Waikato students awarded for enviro-tech innovation

5 September 2018

Waikato students and CarbonKiwi creators William Hohepa, Elisha Fleming, Nick Humphries and Stephanie Hay.

A group of Waikato students came second in the national MYOB IT Challenge last weekend and plan to launch their idea as a start-up.

Going head-to-head with top teams from Auckland, Victoria and Canterbury universities, the groups were tasked with developing a technology solution to a real-world problem faced by small-to-medium businesses.

Management School students Stephanie Hay, Elisha Fleming and William Hohepa, and Engineering student Nick Humphries teamed up to develop CarbonKiwi, a system to track and minimise the levels of carbon an organisation is emitting.

They created a website that allows businesses to calculate their carbon emissions and easily offset them by paying for tree-planting. CarbonKiwi’s working prototype and strong business case scored the group second place in the competition and $1200.

“For us, it was important to anticipate a market, not react to one,” Nick says. “We identified a market that is growing rapidly, and created a fully developed prototype that will meet this demand.

“The competition was a great opportunity for us to meet other innovative students. We were really impressed by their ideas, so we didn’t expect to place.”

MYOB New Zealand General Manager Carolyn Luey says the challenge builds on key skills that employers look for.

“Companies today are seeking employees with different types of skill sets – hiring graduates has evolved from looking for technical competency, to looking for the ability to collaborate and work as a team,” Carolyn says. “The MYOB IT Challenge offers young Kiwis exactly that.”

Elisha says participating in the MYOB IT Challenge pushed the students to see how much they could create in a short timeframe.

“It was exciting to see how our solution developed – from just an idea to a working prototype complete with a strong business case and marketing plan,” he says.

Rachel Kelly, Director at Waikato-based company Ethical AI and a judge for the competition, praised the team for their sustainable and future-focused concept.

“It is fantastic to see young people not only thinking about how a business can make money but doing what is right for the environment. These students are the torch-bearers for the next generation,” she says.

With the technology designed and ready to use, the group already has plans to launch CarbonKiwi as a start-up business.

Related stories

Science and 1080

In her latest blog post, Dr Alison Campbell urges scientists and conservation workers to continue…

Erin the Engineer rocking the world of robotics

Alumna Erin Sims is taking on a traditionally male dominated industry.

The seeds of inspiration

University of Waikato researchers have been awarded funding to investigate new ways of reducing earthquake…

Major Endeavours for researchers

University of Waikato academics have been awarded funding for a broad range of major research…

Geologist, mum, volunteer, author – four seasons of career

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science followed by a Master of Science in the…

Top business students buzzing with innovative ideas

Business school students from around the world converged on Tauranga last week for the inaugural…

Nevada web

Scholarships for a better environment

Seven students have been awarded WRC, Waikato Tainui - Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu scholarships.

What's holding women back?

A group of geoscientists, including Karin Bryan from the University of Waikato, have taken the…

Distinguished Alumni shine

The University of Waikato’s latest Distinguished Alumni Award recipients have taken the floor, in a…

Rotorua rangatahi encouraged to embark on tertiary path

Three University of Waikato students, who all hail from Rotorua, are encouraging more rangatahi to…

Things are looking peachy for Hydro Nation Scholarship winner

Master of Science student Hanna Peach has won a Hydro Nation Scholarship worth $300k over…

People at the centre of business turnaround

Avon CEO Jan Zijderveld held an exclusive business lunch event on Friday 24 August at…