$85k in prizes awarded to entrepreneurial students

04 October 2019

Students’ big ideas and innovative thinking were celebrated to the tune of $85,000 at Entré’s $85k Challenge awards evening at the University of Canterbury (UC) this week.

  • $85k Challenge

    Left to right: Jack Andrews, Cameron Palmer, Duncan de Wet, Lucy Turner, Luke Campbell, Emma Pickup and Entré CEO Edze Bierema

Students’ big ideas and innovative thinking were celebrated to the tune of $85,000 at Entré’s $85k Challenge awards evening at the University of Canterbury (UC) this week.

The Challenge is student entrepreneurs club Entré’s premier competition which aims to inspire innovation and creativity in Canterbury tertiary students and provide support and mentoring to help them develop their big ideas.

Any Canterbury tertiary student who has a business idea that can be developed into a viable business can enter. Students competing gain valuable guidance from mentors and business experts as they compete for their share of $85k in prizes.

Entré CEO for 2019 Edze Bierema, says the Challenge showcases many promising entrepreneurs and this year is no exception.

“The $85k Challenge is about inspiring innovation and creativity. Its purpose is to encourage students to be ambitious, have big ideas and not be bound by what we know and have now.”

“We have had such a diverse range of ventures this year including in the fields of skincare, food, augmented reality gaming and agriculture to name a few,” he says.

Students submitted their ideas for consideration earlier this year. The top 20 entrants were invited to take part in a three day workshop in July where they were mentored by local business leaders and were put through their paces to pitch their idea to a panel of judges.

The competition was tight, resulting in the grand prize being split three ways for the first time in the competition’s history.

Award winners:

First-equal grand winners:

  • Salty Surf Cams – Jack Andrews: A website where surfers can see the surf conditions of beaches around the country.
  • *ILKMYLK – Emma Pickup: Creamy vegan, plant based milk alternative without any harmful ingredients.
  • VXT – Luke Campbell and Lucy Turner: A smart voicemail driven assistant that converts user's voicemails into text. vxt.co.nz/

Social impact award:

  • Yo, Vocal Magazine – Java Katzur

People’s choice award:

  • Foodies – Charlie Kavanagh

Best pitch:

  • VXT – Luke Campbell and Lucy Turner

Best report:

  • Ticket Ninja – Max Young and Logan Fynn

Business development awards:

  • Bare Minimal – Kayla Drummy
  • Fruit Slasher (NectAR) – David Huang
  • Farm Solutions – James Tyrrell & Bradley Wang
  • Foodies – Charlie Kavanagh
  • Forget-Me-Not – Kseniia Zahrai


Entré is a student club based at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) and is a not-for-profit UC company run by students for all tertiary students in the Canterbury region.

Media contact:
UC Communications team, University of Canterbury, media@canterbury.ac.nz,  Ph: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168


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