Launceston College students learn how to make a business in five days with NextGen Business Challenge

You have five days to create a business from scratch: create an idea, test its viability, run financials, create a marketing campaign, and conclude with a pitch to potential investors.

Sound stressful?

For about 140 Launceston College accounting, business and digital technology students, that has been their reality for this week, as they took part in the NextGen Business Challenge.

Their challenge was even more specific: their proposed start-up businesses had to be sourced from Tasmanian products specifically for overseas export.

On Friday they then faced a barrage of questions – what if things went wrong? What if ports closed and they couldn’t export?

The entire program was designed to give students an idea of the entrepreneurial talent needed to create a viable business in the future. 

Developed by illuminate Education’s 2015 Young Tasmanian of the Year Adam Mostogl, NextGen Business Challenge gives students real-world experience in creating a business.

It’s the first time the challenge has been run at Launceston College, giving Year 11 and 12 students a “pressure-cooker” week of teamwork and strategic thinking.

“Putting together a business plan was quite stressful … finances, we had no idea before it started how challenging it was,” Year 12 student Sophie Taylor said.

With Cody Grutzner and Ethan Murray-Williams, Ms Taylor’s team pitched an apple cider created exclusively from Tasmanian apples and named after the Kings Bridge.

“Apples in Tasmania have a really high quality, and Kings Bridge is iconic, it’s a link to our heritage,” Mr Grutzner said.

Another successful pitch was Ink-It, a printing business that used the College’s printing machines to create logos and business designs for local businesses, with the slogan ‘Think It. Ink It’ and a full marketing campaign with website and social media pages.

Meanwhile Magic Milk threatened to take on the powdered milk market with flavoured drinks, making the most of Tasmania’s strong dairy industry and export history.