Last night we were thrilled to host our end-of-year Awesome Newcastle in the Criterion’s Main Bar. As is tradition, for the last Awesome Newcastle of the year we bring back three outstanding finalists and ask them to pitch again. We also open the night up to the public, so they can watch the fun and see how it’s done as it is typically a private affair. Also, as is tradition, we let people give additional cash to whichever finalist they like, so along with giving away $1000 no-string-attached cash, we send every finalist home with a little bit of pocket money.
This particular Awesome Newcastle was exciting as we are crossing a new threshold! As of Wednesday night we have now given away $70,000 no-strings-attached-cash since Awesome Newcastle first began! This special end of year Awesome Newcastle we welcomed two first time guest board members: Claire Brown from UsabilityHub and Rebecca Hazell from the University of Newcastle. We welcomed returning board members marketing consultants Lauren Devine and Jimmy White, Scott McShane of Life Without Barriers, and Becky Kiil of Newcastle Afoot.
People mingled and we enjoyed chatting with new friendly faces about why Awesome Newcastle is awesome! Our returning Finalists were Louise Burr of PerkyPod, Tianna Jarvis of Lawn Liaison and Hannah Muir of Carro Skate Community.
Louise went first and told us all about the work she’s been doing creating PerkyPod, a new kind of planter. It’s uncomplicated plant care that takes the guesswork out of keeping your plants alive. She’s an engineer and has put heaps of effort working with a local industrial design firm to develop a detailed prototype made out of recycled plastic. She would use the money to create a website for PerkyPod.
Next up was Tianna of Lawn Liaison. Tianna told us all about how she moved to Newcastle and was looking to make friends and decided to start a social event business which would make it easier for adults to connect and make friends. Lawn Liaison has all kinds of social activities but she started with lawn bowls. Now that there’s less threat from Covid, she’s hoping to make her business sustainable and she has big plans for hosting big events. She would use the money from Awesome Newcastle to help maintain the events and she would also purchase a PA system.
Last but not least was Hannah. Hannah came to us with a particularly special story as a few months ago she agreed to jump up from behind the bar and join Awesome Newcastle very last minute when we had a finalist cancel unexpectedly. Hannah is a bartender, a mum and an avid roller skater who learnt to skate during Covid, and she wants to activate the Carrington community teaching the locals to skate. She would use the money for public liability insurance. As she did in her previous pitch, Hannah spoke to us with grace and poise while wearing skates!
All the finalists were fabulous, so the judges knew they had a tough decision to make, They entered the board room to chat and discuss, trying to determine which finalist was most deserving of $1000 no-strings-attached cash.
At last the votes were cast and a decision was reached! We invited Rebecca to the stage to pass along the money to our final Awesome Newcastle Finalist of the year!
Rebecca said a big thank you to all our fantastic finalists, and then she passed the sack of cash along to Tianna! Congratulations Tianna, we love how far you’ve come, and we can’t wait to see where you take Lawn Liaison in 2023!
Thank you to Louise and Hannah as well for coming back and pitching again. Please let us know how your ideas go in the new year! We want to stay in touch.
And to our readers and f0llowers, thank you for following Awesome Newcastle in 2022. We’ll see you in February 2023 where we can’t wait to see what new ideas are going around the town.