Coles Group Industry Hackathon

Coles Group and La Trobe University combined forces for an industry hackathon event, as part of the University's Innovation and Entrepreneurship suite of programs.

The Coles Group Industry Hackathon was the perfect chance for Coles Group to witness first-hand the drive and talent of La Trobe students and alumni. Additionally, it was a unique opportunity for participants to learn from and network with experienced industry professionals and like-minded students and alumni in a fun, supportive and collaborative environment.

Over the past century, the Coles Group has evolved from a variety store to a leading Australian supermarket, and now to a portfolio of top retail brands. This didn’t happen by accident – a clear shared vision, purpose and strategy, as well as an emphasis on fostering a culture that values consistent behaviours, have played a key role to the organisation’s success. What better place to set the scene for La Trobe University students and alumni keen to hone their skillsets to become confident and career-ready!

The two-day event saw participants visit Coles HQ – and apply foundational entrepreneurial thinking and skills to a business challenge set by the leading Australian retailer. Working in teams, participants prototyped solutions and pitched their ideas back to a panel of industry experts.

Staff and recent graduates from the University and Coles Group were behind students all the way – mentoring and sharing insights as participants shaped their solutions.

The judging panel included senior members of the Coles Group team – Angela Konstantopoulos, GM of Health, Safety and Wellbeing; James Benson, Head of Retail Safety; Paul Strangis, National Safety Manager, Retail & Manufacturing Operations; and La Trobe’s Cerasela Tanasescu, Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

The event agenda was focused on increasing participant employability skills, building an entrepreneurial mindset and putting learnings into practice. Student attendees received recognition toward their Career Ready Advantage Award.

La Trobe University Accelerator Program alumni Simon Mildren, Founder, HiveKeepers, led the Day Two session. His insights and expertise were invaluable additions to the hackathon agenda.

Our entrepreneurship programs build the skills of students, while also enabling our industry partners to tap into our work-ready student pipeline and support their own workforce development.

If you're interested in running a hackathon in your organisation, connect with us on

Photo credit: Amina Ali