Bunbury innovators named finalists for a state award

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School students Joanna Otter and Lily Roberts with their business mentor David Byatt from Moshi Moshi Marketing.
Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School students Joanna Otter and Lily Roberts with their business mentor David Byatt from Moshi Moshi Marketing.

Two Year 10 students learnt first-hand the amount of hard work and planning that goes into starting a business when they developed an app as part of their business studies, but it has paid off with the pair named finalists in the WA Innovation Awards.

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School students Joanna Otter and Lily Roberts drew inspiration from their classmates’ interest in op shopping to develop the “Gunkies App” – an app for garage sale junkies.

The pair said the app makes it easier for people to find garage sales by creating a map with the fastest route, which even includes coffee vans along the way.

“The app shows you what garage sales are happening in a certain area. It connects buyers and sellers by allowing the buyer to ask the seller questions,” Miss Otter said.

This was part of the students’ involvement in Just Start It, an 18-week program teaching students how to create a technology start up, similar to the popular television show Shark Tank.

The girls pitched their “Gunkies App” at the state finals on Saturday, July 29.

Miss Roberts said there were a lot of good ideas from other students at the state finals and some apps were quite advanced, but noted the pair’s public speaking skills was definitely an advantage.

“We had presentations every week in class to prepare us for the finals, which made us less nervous,” Miss Roberts said.

“[At the state finals], so many other students came up to us saying our app was a great idea and they would use it, especially the girls.”

“It really opened our eyes to the amount of work that goes into business planning. It’s not all about having a passionate idea or doing the creative stuff, but the numbers and research you do is also really important.”

The pair received mentorship from David Byatt, marketing director of Moshi Moshi Marketing, to provide guidance on the business aspects as well as the pitch.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my team, The Gunkies’ pitch was amazing,” he said. 

“Their idea was brilliant and scalable across the globe.”

Mr Byatt said the Just Start IT course provided the students with the skills to research and develop a business idea through to the ‘go to market’ stage. 

“These girls could have a fully-fledged business before they even finish school,” he said. 

Despite not progressing to the finals in Melbourne, the girls want the app to “keep going”.

“We will continue doing market research –  we would like to get more people onboard and try to get some investment for the app,” Miss Roberts said.

The WA Innovation Awards will be held in November and “Gunkies” will be in the running to win $5000.