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Entrepreneurs in the making

Teacher and student collaborating at a laptop
A unique opportunity for students to simulate a venture capital pitch

Wesley’s STEM programs are helping students develop business skills from app design to pitching like an entrepreneur.

Sea vacuums, virtual reality tours and apps for using up what’s in your fridge are just some of the innovative prototypes Wesley College Middle School students have designed to address future global issues.

Year 8 students at the Glen Waverley Campus designed conceptual apps, in response to UN Sustainability Goals. In a simulation of a real venture capital pitch, students presented to guest judges including Selim Ahmed and Ben Kemal (OW2002) from Bourne Digital. The pitch, held in November 2019, made full use of the modern lecture theatre at the Charlaftis Collaborative Learning Space in the newly opened facility, The Drennen Centre.

Focusing on the global issues that most concern the students themselves, and providing relevant, real-world experiences, helps to engage students in their learning.

‘The pitch was a chance for students to receive industry-standard critiques of their products and to practise their entrepreneurial skills in a lifelike setting,’ Daniel Galvin, Head of Faculty, Design and Technology at the Glen Waverley Campus, said.

‘The app design process and the pitch provided students with an insight into the long entrepreneurial process, and they’re beginning to understand what’s required to take something from a good idea to a real-life product.’

In December 2019, for the first time a pop-up exhibition of prototypes was on display at the St Kilda Road Campus featuring 55 stalls from 175 students – the entire Year 8 cohort.

The innovative prototypes students designed are certainly forces for good, and have enabled students to engage with real-world experiences, problem-solving and global issues as part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, which students at Wesley study from Years 7 to 10.

‘We’re empowering students with the opportunity to create a product that can help address an issue they’re concerned about,’ Gayathri Wijesekera, Head of Faculty, Design and Technology at the St Kilda Road Campus, said.

‘They have responded with some really imaginative solutions. The skills employed by the students – including design thinking, communication and an innovation mindset – will help pave their way into careers that don’t yet exist.’

The designs indicate students’ acute understanding of current and emerging global issues as well as their varying passions.

Shruti Kumar, Year 8, said that she enjoyed the exploratory style of learning in this project and the chance to be creative.

‘I had the chance to discuss things with my friends, think about my own ideas and realise that there are no limits. If I wanted to make an app about anything, I can do it,’ she said. ‘It was really inspiring to know, once I’d designed my app, that I was capable of making something like that.’