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  • Liane Morris

2023 Award Winners Celebrating the Hunter's Young Business Minds

Image Credit: AJM Photography.

The Hunter Young Business Mind Awards (HYBMA) has awarded this year’s young entrepreneurs and innovative teachers. Now in its sixth year, the awards recognise young people under 25 with an innovative business concept, product, service or solution and educators for innovation in the classroom.


Supported by local companies such as Hunter Water and Ampcontrol that are seeking next-generation skills to future proof their business, the awards provide an avenue for our region’s youth to showcase their ideas.

“It was amazing getting to speak with industry experts at the awards night,” said 14-year-old Joshua Pidgeon, the Design and Technology award winner. “I’m hoping to apply again next year.”

Across several categories, entrants tried to solve real-world problems, with runners-up winning $500 and winners $1000. The issues tackled by the students were wide-ranging and included accessible self-checkouts; portable washing and spinning device for backpackers; a school uniform recycling program; an app that records where you’ve parked your car; sustainable shelters for school bus stops; milk cartons made from sustainable milk casein and recycled cardboard; a product that promotes nutrient density in the soil and many more innovative ideas.

“I learnt a lot through this project,” said Joshua Pidgeon, who developed the sustainable bus shelters.

“I learnt about the design process, pre-modelling and sustainable construction materials.”

Lotus Antoni, winner of the Business Enterprise award for her Dairy Way submission has big plans for the future.

“I want to take my sustainable milk carton concept to UNSW to research the correct formula and then take it to the government.”

And perhaps, most moving of all, young 14-year-old Taya Porter, who was in a wheelchair, shared her frustrations at inaccessible self-checkouts.

“Our team’s design for accessible self-checkouts will provide greater independence for people like me,” said Taya. “It creates a better quality of life for those in a wheelchair.”

The awards will run again in 2024 so teachers can reliably plan to include the process in their lessons. To view the complete list of winners, visit


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