complete the financial section and the mentors at the Innovation Centre supported the creative drive of the concept. It also gave me the confidence to convey it all verbally in the pitch to the judges.”
Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast CEO and competition judge Mark Paddenburg was impressed by the couple’s planning and ideas.
“Hive Haven’s concept addressed a number of serious problems facing a niche but profitable industry, and was backed by a solid business plan and financial projections,” he said.
A diverse range of industries, competing in two categories, were represented in the finals of the competition.
The Investment category – for more well-established businesses ready to pitch to investors – was won by Nano-Nouvelle with a high-tech battery performance innovation.
USC Bachelor of Business students Wilf Watson and Danum Harris-Lusk were named runners-up in the Concept category for their virtual reality headset app for smartphones.
— Jane Cameron