Pitch for the Planet
Each year, the TOI program culminates in the ‘Pitch for the Planet’ competition, where teams from schools across NSW compete to impress real VCs (investors), successful startup Founders, and sustainability experts.
All participants receive a certificate and micro credentials for their completion of the course and pitch. Winning teams take home $1000, a glass trophy, and industry prizes. This year, winning teams received a fully sponsored trip to UNSW to be immersed in their Science and Engineering research, exploring innovations such as solar powered race cars!
Students Apply their Learning
As an opportunity to apply their learnings from the six month TOI innovation curriculum, student pitches demonstrate a mix of technical STEM skills, entrepreneurship, and soft skill development such as teamwork, confidence and communication skills. Most importantly, students work together to solve a real world sustainability case study, addressing ‘wicked’ problems challenging both industry and the environment.
Solving a Sustainability Case Study
As part of the case study, students must consider key sustainability concepts, including environmental and ecological determinants. Students conduct ethnographic research, hearing directly from stakeholders impacted by the problem space (e.g. scientists, farmers, business owners, or policy makers), and evaluate existing market solutions and constraints (environmental, economic and social). Students consider how new innovations can be used for good.
Pitching Innovations to Investors
The competition itself spans two days, with up to 50 teams competing. Student teams travel from across the state with their teacher mentors. When presenting, teams have 8 minutes to share their problem, market research, solution, product ideation / prototype, opportunity / market size and business and/or impact model. Finally, students have 2 minutes to answer questions and convince the judges to invest in their innovative solution and team.
Two Days / Two Winners
In 2023, students pitched solutions to a real world sustainability problem around reducing emissions in the dairy industry. The case challenge was provided by our cornerstone partners UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute. Thank you to co-sponsors Tank Stream Labs, One Ventures and Quest Payment Systems.
There are many steps in the life cycle of dairy products. All steps of this process produce emissions in various ways. The Australian dairy industry has made a commitment to minimise their environmental footprint and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, while global demand for dairy is expected to increase by approximately 60 percent by 2050. Considering this, impactful changes are needed to ensure the Australian dairy industry can reach their 2030 target. What would you pitch?
Thank You Sponsors
The future is bright because of you.
Ministers and Special Guests
Every year a range of high profile community leaders take time out of their busy schedules to speak at, support, and judge Pitch for the Planet. Whether they are delivering a keynote, exploring the hub with the students, giving feedback, or answering candid questions, these special guests remind students that ‘becoming’ an innovator is also about personal growth, leadership, and community service.
This year we give social thanks to our political leaders The Hon Courtney Houssos, Minister for Finance, and Minister for Natural Resources, The Hon Tara Moriarty, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Western NSW, Trish Doyle MP, Member for Blue Mountains, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, Heritage, Climate Change, and Energy, Sutherland Shire Councillor, Diedree Steinwall, and Investment NSW.
Thank you to Dr Aparna Lal, 2023 ACT Emerging Scientist of the Year, who spoke on her scientific work and values as a sustainable innovator. Thank you to Duku Fore, Founder of Rich Dreams, who inspired students with his journey as a youth leader and refugee who went on to build a technology 'for good' (which students engage with in the TOI program).
Thank you to our judges of both the competition heats and grand finals: Noga Edelstein, Director of Advisory at Tractor Ventures, Hela Zargouni, Program Manager at Cicada Innovations, Amanda Price, Partner, KPMG Enterprise; Co-Lead Deals and Ventures, Bree Kirkham, Investment Manager at Flying Fox Ventures, Hannah Mourney, Investor at Giant Leap, Jan Mason, CEO at Quest Payment Systems, Meg Panozzo, Senior Consultant at RPS, Brad Delamare, CEO at Tank Stream Labs, James Stewart, CEO at Always Carbon, Wendy Mackay, Managing Director at Pollination, Sharon Swift, Manager at UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute (‘DGFI’), Lu Li, One Ventures, and Ursula Crowley Hogben, Founder and Director at Amara.
Bosco College's Team 'Equatone': 3D Digital Model
So Many Powerful Ideas!
Hall of Fame
Congratulations to all of the teams who compete each year. Special mention goes to our yearly winners and finalists.
Day One: DairyWay, Rutherford Technology High School
Day Two: Synetic, St John Bosco College
Calm Milk, Maitland Grossmann High School
Oxen, Ravenswood School for Girls
MuPu, Maitland Grossmann High School
BioFarm, St Luke's Catholic College
Equatone, St John Bosco College
The Milk Logistics, Moorefield Girls High School
Day One: Insolar, St Ursula's College, Kingsgrove
Day Two: Eco-Crate, Ravenswood School for Girls
PinkWire, St John Bosco College
Prowano, Cabramatta High School
Project Plant, Tangara School for Girls
Agrifirma, Ravenswood School for Girls
Huskly, Maitland Grossmann High School
SeaFeed, Maitland Grossmann High School
Current Care Sea Repair, Cerdon College
Tangara School for Girls
Tangara School for Girls
Caroline Chisholm College
St Ursula's College, Kingsgrove