On a sunny Saturday morning of 27th Aug 2016, typically reserved for team sports events, a large crowd of students ranging from year 3 to 12 eagerly lined up to enter the University of Queensland Centre.  These students are ready and primed to compete.  Not in a sports arena but in a technology-inspired arena of the Young ICT Explorers (YICTE).

Over 400 students from 33 schools all over South East Queensland formed their own teams to create and showcase over 130 ICT-inspired projects.  These young innovators pitched and presented their projects to teams of judges comprising of ICT professionals from industry, academia, and government.  The Honorable Leaanne Enoch, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, and Max Roberts, SAP State Manager for Queensland, handed out the prizes for the winners.  Minister Enoch twitted, “The future of #Qld at the Young ICT Explorers event @UQ_News today”.

The judges were very impressed at the increasing quality and level of technical complexity involved in the projects.  Some judges mentioned that it is getting harder and harder to get consensus to decide the winners in each category.  The winners of 2016 YICTE Brisbane are published in http://www.youngictexplorers.net.au/past-winners/winners-2016/

As Australian economy shifts from being driven by resources to innovation, it is imperative that the whole ecosystem – parents, teachers, schools, universities, government, and industry – band together to nurture and encourage young budding innovators and entrepreneurs.  As a traditional African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Looking at the enthusiastic smart young faces of the technology warriors at the event, Queensland, albeit Australia’s future is in safe hands.

YICTE’s initial launch in 2010 at the University of Queensland was driven by SAP Research Australia, University of Queensland, and a group of passionate ICT professionals, called Group X, who wanted to advocate for inspire young kids about the wonders of ICT Young ICT Explorers event has gone from strength to strength.  Since then YICTE has gone from strength to strength.   Group X has been recognized and funded by the Federal Government and has since 2013 partnered with SAP to take YICTE Australia-wide.  In 2016, YICTE events are happening in Brisbane, Townsville, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.  Participants in Brisbane has steadily increased yearly from 2010 to 2016.