Those with a bold vision or bright idea for the future of the professional services sector are invited to enter the prestigious annual Westpac Innovation Challenge, for the chance to win AU$40,000 and professional support to take their idea to the next level.
This year’s competition encourages entries from talented individuals, start-ups and entrepreneurs with original ideas that will improve Australia’s professional services sector, with a particular focus on accounting and legal practices.
“We are looking for the next big idea that will shape the future of the professional services sector by supporting its development and growth. The winning entry could be inspired by ways to attract and retain top talent, deliver improved customer value, or create business efficiencies, and may include leveraging new technology and megatrends, like artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data,” said Makala Schofield, National Head of Professional and Business Services at Westpac.
Professional services is an important contributor to the Australian economy, both as a major employer, and a sector that supports the growth and development of businesses. It is also one of Australia's five largest services exports, increasing 7.2 per cent in 2015-16 to $5.2 billion dollars.
“Westpac has supported the drive and imagination behind thousands of Australian businesses for more than 200 years. In our third century of business, we are keen to uncover original ideas that will further strengthen one of Australia’s most established and reputable sectors,” Ms Schofield said.
Now in its fourth year, the Westpac Innovation Challenge is judged by a panel of leading industry experts. In previous years, the Challenge has unearthed entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas for the agribusiness, property and healthcare sectors.
Applications for the 2017 Westpac Innovation Challenge are open until 13 August 2017. Five finalists will be selected from qualifying entries to attend a boot camp at Westpac to prepare for the live pitch which will take place in Sydney on 7 September 2017.
The competition will award one winner AU$40,000 in prize money and professional support from Westpac to develop their winning idea. The prize money must be deposited into a Westpac Group bank account.