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The Big Idea

3 December 2012 The Big Idea

The Big Idea

A team of students from the University of New South Wales has been named the winner of our inaugural The Big Idea competition.

The Big Idea asked university students to come up with a social enterprise that could provide employment to people unable to access mainstream jobs in a similar way to our fortnightly street magazine and other social enterprises.

Four shortlisted teams underwent judging on December 4 by a panel of high-profile business and industry leaders including Simon McKeon, Natasha Stott Despoja and Cheryl Kernot.

The winning team's social enterprise idea involved setting up mobile bike storage facilities. This idea would see homeless and disadvantaged people work as bike attendants assisting with the storage and maintenance of bicycles.

Other shortlisted ideas included:
• Training homeless and disadvantaged people to undertake tasks outsourced by organisations and individuals such as cleaning and furniture removal
• Employing marginalised people to prepare and pack healthy lunch packs for school canteens and supermarkets
• Employing marginalised youth and supporting Indigenous communities through a coffee business

"We want to congratulate the winning team and finalists, who all put enormous effort into their entries," National Operations Manager Sally Hines said.

“It's wonderful to see the next generation of leaders come up with new ideas for the future."

The competition ran as a pilot at the University of New South Wales and Swinburne University of Technology during Semester 2. It involved a series of lectures, workshops and webinars to help students, working in teams, develop their social enterprise ideas.

Ms Hines said The Big Issue would now assess the winning concept, as well as entries by other finalists, to determine the feasibility of implementing a new social enterprise.

Six universities have already signed up for next year’s competition: The University of Melbourne, University of Western Sydney, University of Queensland, Murdoch University, La Trobe University and Flinders University.

Limited places are still available for 2013. To find out how your university can be involved, click here.

Congratulations to the winning team: Vera-Min Stephenson, Alan Jackson, Jane Hwei Ying Loh, Yuyang Liu and Thanh Hien Thi Tran.

The Big Idea is proudly supported by NAB through its commitment to education and helping young people realise their potential.

View photos from the event here.

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