We had an absolute ball last night at the Criterion in Carrington for September’s Awesome Newcastle. We welcomed all our generous board members and fabulous finalists and enjoyed each other’s wonderful company.
Last night our guest board members included: Matt Field of Music People, Maria Jose of Art Thinking, marketing consultants James White and Lauren Devine, and UX Product Specialist Richard Tribe.
This month we welcomed finalists Ben Ogden of Newy Rides (a previous Awesome Newcastle winner!), Ennia Jones of A Splash of Colour and Briley Bosworth with High Swan Dive.
Ben went first. He explained to us how, through his bike tour business, he has noticed a notable gap between staff training and onboarding at Newcastle’s CBD hotels. He sees there isn’t enough knowledge and advocacy of Newcastle as a destination. He wants to create an online tool and resource supporting the visitor economy and bookable experiences. His project would allow front desk staff to quickly access and learn about nearby business. He would use the money for platform fees, domain fees and some graphic design.
Ennia went next. She told us about her dream to create a free 12 week “learn to swim” pilot swimming confidence program for CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) women by a CALD woman. She explained how swimming is an inherent part of modern Australian culture, and as a regular swimmer, she sees the lack of diversity in our pools. She’s found CALD women hesitate to organise swimming lessons for themselves due to perceived cultural, social and financial barriers. She would use the money to purchase specialist swimming caps for CALD women with voluminous hair and also to market the pilot program. Last but not least was Briley. Briley came on behalf of local plant shop High Swan Dive. She spoke of their dream to buy a native bee hive for their soon to be established community garden in Islington. Their aim is to turn an underused/grassed area into a thriving habitat for our local wildlife and insects for the local community to enjoy. They would use the money to purchase a native bee hive and a native stingless bee colony.
The judges went to work, discussing and debating. They took an extra long time discussing, so you know it was a hard one. But at last decisions must be made, and we all gathered again for the moment of truth.
We asked Matt to the front of the room to give the money away, and he passed the sack of cash along to Ennia! Congratulations Ennia, we love your initiative and we cannot wait to see A Splash of Colour brighten up Newcastle’s swim scene.
Thank you to all our fantastic finalists for presenting, and remember, applications never expire so there’s a chance we might get you back. If you haven’t applied yet, get to brainstorming, and we’ll see you next time for another Awesome Newcastle!