WA Innovator of the Year finalists announced

Finalists in the prestigious 2017 WA Innovator of the Year (‘IOTY’) awards will battle it out over the coming weeks in hopes of sharing in over $145,000 and securing an invaluable platform from which to showcase their innovation nationally and internationally.

The WA Innovator of the Year program, which is run by the Western Australian Government Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, attracts some of Western Australia’s most pioneering and entrepreneurial individuals, businesses and creative minds and, now in its 11th year, continues to grow and gather momentum year on year.

This year, there are 20 finalists across five categories, including the Mitsubishi Corporation Emerging Category, the Mitsubishi Corporation Growth Category, the Woodside Oil & Gas Encouragement Award, the South32 Designing for Excellence Encouragement Award and this year’s debut category, Young Innovator of the Year.

Within the IOTY program, the sixteen finalists and semi-finalists benefit from valuable pitch presentation training and each of the finalists receives a personalised video of them showcasing their innovation.  The video can subsequently be used to assist with promoting and commercialising their innovation.

Mark Pullen, Principal of Watermark, who has been involved with IOTY since the program’s inception in 2006, said, ‘We are delighted with this year’s line-up of finalists and we are particularly excited about the introduction of the Young Innovator of the Year category, a collaboration between IOTY and the Just Start IT program, which provides a robust and healthy framework for competition between senior school students across WA.”

“IOTY presents an opportunity for winners to maximise the commercialisation of their innovations by encouraging links between industry, government and research and helps to facilitate opportunities for start ups to compete on an international footing,” he said.

“We have only to look at the success of last year’s overall winner of the Mitsubishi Corporation WA Innovator of the Year award, Fastbrick Robotics Ltd (‘FastBrick’), who recently signed an exclusive agreement with Caterpillar in the US for AU$2 million to support collaboration, innovation and commercialisation of the company’s Hadrian X, the world’s first commercially viable 3D robotic bricklaying system,” he said.

The Hadrian X machine and its associated software will enable builders, construction companies and their customers to benefit from designing and building in the 3D environment, enabling advances in speed, accuracy, safety and waste management. The Hadrian X is said to be capable of laying 1000 bricks per hour and building an entire house in two days.

Mark Pullen, who was chair of the last year’s Innovator of the Year Evaluation Panel, said ‘the judges saw great potential for the Hadrian X robotic bricklayer to improve capabilities and generate efficiencies, effectively, revolutionising the global construction industry.”

“The level of support provided by the program by way of mentoring and upskilling and the kind of market exposure winners can achieve is invaluable. The program has the very real potential to take local innovation to an international level,” he said.

Winners of the 2017 IOTY will be announced on 1 November 2017 at the awards event.

Full details of the 2017 IOTY finalists can be seen at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation website.