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MYOB IT Challenge returns for 2020

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The MYOB IT challenge is back for 2020 and MYOB is calling for the brightest and boldest tech talent from across New Zealand and Australia to register now.

The MYOB IT Challenge is designed to support, grow and nurture up-and-coming tech talent, and sees business and technology skills merge as students are tasked with developing technological solutions to address real-world business issues.

To date, over 800 students have participated since its inception in 2015 and this year there is a $8000 (NZD) prize pool up for grabs.

MYOB Chief Technology Officer, Darren Smith will be on the judging panel for this year’s Challenge and explains that innovative thinking sits at the core of the Challenge, with students tasked with considering problems from the customer’s perspective to address business obstacles in a new way.

"Technology is constantly revolutionising our lives - from business to leisure - how we live and work is evolving," says Mr Smith. "This generation is going to be at the forefront of the next big changes in this space and we know that they have the knowledge, passion and potential to create products that are intuitively easy-to-use and will deliver value to business owners.

"I’m thrilled to be judging the MYOB IT Challenge. Every year, we see entries that demonstrate entrepreneurial, disruptive thinking - the very traits that are needed in the tech industry today - and I have no doubt that we’ll see more impressive talent this year, too."

Run in partnership with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club, the 2020 MYOB IT Challenge has adapted to a virtual format to take into account COVID-19 restrictions.

Participants will be offered mentoring sessions over Zoom and video tips and tricks from past contestants, and as with previous years, teams of two to four students will be tasked with developing a functional prototype and presenting a business plan - this year by video conference - that shows consideration around the financial, marketing and go-to-market strategies.

Given the extraordinary transformation to New Zealand’s and Australia’s working environments during the COVID-19 crisis, there will also be an additional emphasis on how graduates demonstrate soft skills, over and above their technical capabilities.

2019 MYOB IT Challenge winners, Charlie Kavanagh and Corbyn Greenwood from the University of Canterbury, developed Vinta - an app designed to help SMEs keep their receipts organised and reduce the risk of overspending. With no prior knowledge of how to build an app and weeks of trial and error, together they created the winning prototype.

"We whole-heartedly believed in this application and knew it was needed, so to win and see other people passionate about our idea gave us the motivation to further develop Vinta’s application," says Charlie.

"The experience overall is a lot more than just an IT challenge. It is a challenge that truly tests your problem solving, presentation and business skills as well," says Charlie. "Creating, refining and delivering the presentation gave me an opportunity to expand on these skills with constructive feedback from the judging panel."

Since completing the Challenge, the team’s drive to further develop Vinta has not wavered and they continue to develop the app as a side hustle. With most of the programming for the app completed, Charlie and Corbyn are now finalising the design and prepping for early alpha/beta testing.

"Innovation is key to helping businesses start, survive and succeed, but it is essential that this comes with a clear view of customer needs and what the future could look like for business," adds MYOB’s Darren Smith.

"I’d encourage those considering participating in the Challenge to look at this unique experience as an opportunity to deepen their knowledge, improve their technical capabilities, and to analyse the market to identify where their talents can best be used."

This year’s competition is now officially open and students from universities across New Zealand and Australia can register now at: https://myobitchallenge.co.nz/registrationopen/. Registrations close Wednesday 2 September.

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