Recognition of our Future Entrepreneurs
Winners Ashna Kapoor, Ashley Oliver-Sjahry and Anna Michael with their Commerce teacher, Ms McCulloch
They say a good business plan is essential for the success of any new business. Three enterprising students from Year 10 already know how it’s done. They devised a prize-winning business plan for a product designed to make life easier for busy families.
Ashna Kapoor, Anna Michael and Ashley Oliver-Sjahry won the NSW division, against 60 other entries, of the Plan Your Own Enterprise Competition 2016 run by CPA Australia. There were 496 participants overall from independent and government schools across metropolitan and regional NSW.
Ashna, Anna and Ashley came up with an idea for safe, simple and revolutionary wireless chargers for home use. Their product idea, ZIPCharge, is a charging base station for the home which allows multiple devices to be charged wirelessly and all at the same time.
According to Competition Coordinator Nick Ward of Economics and Business Educators NSW ZIPCharge was an innovative business plan which met a niche in wireless charging devices.
‘The plan thoroughly addressed all components of the competition and provided detailed financial statements’, he said.
The business plan needed to include the business name, the business’s prime function, the location, the appropriate legal structure, the business mission, the staffing requirements, the marketing plan, financial plans (including a list of start-up costs, a sales forecast, and a monthly cash budget), future prospects and up to five pages of appendices.
Ashna, Anna and Ashely gave some tips on why they succeeded:
How did you come up with the idea for ZIPCharge?
We wanted to do something that hadn't been attempted before, something original and relevant to a contemporary society. We reflected on aspects of life that we thought could be improved. Some early ideas included sweat proof shirts and a phone case that granted extra storage space. We were frustrated that many of our ideas had already been created, but we persevered on finding a modern issue that no one else had tackled yet. We eventually found an industry that was constantly evolving: technology. We decided to design a device that would prevent people from running out of battery charge on all of their devices, whilst eliminating the hazards of charger cords. We played around with design ideas until eventually we ended up with a product that could wirelessly charge multiple devices simultaneously within a 20 m radius.
How many hours did it take you to write the business plan and complete all other requirements for the competition entry?
We had a total of four weeks of Commerce class time, which would be equivalent to around 11 hours of school time in total. We did have to do quite a bit of work at home and catch up after school to finish and polish our business plan. We allocated each of us a section so that we could work more efficiently, each contributing up to five hours of our own time to complete our sections.
Did you enjoy putting the business plan together?
It was enjoyable to collaborate and work together as a group. Some sections were more enjoyable than others. We generally found the marketing aspect enjoyable and in some ways exciting to see how our product could become a success. However, the finance section was often very stressful and frustrating as we were constantly discovering new expenses that we hadn’t accounted for. Overall it was a valuable and rewarding experience.
What did you get out of entering the competition?
It was rewarding to know that our many hours of hard work had paid off and were appreciated. It was an exciting experience and we also received a $150 Dymocks voucher each.
What are your plans for when you leave school?
We are still considering a range of options. Anna is unsure but has interests in marketing or medicine, Ashna would like to incorporate business and science into a career and Ashley is interested in engineering.
Do you have other business ideas?
When we were brainstorming we came up with quite a large list of possible ideas, such as an app that scans rubbish and determines whether it is recyclable. However, none of these were as suitable to pursue as ZIPCharge.