Media Release | 1 August 2018

Community has entrepreneur’s back, helping make sun smart product a reality 

Over the last month, entrepreneur Raphael McGowan has lobbied hard to inspire the local community to get behind his sunscreen applicator bakslap, and it has paid off.

In just 30 days, the Sunshine Coast community and others have backed bakslap’s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with $48,377 to get the applicator into production in time for summer this year.

Developed following the tragic loss of Mr McGowan’s 31-year-old sister Tess McGowan-Chan to melanoma in 2012, the bakslap applicator makes it easy for people to apply sunscreen to their backs and hard-to-reach places on their bodies and helps avoid getting messy hands.

“I knew bakslap was vital to get to market this year to help people protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays more easily, but I had no idea that people would get behind it so much,” Mr McGowan said.

“I’ve been blown away by the level of support and interest, not just on the Coast but all over the country. It’s very humbling,” he said.

Strive was really special. So memorable with so many tips to use straight away. I was captivated the entire 3 hours. It felt like no time at all. I hope it runs again. So powerful – (Strive Project Testimontial)

Mr McGowan’s journey was shared and celebrated during collaborative presentation Strive Project this week, which was held at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus on Tuesday with more than 100 students, local business owners, entrepreneurs and community packing the lecture theatre .

Over the course of the three-hour event, business specialists Bruce Williams of Easy Teams, Robyn Pulman of Speak for Impact and Julie Coulthard of Inkee (PR for startups), inspired participants to speak with confidence, partner with others and share their stories, in order to move people to act.

The facilitators of Strive Project have all worked closely with Raphael over the past 18 months to increase his awareness of various communication styles, learn how to speak in public with confidence and on storytelling to grow support for his business vision.

“We thoroughly enjoyed seeing what the attendees gained from hearing Raphael’s incredible journey and equipping them with tips and tools they can use straight away in business and in life,” Julie Coulthard, Strive Project facilitator said.

While the event was designed to inspire local startups looking to strengthen their businesses, students of TAFE Queensland benefitted too, with the event free for students to attend and providing them with the chance to gain experience in their field.

Awesome – loved it. Keep up the good work, loved engaging with neighbours and laughing and learning – (Strive Project Testimonial)

Students from the campus’s cookery, hospitality and events programs all contributed to the delivery of the event on the day.

TAFE Queensland East Coast region General Manager Ana Rodger said the organisation was proud to collaborate with an initiative that helps local businesses grow.

“TAFE Queensland is a big supporter of innovation and local business, so we are excited to host an event that not only reflects this, but gives our students information they can use to take what they have learnt with us and turn it into a successful venture,” Ms Rodger said.

“This is also a great opportunity for our students to put what they’ve learned into practice with real-life experience.”

Strive Project was made possible with funding from the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Program Team (#SCRIPT), an initiative that aims to fuel the culture of innovation on the Sunshine Coast and invest in innovative programs that make a difference in the local community.