In October of 2018, 3 students in year 9 at Mount Alvernia College approached me to ask if I’d be their Coach for the Conrad Challenge, 2018/2019. I had no real idea what was involved but I said yes anyway. Since then we have embarked on a very steep learning curve, and I am so proud of what these girls have achieved.
Firstly, some background information on what the Conrad Challenge actually is!
It’s a competition hosted by the Conrad Foundation in the United States of America. It is open to all students around the world, aged 13 to 18. Students form teams and choose a category. The categories for 2018/2019 were:
- Aerospace & Aviation
- Cyber Technology & Security
- Energy & Environment
- Health & Nutrition
- Transforming Education with Technology
- Smoke-Free World
After selecting a category, students then decide on an issue within that category that they want to solve or provide a service for. The competition then consists of three rounds:
Round 1: The Pitch
Students create a 1 minute video that includes a short pitch of their idea.
Round 2: The Business Proposal
Students write to a structured business proposal template, outlining their business and marking strategies, as well as their technical concept and design and manufacturing details.
Round 3: The Innovation Summit – Investor Pitch
Selected teams are invited to pitch their ideas to investors.
Each team is required to advance to the next round and, unfortunately not all teams make it. The marking is strict and the competition fierce.
At the end of the Round 2, my girls were named in the Top 10 of the Energy and Environment category! Unfortunately only the Top 5 are invited but we were named as Alternate Finalists and are very proud of ourselves.
My girls chose to tackled water conservation and created a company called DigiDrop, that sells a product called the DropMonitor. As part of Round 2, teams were asked to submit a 3 minute video outlining their product – you can watch DigiDrop’s here! It will explain their product far better than I can…
As you can see, a lot of time, effort, thought, and research went into their product. Throughout the whole process these girls were inundated with questions from family and friends about their design and how it was all going to work. At the time the girls didn’t know the answers, but by the end of the project they had figured it out. This is what I am most proud of.
And so, despite not making it through to Round 3 this time, the girls have decided to have another go at it. We’re taking it even more seriously and have decided to expand our team to the maximum of 5 members. To do this, the girls have decided to advertise for the positions, host interviews, and select from the candidates. We’re starting early and have our plan all mapped out for the rest of the year to maximise the amount of time we spend on the project to give us our best chance at being invited to the Innovation Summit next year. I cannot wait to see what the girls come up with this year!