The Big Idea Awards Night

3 December 2013 The Big Idea

The Big Idea Awards Night

A team of students from La Trobe University has won our national university competition seeking new ideas in social enterprise.

Undergraduate students working in teams from 10 universities took part in The Big Idea competition during semester two. We asked students to develop a business plan for a social enterprise that could deliver benefits to society in a similar way to existing social enterprises such as The Big Issue magazine.

The La Trobe University team, comprising Meera Dawson, Georgina Wheeler and Marni Chaskiel (pictured), came up with a unique concept to start an urban landscaping social enterprise called Revegetate. The enterprise proposes to sell quirky, living vertical walls to cafes, hotels and restaurants. It would hire unemployed youth to help with the ongoing maintenance of the walls and provide the youth with an opportunity to undertake recognised training in horticulture.

The team joined four other finalist teams from Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Queensland and Murdoch University at The Big Idea awards in Melbourne last night (December 2). Other social enterprise ideas included a discount supermarket employing homeless and disadvantaged people and a mobile car washing company providing work opportunities and further training opportunities to people in need.

"We want to congratulate the winning team and finalists, who all put enormous effort into their entries," The Big Issue Enterprise and Community Engagement National Manager Sally Hines said.

“The La Trobe University team’s entry stood out for its innovative concept and faultless business plan, which went into great detail to research customer, market and target audience.”

Finalists presented their work to a judging panel of business and industry leaders including Telstra Chief Financial Officer Andrew Penn, former Democrats leaders Natasha Stott Despoja and Cheryl Kernot and The Big Issue CEO Steven Persson. The winning team received prizes including a work immersion day at The Big Issue, where they will have the opportunity to further develop their idea and investigate ways it could be implemented.

The Big Idea awards night was supported by Deakin University and Federation Square.

For more information about The Big Idea and to find out how your university can get involved, click here.

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