Students Compete to Enhance Economic Development in the Region

03 June 2022

Teams of secondary and university students recently dreamed up ways to make a difference in the region as part of a new Economic Development Challenge.

  • CED Challenge Winners 2022

    Associate Professor Laura Meriluoto, the winning secondary-school team Jessica Geng and Jessie Peng from St Margaret’s College and Nick Bryan from ChristchurchNZ.

CED Challenge UC winners 2022

MEM students David Pethybridge, Joshua Rodgers, Sukhpreet Dhaliwal and Thea Tabayoyong accepting the top prize in the University of Canterbury category and Nick Bryan from ChristchurchNZ.

Eight teams were selected to take part in the inaugural Canterbury Economic Development Challenge, which was generously sponsored by ChristchurchNZ and UC Business School, and supported by the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE). 

Launching for the first time on 14 March 2022, the Challenge was developed to provide students with a supportive opportunity to practically apply their knowledge of economics and creativity to make a difference in the Canterbury region  

In order to enter the competition, students were asked to submit a video presentation of their idea. Shortlisted teams were then invited to join economic development professionals, UC academics, and industry experts in a speed mentoring session that provided feedback to further develop their concepts and prepare them for their final pitches 

On 26 May, the final pitches took place at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) in front of the panel of judges, consisting of Heather Warwick (CEO of Enterprise North Canterbury), Nick Bryan (Acting GM Strategy, Insights and Policy of ChristchurchNZ), and Dr Kuntal Das (Associate Head of Department of Economics and Finance of University of Canterbury). The high standard of the pitches and concepts made judging a difficult task 

Winning teams 

Secondary school category 
1st place, $3,000 prize: team ‘SMC’ from St Margaret’s College, Christchurch proposed using drones to assist Canterbury farmers in their water sampling and spraying of fertilizer. 

2nd place, $2,000 prize: team ‘Ormiston Senior College’ from Auckland proposed a funded 12-month talent attraction and start-up incubator programme for high-achieving graduates. 

3rd place, $1,000 prize: team ‘Mag’s Economists’ from St Margaret’s College, Christchurch proposed Te Ōtautahi Wira, a Ferris Wheel in the heart of Christchurch, to attract tourists into the city. 

UC category 
1st place: $3,000 prize - team ‘MEM’ proposed building a torrefaction plant to help Christchurch transition away from coal, contributing to our carbon emission targets. 

2nd place: $2,000 prize - teamEfert’, proposed filtering phosphate from the Avon River and re-using it to fertilise our farmland, reducing the overall harm of farming to our waterways. 

Best video pitch 
‘Mag’s Economists’ from St Margaret’s College  

Best live pitch 
Christchurch Girls’ High School 

We are impressed by the quality of the ideas that came through the Challenge and look forward to see its growth over the coming years. 

  • CED Challenge in action
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