Students take on IT challenge

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Two Waikato University students are building on success in a national IT challenge to develop a system aimed at helping businesses become carbon-neutral.

They were part of a team of four that gained a highly commended award at the national MYOB IT Challenge final where they created a system for businesses to be able to work towards becoming carbon-neutral.

Students Stephanie Hay, Nicholas Humphries, William Hohepa and Elisha Flemming are the four that made up the Waikato University team, CarbonKiwi, and were one of the five teams to make it from the regionals to the national final round of the challenge.

The competition took place at the University of Auckland and contestants were tasked to develop a technology solution while keeping small-medium businesses in mind.

CarbonKiwi’s technology solution is an online tool for businesses that will help them be mindful of and reduce their carbon production.

Bachelor of Entrepreneurship student Stephanie said that her team shared a clear focus of having a sustainable future so their main goal was to develop something that would allow them and others to become carbon neutral.

“Everyone talks about wanting to become carbon neutral but people simply don’t have the tools to do that,” said Stephanie.

The tool works by an individual inputting their car details and distanced travelled into the system. It will then tell the individual how much carbon they created during their journey.

The tool also has an automated offset function that, when pushed, will send the data the individual has logged back to the CarbonKiwi team who will then be able to determine how many trees need to be planted to make up for the released carbon.

MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey said how impressed she was with the competitors this year, especially CarbonKiwi and their tool.

“Every year we are impressed with the calibre of the solutions presented and this year was no different, teams such as CarbonKiwi from the Waikato who really thought outside the box and developed new and innovative solutions,” said Carolyn.

Despite the competition being over, Stephanie and Nicholas are continuing to develop the idea with help from Carolyn.

“Carolyn Luey is continuing to mentor us and steer us in the right direction for where we want to go. We’re pretty lucky,” said Stephanie.

The pair plan to launch the system in the next two months, pushing it through social media to begin with.

They will be pitching it to small businesses but Stephanie says they have already got some big industry players on board from the vehicle and agriculture sectors.

Once it’s all up and running, Stephanie says through the system they hope to plant one million trees.

“One of our main goals now is to be able to plant one million trees in a year all around New Zealand,” said Stephanie.

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