Functional undies steal the show at Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards

MTIA 2024 Finalists

Three students from Glasshouse Christian College have taken out the top prize at the 2024 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards for their ‘Fundies’ functional undies creation.

Fundies are designed with zippers to enable people with an injury, a disability or mobility issues to easily put on their underwear, no matter what their situation. The idea was born out of the real-life experience of one of the co-founders after he broke his ankle.

The team members, comprising students Eli Alksne, Elijah Rumble and Timothy Ford and led by Mr Rob Steffler, were ecstatic with the result.

Second place went to Matthew Flinders Anglican College students Avani Jaremus and Stella Hastie for their Reality Check concept – a unique online platform that provides secondary students with educational resources and micro-credentials for real world preparation.

Sustainable Sorts, created by Anabelle Nicholl and Tempany Wellington from Immanuel Lutheran College, were awarded third for a self-sorting recycling bin that is bristling with AI technology.

The Emerging Entrepreneur Award went to Glasshouse Christian College students Jolie Veit, Liana Boss and Holly Zielinski for Room Ready – a digital app tailored towards encouraging users to shop local, addressing the environmental impact of excessive packaging.

These outstanding students, acknowledged at the awards ceremony on Thursday, June 20 at Venue 114 in Bokarina, will share in more than $10,000 worth of prizes for themselves and their schools.

The winners will also take home a personalised trophy and enjoy a structured mentoring program from Groei Education.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Rosanna Natoli, who sat on the judging panel, said she was astounded by the calibre of ideas.

“The pitches delivered by these students were truly amazing,” Mayor Natoli said.

“Our region’s future is very bright with such talented individuals leading the way.

“I congratulate each and every one of the students for their impressive mix of ideas and wish them every success in potentially turning their innovations into a commercial reality,” Mayor Natoli said.  

Telstra Group Owner for Digitisation Brent McArthur said he was impressed to see the quality of ideas improve, then come to life on stage.

“It gives me great pride to see we can nurture young talent with entrepreneurial thinking, right here, locally on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr McArthur said.

“It’s been a fulfilling experience to see the smart minds of these winning teams develop ideas through the community-led mentorship that can have a positive impact on people’s lives and our local environment.

“The finalist teams should feel incredibly proud and I’m confident this experience will help set their futures up for success.”

Finalists and their amazing ideas (in no particular order):

1st place Glasshouse Christian College – Fundies L-R front row: Students Eli Alksne, Elija Rumble and Timothy Ford. L-R back row: Mayor Rosanna Natoli, Mentor Colin Graham from Causeway Innovation, School Coordinator Mr Rob Steffler, Brent McArthur from Telstra, Tara Jacobsen from Study Sunshine Coast and Tim McGee from Sunshine Coast Council.

Glasshouse Christian College

  • Fundies: Functional undies for people with an injury, a disability or mobility issues.
  • Room Ready: A unique digital platform connecting consumers to retailers with a personalised shopping experience.
  • SAF3: A new safety indication system for firearms.
3rd place Immanuel Lutheran College – Sustainable Sorts L-R Brent McArthur from Telstra, Mayor Rosanna Natoli, Tim McGee from Sunshine Coast Council, School Coordinator Mr Brett Cruse, Mentor Dominic Vrolijks from Sunshine Coast Makers Space, Tara Jacobsen from Study Sunshine Coast and students Anabelle Nicholl and Tempany Wellington

Immanuel Lutheran College

  • Block by Block: A sustainable housing and rental solution utilising decommissioned shipping containers
  • WongariWard: An ultrasonic dingo repellent bracelet.
  • Sustainable Sorts: A self-sorting recycling bin bristling with technology.
2nd place Matthew Flinders Anglican College – Reality Check L-R Mayor Rosanna Natoli, Brent McArthur from Telstra, Tara Jacobsen from Study Sunshine Coast, Tim McGee from Sunshine Coast Council, student Stella Hastie and Avani Jaremus, mentor Yvette Adams from Creative Collective and School Coordinator Mr Peter Horton

Matthew Flinders Anglican College

  • Reality Check: A unique online platform that provides secondary students with educational resources for real world preparation.

Mountain Creek State High School

  • DAN: A mountable pod attached to boats to passively collect floating waste.
  • Safety Assurance: AR and VR program developed to train users in manufacturing safety protocols.

Suncoast Christian College

  • Think Pad: A controlled learning tool to assist teachers in classrooms.
  • Auzzie Mozzie Mister: A safe and environmentally friendly spray application system to ward off mosquitos.
  • Power Perch: A wireless mobile computer charging device and storage dock.

Sunshine Coast Council is proud to partner with Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast to deliver the 2024 Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards exclusively to high school students within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area.

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards is a key initiative of the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013 – 2033 and aims to foster innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people in the region.

For more, visit



Scroll to Top