Westpac teams up with Paddl Co. and Western Sydney University to tackle small business challenges

Western Sydney University delivers latest Paddl Games

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Students and local businesses join forces for a day of ideation in Parramatta

Westpac has partnered with Paddl Co. and Western Sydney University to deliver the latest Paddl Games, a series of fast-paced innovation challenges undertaken by students, graduates and business leaders to create smart solutions to real business challenges.

Taking place today, 26 September, at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta South campus, the immersive ‘hackathon’ style event, in collaboration with series partner the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), has been designed to find solutions which help local (Western Sydney) small businesses overcome barriers to growth.

The Games saw eleven businesses collaborate with talented students from Western Sydney University as they participate in a series of ‘sprint’ challenges, before pitching their ideas to a judging panel.

Chris Brell, Westpac’s NSW / ACT State General Manager for SME said: “The partnership is a clear demonstration of Westpac’s ongoing support of small businesses in the area. Through events like Paddl Games, we hope to help local businesses recognise and achieve their full potential, while also showcasing these businesses as exciting career options to emerging talent.

“The Paddl Games model provides a unique forum for students and graduates, from a wide range of disciplines, to connect with local businesses and major organisations to learn, practice and showcase their skills. Through the partnership, Westpac has also created two bespoke internships designed to harness the ambition of two deserving students and provide further opportunity to develop their knowledge acquired at the Games,” said Chris.

Dominique Fisher, CEO and co-founder of Paddl Co. said: “We are delighted to welcome Westpac as our principal sponsor for these Paddl Games. The Games provide an original approach to bring together government, industry and local businesses to focus on both the opportunities and challenges that the Western Sydney economy faces.”

Angelo Kourtis, Vice-President (People and Advancement) at Western Sydney University said: “The University is exceptionally proud of its contribution to Greater Western Sydney over the last 30 years. The Western Paddl Games are a distinctive way to bring our highly-skilled students, academics and alumni together with industry leaders and local businesses to make the most of the growing opportunities in our region. The Games are an innovative and hands-on way for students to expand their professional networks and connect with future employers.”

At the end of the challenge, teams demonstrated their ability to be solution-orientated by pitching their innovative ideas to an industry-leading judging panel, comprising:

  • Dominique Fisher - CEO, Paddl Co.
  • Mark McKenzie - Chair, COSBOA
  • Chris Brell – NSW / ACT State General Manager for SME, Westpac
  • Cheryl Pearl – Head of SME Business Marketing, Westpac
  • Chris Youness, Director Employability and Graduate Success - Western Sydney University

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, said: “Innovation in business is essential to ensure continued success and future growth and the Paddl Games provide the perfect opportunity for local talent and businesses to join forces. Each game highlights a locally relevant challenge, helping business unlock innovative solutions. The Games also provide businesses with access to the next wave of talent, which is crucial in today’s highly competitive market.”

Students and graduates also benefited from Westpac’s designated Employer Booths at the event, which offered participants a 15-minute one-to-one session with a Westpac HR professional. This service aims to provide emerging talent with career advice from an experienced representative who will assist with helping participants identify ways to advance and grow towards their career aspirations.

The Paddl Games Challenge series has been carefully designed to give participants the opportunity to improve digital skills and surface IP, provide mentoring, networking and employment opportunities and support economic growth opportunities in Western Sydney.


26 September 2019

Ali Sardyga, Senior Media Officer