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Pitching for Business

From a hoodie designed for the beach to a rideshare app for the visually impaired, Haileybury students showcase their smart ideas…

NEWS 4 May 2022

Clever ideas, smart thinking, determination, teamwork and creativity. These highly-prized skills and qualities are shared by the world’s greatest entrepreneurs — from Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg to Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg.

These exact skills are nurtured in Haileybury’s prized StartUp Program for Year 8s —just one of the programs within the School’s renowned Entrepreneurship curriculum. It gives smart-minded Middle School students the chance to transform their very own startup business idea into a reality.

Each year, 10 teams from the StartUp Program are selected from across Haileybury’s Melbourne and Darwin campuses to compete in the Haileybury StartUp Pitch Showcase.

Inspired by the Shark Tank TV show concept, the teams pitch to a panel with winning teams receiving $1,000 in seed funding and mentoring with industry experts to move their business idea to the next level.

Some of the ideas that topped off the 2021 Pitch Showcase at the end of last year were:


The winner of the Boys Middle School Best StartUp Idea was a team of four students from the City campus who designed VIPT, a rideshare service for the visually impaired with a tagline of ‘getting the visually impaired from here to there’.

The idea was sparked by Vision Australia research that found 82 percent of people who are blind or have low vision don’t feel safe walking on footpaths. VIPT uses an app with voice prompts and voice recognition that makes the rideshare experience more user-friendly for visually impaired people.

Coco Cosmetics

The winner of the Girls Middle School Best StartUp Idea was a group from Newlands who created Coco Cosmetics — an organic skincare company with a flagship tinted acne product for customers aged 13-plus. The acne cream is organic, vegan-friendly and is rated SPF30, tapping into the multibillion-dollar skincare market at a price that suits the limited budget of its younger customers.

Haileybury’s entrepreneurial push continues in Year 9 with the Haileybury Incubator Project or HIP. Last year, students worked on projects as diverse as creating a digital mural to promote positive mental health and awareness, to building a device that converts any desk into a standing desk.

Toodie Hoodie

The Best Individual Project for Haileybury Girls College was a fashion startup with a marquee product called the Toodie Hoodie — a beach towel with hood and handy, lined pockets. The business idea was developed by Aaiyana Ayoub who was linked with a mentor by Haileybury to help her build a business plan to start production of the Toodie Hoodie.

“I love going to the beach and I needed something that I could use to dry myself but that could also hold belongings. I like hooded towels but they have no storage space where you can put your phone, keys and wallet,” says Aaiyana.

“So I made my Toodie Hoodie with storage and a waterproof pocket so when the towel gets wet, your belongings won’t get ruined. The plan is to produce three different types of the Toodie Hoodie with the first age group being ‘tweens’ and teenagers.”

Building a business mindset

Damien Meunier, Head of Entrepreneurship and Learning Partnerships, says the StartUp and HIP Programs help students develop a can-do mindset where they see opportunities and develop smart skills that will transform them into leaders and change-makers.

“Instead of sitting back and complaining, we want students to turn a problem into an opportunity and to be able to change and improve a situation. We want to create problem solvers and risk-takers and for students to see failure as a ‘First Attempt In Learning (FAIL)’. They may have to try, try and try again with their startup and learn that it won’t immediately take off.”

Along the way, students learn about teamwork, project management and how to share responsibility and build accountability. They learn digital literacy and resilience and develop a mindset that they can take on any situation and thrive.

We are looking forward to seeing what inspiring and entrepreneurial ideas emerge from this year’s Entrepreneurship programs.