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Founder of Aussie Books for Zim, Dr Alfred Chidembo, was won of the winners at the UOW Pitch 2016. Picture: Robert Peet

Founder of Aussie Books for Zim, Dr Alfred Chidembo, was won of the winners at the UOW Pitch 2016. Picture: Robert Peet

Better fitting bras, a phone charger powered by campfire and a charity were some of the winning initiative’s at this year’s University of Wollongong Pitch.

Budding entrepreneurs had five minutes to talk up their big ideas to experts at UOW’s Innovation Campus in the hope of receiving funding for further development.

Celeste Coltman, Dr Deirdre McGhee and Professor Julie Steele were among the three big winners in the competition, for using 3D scanning technology to create more comfortable bras for exercising.

“Eighty-five per cent of Australian women wear the wrong size bra, and insufficient breast support is a barrier to physical activity,” their pitch read.

Postgraduate student Ben Coman also received $6000 for “The HALO”: a device that when attached to a helmet can alert others to an accident if the person hits their head, such as when skiing off piste.

Media and communications student Sam Noaks was the first entrant and winner from the faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts, for his submission on a custom built drone for Roads and Maritime Services operations.

UOW graduate Alfred Chidembo and senior research fellow Robert Gorkin received $2000 for “Best Staff Pitch” outlining their charity’s work to “promote education and improve literacy” in remote communities in Zimbabwe.

“We are also exploring local initiatives to work with literacy groups in regional Australia to develop knowledge sharing networks with those communities,” their pitch read.

Dr Chidembo began Aussie Books for Zim in 2015, wanting to give back to his home town of Mavhurazi and set up a library at the village primary school because books “give kids the chance to dream”.

Their prize money will go towards funding a shipping container to transport 25,000 books to Africa.

Undergraduate Tor Gjerde was also recognised for his idea to create a compact, lightweight and robust battery charger powered from the heat of an open flame like a campfire or hiking burner.

The Pitch is designed to build on the success of iAccelerate and further promote student and staff involvement in entrepreneurialism and the commercialisation of ideas, inventions and research outcomes at UOW.

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