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Calling All Innovators: MYOB’s IT Challenge To Test Upcoming Tech Talent

The MYOB IT Challenge is returning for 2021 and MYOB is calling for the brightest, most innovative students from across New Zealand to register to compete.

Designed to develop, support and foster the skills of up-and-coming tech talent, the MYOB IT Challenge offers a unique competition setting which sees business and digital technology skills combine, as students team up to tackle real-world business issues using tech-led solutions.

Taking place using a virtual format for the second year running, the Challenge – which is coordinated in partnership with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club – will see teams of two-to-four students develop functional prototypes and present their business plans to a panel of judges, capturing everything from financial and marketing planning, to market launch strategies.

MYOB Chief Technology Officer, Darren Smith, will return to the judging panel this year and is excited to see more talent coming through in the trans-Tasman competition.

“Growing up with access to a range of different technologies sees young people today equipped with a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding of its potential to shape our lives. This presents a great opportunity as we look to explore the role of technology in our future.

“The MYOB IT Challenge is the perfect test for students with an entrepreneurial mindset ready to create disruptive new solutions and put their skills through their paces in scenarios reflective of real work practices. The calibre of entries we saw in 2020 was extraordinary, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition delivers,” says Darren.

Since it launched in 2015, more than 1,200 students have entered to participate in the Challenge. Last year’s competition alone saw more than 400 students from 140 teams register to compete for a chance to win a share of the prize pool.

This year, there is a total prize pool of $8,500 up for grabs and to help them with their proposals, participants will be offered mentoring sessions over Zoom, as well as a chance to get some tips and tricks from previous contestants.

2020’s competition saw the first winners from Australia crowned, with engineering students Cassidy Challis, Blake Heydon, Pragathi Aithal and Lauren Haydon, impressing the judges with their solution, Streamline – an integrated system capable of real-time store capacity tracking.

Based on their experience of spending several months in lockdown during the height of COVID-19, the Monash University students developed Streamline to connect to CCTV systems in store and then use cloud-based neutral network image processes, so stores could determine the number of people in their space at any given time.

Team member, Cassidy Challis, explains: “Because we only left our houses for exercise and shopping, we were acutely aware of the uncertainty that came with going to stores, regarding crowd sizes. When we were discussing solutions to the prompt, we thought about apps which would be most helpful to us in times like this. We realised that what we needed most was peace of mind, and so we set about finding ways to provide that to consumers.

“For our team, the MYOB IT Challenge victory reiterated that our solution had genuine merit beyond idealistic interpretations, and could be a genuinely feasible product to develop. It also showed that our method of presentation was effective for pitching start-ups to major firms.

“The Challenge gave us an invaluable experience in product development, project coordination and pragmatic approaches to real and specific issues facing certain markets.”

Registrations for the 2021 MYOB IT Challenge are now open to students from universities across New Zealand. For more information and to register, visit: https://MYOBITchallenge.co.nz. Registrations close 11.59pm Sunday 18th July.

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