Enterprising Melbourne students reach finals of The Big Idea

December 15 / 172

Team Socius taking working on their Big Idea
Team Socius taking working on their Big Idea

Five Faculty of Arts students known as 'Team Socius' have the chance to have their social enterprise vision become a reality when they face a panel of high-profile judges in the national semi-finals of The Big Idea. 

The Big Idea, an initiative from not-for-profit organisation The Big Issue, invites university students from across Australia to develop a business plan for a social enterprise. The winning idea could go on to be launched and delivered by The Big Issue on a national scale.

The initiative is part of the Community Volunteering for Change - The Big Idea which encourages students to work in teams to propose a sustainable social business or enterprise model.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for our students and the two teams that entered, Team Socius and Team Sisu, were very committed to the project," says Dr Violeta Schubert, course coordinator. "The learning process that this opportunity provides sets the students up to be involved in their community and in their professional careers. It shows a commitment to development and contributing to the community."

The project proposed by Team Socius (Jian Li Yew, Natalia Agus, Dacy Ho, Hui-Ling Chang and Choon Leo Wang) aims to promote environmental responsibility by encouraging a sharing economy by renting out donated items that people use occasionally, such as vacuum cleaners, electric drills or lawnmowers.  If their plan is selected, they will recruit unemployed refugees to deliver the items directly to their customers.  

The group also want to organise social activities and training workshops to be platforms for mobilising 'environmental ambassadors' among international students to take up the challenge of waste reduction through reuse. These workshops will provide advice and assistance in becoming part of the community and building life skills, such as leadership, communication and interpersonal skills.

The finals of the competition will take place in Melbourne on November 30 where Team Socius will present their ideas to a panel of judges that includes Cheryl Kernot from the Centre for Social Impact, Andrew Penn CEO of Telstra and Anne Loveridge, Deputy Chair of PWC.

Story by Susannah Woodward

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