Master’s graduate wins Grand Ideas competition

Tuesday 22 June 2021
Master of Management graduate Hayley Fung has big dreams of revolutionising community engagement in the construction industry.

Grand Ideas 2021 winner Hayley Fung.

Last updated: Monday 21 March 2022

Master of Management graduate Hayley Fung has big dreams of revolutionising community engagement in the construction industry.

She recently graduated after studying by distance part-time while working full-time in the construction industry as a project manager. She’s currently contracting as a software project manager.

The inspiration for her winning entry, UpdateCove, was born after seven years working in the sector.

“Being passionate about digital transformation and driving innovation with technology, I noticed there were lots of ways we could improve processes. As I became more experienced as a project manager, I found that a lot of the communication was very ineffective. And as a resident, I've faced the common frustration in local communities of not knowing what was happening with road works or why there might be cones sitting outside my house. These inspired me to use digital tools to help make communication on construction projects more efficient,” she says.

Boredom during one of the lockdowns resulted in working on UpdateCove. Ms Fung says it was a long process from idea to action, with lots of feedback sought and many iterations.

“When we did the pilot with the custom-built prototype website, it was just to prove the concept.  At that time, it was still quite a fresh idea and we hadn’t thought about making it a bigger thing. But it gradually evolved and I eventually realised it had potential to benefit the whole construction industry. This led to me coming up with the idea that we could build a platform that provides construction companies and government agencies with tools such as project websites and sentiment analysis so they could improve engagement and make data-driven decisions. We now have our first user on board trialling our product and providing feedback.”


UpdateCove co-founders Hayley Fung and Nathanuel Mills.

The Grand Ideas competition is run by the ecentre for Massey University students, distance students, and staff who have a great idea for a commercial or social enterprise. Winners gain access to $5000 and bespoke support from the ecentre to progress their idea.

"When I found out about Grand Ideas, I was really excited that ecentre and Massey University were supporting student entrepreneurs. I entered because I knew that even if I didn't win, pitching to a panel of judges and sharing experiences with other entrepreneurs would be a great learning opportunity. Everyone was extremely supportive and we learnt a lot from each other. I’m really glad we did it and getting some positive feedback from the judges and other contestants gave me more confidence to continue developing UpdateCove."

As far as next steps are concerned, Ms Fung has been working with seasoned entrepreneur and former civil engineer Brad Booysen at the ecentre to work out the milestones UpdateCove would like to achieve with the grant.

“We would like to finish our MVP [minimal viable product] and get it out to more users for feedback.  We would love to be able to take it further. In the long-term, we want to grow our customer base and get further investment. That way, we can scale up and empower more construction leaders to redesign their engagement and really make a difference in reducing the impact construction projects have on local communities.”

Click here for more information about UpdateCove.