Local innovator takes out top gong at Australia Post Regional Pitchfest in Bendigo

Suzanne Carroll has beaten tough competition after being announced winner of the Australia Post Regional Pitchfest in Bendigo.

Australia Post Regional Pitchfest was held on Wednesday 23 November at The Engine Room where the top five finalists presented their big innovative ideas to a live audience ,and an expert panel of judges including local entrepreneurs Paul Chapman (Australian Turntable Company), Kerry Anderson (KA Rural Enterprises), and Georgia Beattie (CEO of Start-up Victoria).

Suzanne impressed judges with her winning idea of the Cool Clutch, which is little cooler handbag with an insulated interior to keep its contents either cool or warm. The Cool Clutch is perfect for storing food, drinks and medicine, and also features a generous outside side pocket to carry items such as a small purse, keys, phone and lipstick.

“I’m so pleased to have won Regional Pitchfest. Thank you to Australia Post and Regional Pitchfest for this wonderful and rewarding experience – I have learnt so much. I will use the prize money to take my idea to the next stage and invest in a customer centric website for Cool Clutch,” Ms Carroll said.

“Judges were so impressed by the fantastic ideas pitched at the Australia Post Regional Pitchfest event. Not only were they original and creative, but also practical and innovative,” said Regional Pitchfest founder, Dianna Somerville.

“We applaud all top five finalists and congratulate Suzanne for this tremendous effort. We look forward to seeing Suzanne take her idea to the next level,” she said.  

Suzanne’s brilliant idea has won her $5,000 to help get her idea get off the ground. Second prize was awarded to Erin Griffin (The Set Up) who received $3,500 and the community choice award, as voted by the live audience, went to Mark Farrell (Brilliant Polish) who walked away with $1,500.

Australia Post Chief Customer Officer, Christine Corbett, said the top five finalists had put forward some fantastic ideas and encouraged all entrepreneurs and innovators across regional and rural Australia to continue innovating.

“We know regional Australia is changing and there’s exciting things happening in local communities everywhere. People are creating new, innovative ways to solve problems and the entrepreneurial culture in regional areas is a wave building momentum that cannot be ignored,” said Ms Corbett.    

Regional entrepreneurs, innovators, artisans and small business owners in other states now have the opportunity to pitch their ideas live on stage when Australia Post Regional Pitchfest launches nationally early next year.

Entries for Australia Post Regional Pitchfest open nationwide on Monday 6 March and close Friday 28 April. Open to everyone living in regional and rural Australia, the state events will take place in Ballarat (VIC), Canberra (ACT), Launceston (TAS), Dubbo (NSW), Toowoomba (QLD), Darwin (NT), Bunbury (WA) and McLaren Vale (TAS) with the National Gala Event taking place in Wagga Wagga (NSW).

Dianna Somerville