Amber's Stopover app a shock success

Amber Blumanis helped develop the Stopover app to enable people to meet in airports during long stopovers. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Amber Blumanis helped develop the Stopover app to enable people to meet in airports during long stopovers. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

An idea born during a long, boring airport layover kick-started the journey of a lifetime for Amber Blumanis, winning her an international award and praise from the likes of Richard Branson and Apple.

Ms Blumanis, of Stanwell Park, was stuck inside a Vietnamese airport with a mind-numbing 14 hours to wait until her flight home, when the idea for her smartphone app, Stopover, was conceived.

"It's an airport meet-up app, which can connect people during a stop at airports," Ms Blumanis said.

"I travel a lot and found the need for it. There's a lot of boring stopovers and I thought it would be cool to meet people nearby."

App users can sign up and make themselves available for business networking, language exchange or even just a coffee at the airport while waiting for their next flight. Having little background in IT or app design, Ms Blumanis sought assistance from the world's most knowledgeable source.

"I was on Google a lot," she laughed.

"I got in touch with a team in India, who helped develop the app."

Ms Blumanis entered the Asia-Pacific region's Talent Unleashed Awards, which recognise technological innovation and ideas. The judging panel, headed by Virgin's Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak, last week awarded her the Rising Star title from more than 600 entries.

Her prize includes the opportunity to head to South Africa for a week of workshops and networking at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.

"I'm looking forward to learning a lot. The mentoring experience will be great," Ms Blumanis said.

She and the team in India have since started their own app-developing company, Teks Mobile Australia, to help other aspiring app designers.

"I'm new to the tech industry, but it's really exciting," Ms Blumanis said.

"I want to help guide others through the process."

Stopover is available free from the Apple app store.

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