Westpac issues professional services challenge

Those with a bold vision for the future of the professional services sector are invited to enter the annual Westpac Innovation Challenge and a chance to win $40,000.

This year’s competition encourages entries from individuals, start-ups and entrepreneurs with original ideas that will improve Australia’s professional services sector, with a particular focus on accounting and legal practices.

“We are looking for the next big idea that will shape the future of the professional services sector by supporting its development and growth,” said Makala Schofield, national head of Professional and Business Services at Westpac.

“The winning entry could be inspired by ways to attract and retain top talent, deliver improved customer value, or create business efficiencies, and may include leveraging new technology and megatrends, like artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data.”

Professional services is an important contributor to the Australian economy, both as a major employer, and a sector that supports the growth and development of businesses. It is also one of Australia's five largest services exports, increasing 7.2 per cent in 2015-16 to $5.2 billion dollars.

In 2015-16, Australia's five largest services exports were: Education-related travel services - $19.9 billion; Recreational travel services - $16.6 billion; Professional services - $5.2 billion; Business travel services $4.4 billion and Financial services - $3.7 billion.

Now in its fourth year, the Westpac Innovation Challenge is judged by a panel of industry experts. In previous years, the competition has unearthed entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas for the agribusiness, property and healthcare sectors.

Applications are open until 13 August with five finalists to be selected from qualifying entries to attend a boot camp at Westpac and prepare for the live pitch, which will take place in Sydney on 7 September 2017.

The competition will award one winner AU$40,000 in prize money and professional support from Westpac to develop their winning idea.

For more information on the Challenge and previous winners, click here.

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