College Students Win University Competition

May 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Two Year 13 College students, Andrew Qi and Aditya Arolkar are excited and proud to be part of a five person team of secondary school students who have just been awarded the top prize in The University of Auckland Social Innovation Kickstart Challenge 2014. What makes this win remarkable is that the other teams were all university students. 

All five members are part of The University of Auckland Young Scholars programme. This allows Year 13 secondary school students to take a Level 1 University course on top of their current Year 13 curriculum. Andrew is taking Psychology 108 and Aditya is taking Maths 153. The other three students are from Rangitoto College, Auckland International School and Auckland Grammar. The competition is usually only for university students but as they are enrolled in a paper, they were allowed to enter.

The teams all presented a Business Plan and Social Lean Canvas of their chosen business idea to a large panel of judges. Three of the teams, including theirs, were shortlisted for the quality of their business plans. They then proceeded to a final round where they gave a 10 minute presentation proposing their idea to another panel of judges. The presentation is intended to show the judges how their idea solves a particular social problem, how it has the potential to scale across New Zealand, how it can be profitable and how much money would be required to start up the idea. After these final presentations, the judges allocated funds to each of the three teams appropriately and the team with the most funds wins the competition.

Andrew and Aditya’s team proposed an idea they called ‘Gyropad.’ Their idea was to take old, used school exercise books – ones that usually still have plenty of blank pages at the end of the school year – and use them to teach primary school students how to recycle them into new ones. The used pages will be turned into recycled paper covers and the unused pages as blank pages for the new books.

The plan entails teaching primary students how to bind the new recycled paper cover and unused pages together to make their own book which they take home to keep. Therefore, the team had two quite clear goals:

1)     To reduce unnecessary paper wastage from stored unused exercise books

2)     To actively engage the next generation with the process of recycling

The judges liked the idea so much they awarded $2000 for startup funds ($500 more than the team requested) and overall, they won the competition! (Second place received $500 and 3rd place were not awarded funds). 

So what's next? The Social Innovation panel will be tracking the team’s progress and publicising their campaign in the newspapers and through Facebook. Their first workshops will take place during July with four primary schools and again at the end of the year after the second used book collections occur. 

Congratulations to the boys for their social enterprise. We will follow this with interest!

For more information about The University of Auckland Social Innovation Kickstart Challenge 2014 click here:



Back to News List