Ventures Industry Challenge

Use your entrepreneurial skills to help us save one of the world's most precious resources.

UQ students across all disciplines are encouraged to join our Ventures Industry Challenge. Work with our industry partner to develop a real-world solution to a real-world challenge. This year's challenge focuses on the problems and opportunities surrounding water scarcity. Teams will compete for multiple prizes worth $15,000. 

Our 2020 industry partner is WaterStart, a not-for-profit water innovation agency. WaterStart provides a channel for accelerating the adoption of water technologies driven by the needs of water agencies and large consumers.

Key dates

Information Session. 12-2pm, 12 August 2020.
Find out more about the challenge and form teams. 
Join the information session

Team registration deadline. 28 August 2020.  
Enter the challenge by registering your team

Submission deadline. 22 October 2020.
Submit your team's solution to be considered for the pitch event. 

Why water?

While the global population continues to grow, access to fresh water has become increasingly scarce.

Billions of people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation. Water availability is also becoming less predictable around the world due to an increase in droughts natural disasters. According to the UN, water scarcity could displace 700 million people by 2030. 

Water is essential not only to health, but also to poverty reduction, food security, peace and human rights, ecosystems and education. This Industry Challenge aims to address how we can use water resource management and sustainability to maintain the lives and industries of communities around the world.

Our industry partner

WaterStart logo

In affiliation with:

SEQ Water logo

Urban Utilities logo

Unity Water logo

Why participate

By participating in the Challenge you will be able to:

  • showcase your entrepreneurial skills to industry,
  • build your networks,
  • strengthen your entrepreneurial skills,
  • work with students outside your discipline
  • address a real problem worth solving, and
  • have the chance to win a cash prize!


First place: $10,000 cash, the opportunity to pitch at the annual Ventures Showcase and Celebration event, and exclusive mentoring session with a Ventures entrepreneur-in-residence

Second place: $3,000 cash and exclusive mentoring session with a Ventures entrepreneur-in-residence

Third place: $2,000 cash and exclusive mentoring session with a Ventures entrepreneur-in-residence

How it works

Find your team

To enter the challenge, you must have a team comprising of two to five UQ students. Teams comprising students from different study programs and different schools are strongly encouraged.

Don’t have a team yet but want to participate? You can register to join our Slack channel to network and meet your future team! You can also join our information session on 12 August to hear from our industry partners. 

Choose a problem

Choose a focus area you'd like to tackle and get together with your fellow innovators to form your team. This could include water scarcity, pollution, infrastructure, sanitation, natural disasters, climate change, or food security.  

Your team can approach the challenge from a technological, social or environmental perspective. A list of challenges to tackle can be found below. 

Register your team

To participate in the Challenge, you will need to register your team by 28 August 2020. 

To help you come up with a viable solution, teams will be invited to join our Industry Challenge Slack channel and will be able to access Ventures mentors and staff during our Community Wednesday sessions. If your team is participating in an existing Ventures program, your team can also work on the challenge then. 

Pitch your solution

Your team will need to submit a pitch video by 8 October 2020 to enter the challenge.

If your solution is shortlisted, your team will be invited to present your solution at our pitch event on 22 October 2020. Teams will compete for a prize pool of $15,000 in front of judges and an audience. All team members must participate in the presentation – either through being part of the pitch or responding to questions from the judges.

Solve a problem

Help us solve a problem relating to water scarcity.

Natural disasters
How can industry be more prepared to effectively manage natural events, including droughts, floods or fires? 
Water pollution
Are there new ways to ensure water supply is optimised for new and developing communities?
Community engagement
Can we raise awareness and help communities manage the way they use water to make a collective difference in affordable and sustainable water practices?
Healthy water quality
What are ways to ensure our water quality is fit for different uses – from recreational activities and industrial purposes to healthy drinking?

Have a question?

For more information about the Ventures Industry Challenge, contact the Ventures team