The gift of a sewing machine set Redcliffe State High School’s Chloe Alley on a path that has taken her to the Grand Final of the Future Anything competition and victory.
Budding entrepreneurs from 45 schools took part in the program, with finalists going head-to-head during the live-streamed grand final on November 23 at QUT Gardens Point campus.
Chloe pitched her business Chloe’s Heat Wheats – handmade lavender and wheat bags which are made from organic ingredients and fabric – and was crowned the winner.
The Year 9 student won a prize package valued at more than $12,000 including $2500 cash, a website and branding package from Gold Coast's Syntropic Studio, and professional mentoring from Powered by Purpose, a boutique innovation strategy agency.
Chloe's Heat Wheats was developed as part of Future Anything's Activate in-school entrepreneurship program which tasks students across Australia to create innovative, sustainable and scalable businesses that solve the problems that matter to them.
The winning social enterprise sells sustainably produced heat wheats with proceeds supporting local farmers affected by drought. The prize package will support Chloe's Heat Wheats to develop and scale the business in the real world.
Judge Lucas Patchett OAM, co-founder and Managing Director of Orange Sky said: “The judging panel was so impressed by the ideas presented by all the students and the quality of their pitches.
“Judging was a super tough job. We felt that our winner, Chloe’s Heat Wheats, is a business for whom the top prize will be most impactful and practical in scaling going forward. We loved the personal story and the meaningful purpose behind Chloe's business.”
Chloe said it was an amazing experience.
“I had to deliver my pitch to a panel of three judges plus an audience of about 300 people. It was nerve-wracking and I’ve never experienced nerves like that before,” she said.
She said the prize package would enable her to work with mentors, build a website and further develop her business in an eco-friendly way and perhaps even potentially develop her own fabrics.
Bribie Island State High School took out the coveted 'Educator Team of the Year 2021' award.
Presenting the Team of the Year award to Bribie Island SHS, Future Anything Founder and Director Nicole Dyson said: "Bribie Island SHS has had an incredible journey with Future Anything’s Activate program. There have been so many remarkable young people to have emerged from Activate at Bribie Island, and this is a testament to the passionate teaching team who have worked over the last two years to build a truly entrepreneurial culture in the school".
Chloe’s venture started soon after her grandparents gave her a sewing machine about three years ago.
She had been making clothing for her cousins, but after using a wheat bag one day decided she could make them.
“Mum started selling them to friends at work and I started selling them to friends at school,” Chloe said.
She then created an Instagram account and started selling them at markets including the Told You So café market at North Lakes and the Love Handmade Markets at Redcliffe.
There are also a number of shops that now stock her wheat bags.
The wheat bags come in three sizes – mini (two pack for $7), medium (two pack for $15) and large ($25 each).
Chloe has created themed ranges and has a children’s collection.
“I have lots of fun picking the different materials. There’s lots to choose from,” she said.
She will be selling her wheat bags at the Redcliffe Markets Christmas Twilight Market on December 11 from 4pm and the Told You So Market on Thursday, November 25 from 4pm. Orders can also be placed via her Instagram page.
“One of my goals through this program is to start up a website, which will hopefully make it easier for people to purchase,” she said.
Her mother Stephanie said the Redcliffe community had been incredibly supportive, including the Keep Eco Store at Woody Point, which stocked the wheat bags on a regular basis.
“That’s where the idea of going organic came from,” Chloe said.
Check out her Instagram page @chloes.heat.wheats