Auckland students win tech award for business innovation
13 Sep 2018
A simple and intuitive cashflow calendar designed to help small and medium sized businesses with cash flow has won four students from the University of Auckland the top award at the national final of the MYOB IT Challenge.
The annual competition, organised by leading accounting software company MYOB in conjunction with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club, was the culmination of a series of regional challenges. The winning teams from New Zealand’s top universities then went head-to-head to in an effort to impress the judges with their business savvy and technology nous.
MYOB New Zealand General Manager Carolyn Luey says the MYOB IT Challenge is designed to give students an opportunity to build on key skills that employers look for when recruiting.
“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.
“The MYOB IT Challenge offers young Kiwis the chance to exercise these skills. It gives tertiary students real-life experience of a team environment, while growing New Zealand’s tech talent pipeline.
“Every year we are impressed by the calibre of the solutions presented and this year was no different. The winners, Team Steak, had an excellent proof of concept combined with a comprehensive commercial model that won over the judges,” she says.
Team Steak is comprised of year three engineering and finance students Benny Chun, Zi Yuan Tee, Raymond Wang and Shurui Li. The four students who have been friends since high school, spent many late nights developing their prototype and discussing the detail of their solution.
“We were brainstorming ideas for quite a while before we settled on our concept,” says Zi Yuan Tee.
“The different stages of the MYOB IT Challenge and the feedback we received from the judges along the way really helped us to refine the product and our business case.”
The winning solution is an application that allows businesses owners to forecast their incomings and outgoings in a chronological format, making it easy to diagnose any upcoming cashflow problems.
However, the completion of Team Steak’s competition entry was not without its challenges as half of the team were overseas when the national final took place.
“With two of our team members away on a university exchange when the final took place, there were quite a few calls and messages when we needed to make changes or clarify areas,” says Zi Yuan Tee.
“Then it was left to the two of us to present to the judges. We are so pleased to have done our team proud by taking away the top prize.”
Vincent Vuillard, director of strategic capabilities and organisational health at Fonterra was one of the panel of expert judges for the competition and praised the team for producing a practical solution coupled with a sound financial model.
“Team Steak was very clear on the problem the team wanted to alleviate for business owners and how the proposed solution would achieve that. The students presented a practical app that has the potential to have real business value.
“The passion that all of the students across the competition put into their solutions was inspiring. The diverse range of disciplines being studied meant teams were able to develop innovative and compelling entries,” says Vuillard.
Luey says the competition was extremely tight with all teams involved presenting fantastic working prototypes of their business solutions.
“The innovative and entrepreneurial ideas that we see coming through the challenge bodes well for the future of New Zealand’s tech industry,” she says
Team Steak plan to use the prize money to develop their solution further, but not before going out for a nice meal featuring their favourite food, steak.
For more information visit www.myobitchallenge.co.nz.
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MYOB is a leading provider of online business management solutions. MYOB makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across three core segments – Clients and Partners (business solutions to SMEs and Advisers); Enterprise Solutions (larger businesses) and Payment Solutions. We also provide ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. We are committed to ongoing innovation, particularly through our Connected Practice Strategy and through the development of the MYOB Platform. For more information visit https://www.myob.com/nz/ or follow @MYOB on Twitter.