Colyton Grammar School, a high-achieving state selective school in East Devon, has won a world-wide competition involving hundreds of schools culminating in a week of finals in Hong Kong.
The PolyU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Global Student Challenge, which is organised by the prestigious Hong Kong Polytechnic University every two years, asks students to come up with innovative ideas and pitch them to panels of high-powered academics and business leaders from around the globe.
The Colyton team, ‘Salus’, made the semi-final stage after submitting a Business Plan and Executive Summary in November. Their product, ‘StopAid’ is a safety warning device for cars which was inspired by their own experiences when learning to drive.
The Year 13 students, Anna Hearnden, Robert Mansfield and Jack Merrett, faced a line-up of schools from Canada, Hong Kong, India and Singapore in the final after winning the semi-final soon after their arrival.
After the tension of the judges’ deliberations, Head of Economics at Colyton Mrs Nicola Rew, said the announcement that the team had won left her “in a state of disbelief”. “I might have screamed,” she added.
Anna, who next year hopes to study Politics, German and Russian at Bath University, added: “The whole process has been a fantastic experience. We are extremely grateful for the school’s support, particularly our mentor Mrs Rew, and also PolyU who made us feel so welcome in Hong Kong.”
The competition, which is sponsored by corporations such as Cathay Pacific, ended with a gala dinner and the presentation of cheques for $4000 (US) dollars to the team, $1000 for winning their category ‘Lifestyle’ and $3000 for being overall winner of the secondary school competition.
Headteacher Paul Evans commented, “Once again, we are proud to be represented by such determined and independent students, supported by wonderful dedicated teachers.”