Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

ASB Bright Sparks is New Zealand’s most popular competition for young inventors, bringing together the country’s best and brightest.

This is your chance to wow our judges and get started on the path to your exciting future in technology, plus be in to win your share of $10,000 of prizes!

ASB Bright Sparks can open the door to an exciting tech career in electronics, engineering or software. Here’s everything you need to know about entering…

 

ENTRY INFORMATION

Does it cost anything to enter?

No, it’s entirely free! There is no entry fee. Even postage is provided for free. If you make it through as a finalist, your travel (for students outside of Auckland) for you and one parent to attend the awards evening is also free! You can also get selected parts and components free as well! Join the Inventor’s Forum to find out how.

How do I enter the competition?

Get your free entry pack then send it back with your project. You need to include the entry form (which is included in your entry pack), when you send us your project.

Entry packs will be available at the start of August 2017. Email us at brightsparks@skills.org.nz and tell us your name and postal address and we will make sure you get your entry pack once they are released. It even includes postage so you can send your project back to us for free.

Who can enter?

All primary, intermediate and secondary school students in New Zealand in 2017 can enter.

When will entry packs be available?

We start sending entry packs out in August. To make sure you get yours, you can register your interest now on this site, or email us at brightsparks@skills.org.nz

When do entries close?

Your project needs to arrive at Skills no later than Wednesday September 20th to enter this year’s competition.

Where do I send my entry to?   

By post to: Skills, Freepost 5164, PO Box 24-469, Royal Oak, Auckland 1345.
or by email to: brightsparks@skills.org.nz

Or you can drop it off to us at Skills, Level 2, LG House, 60 Highbrook Drive, East Tamaki, Auckland.

PROJECT ANSWERS

Will I get my project back?

Yes, your project will be returned after judging to the address you put on the return address label (your label is included in your free entry pack). Projects are returned within 10 days following judging, except for the ones required for the Awards exhibition. If we need to hold on to your project for a little longer we will let you know. If you need it back urgently (for NCEA marking for example), please contact us and let us know.

Does my project have to involve some electronics or programming?

Yes, even if your project is a science, engineering or environment project, the judges want to see a connection to the high-tech product world. That connection could be broader than just including software and electronics though. Download our Ideas Generator and view past entries for ideas.

What category should my project go in?

Your free entry pack will help you decide and you can choose one or more categories for your project. If you’re still not sure don’t worry as our judges will sort out what categories your project is a best match for. You can also ask for advice on our Inventor’s Forum

Mine is a software project, do I need to list all my code?

No, if you prefer not to send it all, just select the key sections of code so we can judge your work. Remember to add annotations (notes in your code), to explain the most important lines.

What should I do if my project is too big, expensive or fragile to send by post?

That’s ok if you can’t send it to us but you will need to give our judges lots of supporting evidence instead. The most important part is to include a video if you aren’t sending your project to us. Remember to let us know not to expect anything in the post.

Can I send my entry by email or on a flashdrive?

Yes, we will print everything out for the judges and show them your video if you include one.

How should I package my project when I send it?

Pack your project in a box with plenty of scrunched newspaper or bubble wrap around all sides for protection. Put your entry form inside as well as any printed information about your project. Glue or stick the Freepost address label on the top of the box and the smaller Return Address label (with your address details on it) on the sides of the box. All the labels you need are included in your free entry pack. Take it to your nearest PostShop.

Can I enter more than one project?

Yes, you can enter as many projects as you like but you’ll need a separate entry form for each one.

Can I enter with a friend?

Yes, you and one or more friends can enter a single project as long as you understand any prize you win has to be shared. Each person who worked on the project needs to fill in a separate entry form.

Does my project have to be finished and working?

You are welcome to enter an unfinished project. Some unfinished projects have won top prizes in the past.

Can my project be one I made as part of my schoolwork?

Yes, your project can be something you made in class time.

Can I enter a project from another competition?

Yes, you can enter any project as long as you built it yourself.

Am I allowed to receive help?

Yes, you are allowed help (mentoring) for your project but you must tell us that on your Entry Form if you do.

Are there any electrical requirements I need to know about?

Yes, if your project requires more than 32 volts to run on, it should be checked by a registered electrician and you should include in your project documents their written approval that it is safe. Projects must not be potentially dangerous.

What else should I include with my project?

To give your project the best chance of being selected, you should include any diagrams, photos, drawing, key code and notes that will help the judges understand how to operate your project and learn about how you developed it. Including a video is optional except when your project is too big, fragile or expensive to send us which means a video is required.

Can I send a video of me and my project?

Yes, it really helps the judges if you can show them how your project works. It’s best to upload your video to YouTube (use the private settings) and then tell us what the link to the video is on your entry form so the judges can watch it. You could also put your video on a flashdrive, CD or DVD and post it in with your project.

 

ABOUT THE JUDGING

Who are the judges?

Our judges are an independent panel of people who are leaders in their field, across multiple industries. We bring together 6 expert judges who specialise in technology, innovation, science, the environment and of course, electronics. Meet this year’s judges

Can I attend the judging?

The judging panel request that entrants do not attend so be sure to include lots of supporting evidence and/or a video for your entry. The judges will assess your project on its own merit.

What are the judges looking for?

Judges assess your project on skill first and foremost, but also look for creativity, passion and potential.

 

FINALISTS, AWARDS AND WINNERS!

Will I find out if I’m a finalist?

Yes, finalists will be announced on the 29th of September. The list of finalists will be shared on the ASB Bright Sparks Facebook page and listed on this site.

How many projects are chosen for the awards?

It depends on the quality of the projects, but the judges normally choose around 40 finalists.

What happens if my project gets chosen?

If you’re one of our finalists, you’ll be invited to attend the awards night. If you’re not in Auckland you can drive or fly from anywhere around the country to the awards evening.

When is the awards night?

The awards evening is on the 7th of November, held at The Cube at ASB North Wharf in Auckland. Travels costs for you and one parent will be provided for free.