Circular Economy Incubator Award winners

Congratulations to Jessie Alice and Adam Hough on winning the ACU Co-Lab Circular Economy Award and $10,000 prize.

Following evaluation and voting by a panel of expert judges, Jessie and Adam’s Inner Tube Recovery social enterprise program has been named as the winning idea. Nation-wide and supported by industry, the Inner Tube Recovery Program  (ITRP) aims to collect inner tubes from bicycles to be locally remade into new products. Every bicycle store that signs up to the program would then be reinvesting into the future of growing rubber here in Australia.

In Australia, 2.6 tonnes of inner tubes are taken to landfills every week. The program plans to work with more than 2,000 bike stores across Australia to turn this valuable resource into new circular products like rubber flooring, bicycle patch kits and bike bags. With rubber becoming extinct, it is important that we invest in the future of sustainable rubber growing locally.

Watch Jessie and Adam’s video pitch

 "We are so excited that we've won the Circular Economy award! It's an honour to be recognised by the team at ACU and it is fantastic to be able to work with them for our circular recycling program.

This win is going to enable us to setup the ITRP logistics on a national scale, and we are even more excited about the mentorship which is going to be more beneficial than money. It's going to take some brains to work out the agritech component of our program. We can't wait to start working with our new mentors to help us navigate through our growth and partnerships- thank you so much for supporting us."

The Co-Lab Circular Economy Award also offered a prize to an entering ACU student.

Jenni Montgomery’s idea was based around the challenges for Autistic people in starting Circular Economy businesses. To combat this, she proposed combining their skills to create successful small businesses within this community.

Jenni is currently a Neurodiversity Consultant for businesses and government clients. Before that, she managed Autistic-led school mentoring and professional development programs. She set up a Neurodiversity Network in a Government department and has 25-years experience leading people, teams and projects through change, as well as crafting policies, procedures and services. In her 'spare time', she is a conveners of the Northern Autism Network and enjoys axe carving and subversive cross-stitch.

Jenni has just completed a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health at ACU, where she used a Neurodiversity Paradigm perspective on everything she was learning.

 "It's safe to say that there is A LOT of room for improvement in this space in healthcare, workplaces and education," Jenni says.

Jenni is the child, partner and parent of an Autistic child, and she has worked for, with and managed others on the autistic Spectrum. Prior to confirming her own neurodivergent identity of the Autistic and ADHDer flavour, she had two speeds, "Flat Out & Burnt Out". She doesn’t believe it has to be that way and is passionate about creating efficient, effective, empathetic and safe workplaces where everyone can thrive.

Watch Jenni’s video pitch

The Co-Lab team were thrilled with the range and quality of innovative ideas from budding entrepreneurs that responded to the Circular Economy Award.

We would like to thank all entrants for their participation in the initiative, particularly for their time in researching, practising, and recording their pitch video. We are further encouraged by the underlying positive impact intended by the various solutions presented.

You can keep up-to-date with the ACU Co-Lab programs on their webpage.

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