The Smart Ideas competition gives ordinary folk a chance to pitch extraordinary ideas in a supportive setting.

Ideas person: Ideation at Work founder and Hunter Innovation Festival host Christina Gerakiteys. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
Ideas person: Ideation at Work founder and Hunter Innovation Festival host Christina Gerakiteys. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

ORDINARY people with extraordinary ideas take note: enter the Smart Ideas Competition and you can win financial and mentoring support that may just bring your brainwave to fruition.

In its second year, the competition is a part of the Hunter Innovation Festival, which will be held in June.

Businesswoman, innovation champion and festival host Christina Gerakiteys said the competition provided a relaxed format for people to pitch their ideas. 

“There’s a chance to get feedback and once an idea is out there, there’s every likelihood that others may take to it and collaboration can occur,” she said. 

Ms Gerakiteys, founder of innovation company Ideation at Work, said some of the best ideas come from people who don’t consider themselves to be innovative.

Her childhood influenced her career: her father and uncle were “serial innovators” and she heard tales of how her grandfather ‘invented’ the choc top ice-cream.

“He owned a cafe – all Greeks did! – and his son, my uncle, would come in and and grab an ice cream cone and dunk it into a vat of chocolate,” she says.

“My grandfather tampered with the melted chocolate to get the recipe he wanted – warm chocolate that hardened when it hit ice-cream, fixing the issue of dribbling chocolate and mess.”

In 1948, the family took the product to the Sydney Easter Show and it was a sell-out. 

“Unfortunately my grandfather spoke no English and knew nothing about patents,” says Ms Gerakiteys. 

To enter the Smart Ideas competition, you have an idea for a product or service that can benefit Newcastle and the Hunter.

 Entries must be 500 words or less, and accompanied by an illustration or photographs or a video no longer than three minutes. 

The winner will receive $1000 cash and a $1000 mentoring package from Business Centre Newcastle and Hunter Founders Forum.  

Send Smart Idea competition entries to online.media@theherald.com.au.

Videos can be emailed or delivered to The Herald offices at 28 Honeysuckle Drive. 

The competition closes at 5pm on Wednesday, June 1.