first responders smlActions taken in the first minutes of an emergency are critical and first responders play a crucial role in everything from natural disasters like floods, fires, earthquakes and cyclones; to criminal acts; pandemic outbreaks; car accidents; chemical spills and even shipwrecks.

During the January school holidays (17, 18, 19 January 2017) Teen Start-up will once again introduce Canberra’s teens to the entrepreneurship process. School students (12-18 year olds) from across Canberra will form teams, work together to come up with an idea for a business or social enterprise and then pitch their concept to a panel of judges.

The theme for this Teen Start-Up competition is “First Responders”.

Teams will be looking at problems encountered by our first responders in managing emergency situations – the police, paramedics, State Emergency Services, army, public health departments, Hazmat teams, hospital emergency departments and the fire brigade. They will be challenged to come up with innovative solutions to predicting, managing and avoiding emergency situations.

Natural disasters

Every year, Australian communities are subjected to the damaging impacts of disasters caused by bushfires, floods, and severe storms. These impact people, the economy, our infrastructure and the environment and remind us that we have to continue to innovate and improve our resilience to disasters.

While it is very often difficult to accurately predict the size, severity, timing, location and impact of many of these disasters, climate change is likely to have an affect on our future risks with an increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

Wide impact

Managing emergencies largely falls under the jurisdiction of state and territory governments, and local governments also play a significant role, but the wider impacts are felt across a large range of organisations including the not-for-profit sector as organisations like the Red Cross provide humanitarian aid both during and after these events. Australian organisations also play an important role in supporting relief efforts overseas when natural disasters strike.

What to expect

Students will work together to come up with an idea for a product or service that they believe provides a solution to an issue or challenge that interests them. To aid the thinking process, students will participate in workshops and presentations from industry professionals. There will also be a hands-on Technology Showcase where students can see new technologies in action. Mentors will also be on hand to assist teams.

Bookings for Teen Start-Up: First Responders will open on the 1st October 2016. For more information visit 


first responders tickets


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit for more information.