Last night The Criterion graciously hosted March’s Awesome Newcastle! We entered the autumn season and enjoyed the last of the leisurely sunny evenings for a while.
We sipped bevies and chatted with new and familiar faces in the room. This month the board welcomed back Graham Batten of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and Sam Wallace of Puro Partners. We welcomed first time guest board members Chris Stubbs of OneSteel, and Nick Kalaf of Tribe Bikes.
(Sadly we were missing board members Amy Tribe and Lois Donaldson. This month we had an all male board, but Awesome Newcastle strives to keep the genders balanced as much as possible.)
Our three finalists all had interesting, different ideas. We welcomed Ben Ogden of bike tour business, Newy Rides, Stephanie Tuyl and Nick Gill of children’s band The Quokkas, and Teri Wait who wants to start an art gallery in her laundromat, Barrat’s Laundry.
Ben went first. Ben moved from Sydney to Newcastle two years ago and has a background in both small business and corporate events management. His Newy Rides business is all about riding bikes and authentic experiences in Newcastle. He’s currently developing the Ride Along Series to give locals (and visitors) front row seats to creatives, chefs, producers, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. He plans on running a series of one-off events to help lift the profile of Newcastle as a tourism destination. He would use the money for marketing and producing a video.Next up were musicians Steph and Nick from The Quokkas, a newly formed Newcastle-based children’s band. The Quokkas write music to promote inclusivity and diversity in all aspects of life. During their presentation they shared a few catchy examples and told us they are hoping to put on live shows within the community to provide a safe space for children to sing along and dance to while making new friends and celebrating diversity. If they won, they’d use the money to boost their social media presence and to support their sound engineers, videographers, photographers, make up artists etc.Teri was our final finalist. She told us how she is a mum of three who happily left the corporate world a few years ago to instead own a laundromat in Merewether. She’d like to start promoting the walls in her laundromat as an art gallery space for either solo or group shows. Historically, Teri explained, the laundromat was a place where people would meet; it played an important role in the community, beyond washing clothes. She wants to recapture this. She would use the money to order custom-sized picture rails around the laundromat walls and to pay a carpenter/handyman to install them.
The judges had a tough job on their hands, but they discussed and deliberated as per usual. At last a decision was made. Graham announced the winner, and it was Ben of Newy Rides!
Congratulations Ben on your great idea! We can’t wait to see how you activate the Newy. Congratulations also to all the finalists and board members, Awesome Newcastle wouldn’t exist without you.Remember, applications never expire, so hopefully we’ll see some finalists back for another round . Start brainstorming your next big idea and don’t forget to keep your applications short, sharp and sweet! See you next time!