The Big Idea Winners Announced

4 December 2018 The Big Idea

The Big Idea Winners Announced

The University of New South Wales won The Big Idea university competition in both the undergraduate and postgraduate category.

Winners of The Big Idea 2018

Benedikta Atika Prastyamita, Febe Amelia Haryanto, Darcy Small, Brody Smith, Brianna Kerr, Monica Wang, Muhammad Izzuddin Kurnia Adi, Edward Leonardi Leong

Over the course of a semester, teams of students developed social enterprise business plans that would have a positive impact on society or the environment.

More than 340 students from 14 universities around Australia entered the competition. Over 100 business plans were narrowed down to six undergraduate and three postgraduate finalists, with teams pitching their ideas to a judging panel of Australian business leaders at PwC on Tuesday.

Bugisu Project (Brody Smith, Darcy Small, Monica Wang, Brianna Kerr, Reuben George and Ryan Thomson) won the undergraduate competition.

The social business supplies specialty coffee to workplaces while reinvesting profits into gender equality programs in Uganda where the coffee is grown. The business is zero waste, delivering coffee in reusable canisters and recycling used coffee grounds.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Darcy Small from Bugisu Project said: “The experience of going through The Big Idea really helped us refine our idea. The most important piece of advice we received is ‘keep going’.”

Flower2empower (Benedikta Atika Prastyamita, Febe Amelia Haryanto, Daniel Everlien Berardo, Edward Leonardi Leong and Muhammad Izzuddin Kurnia Adi) won the postgraduate competition.

The Indonesian-based social enterprise upcycles wedding flower waste to create work opportunities for people with disability. Employees make pressed flower candles and soaps targeted at the wedding favours and decorations market.

Benedikta Atika Prastyamita from flower2empower said: “This award is very important to us because we want to take back to Indonesia what we have learnt here.”

Students from both winning teams studied with the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW Sydney.

Suzanne Currie, Head of Group Property, Westpac, Tracey Kennair, Partner, PwC Australia, Cheryl Kernot, Social Business Fellow, Centre for Social Impact, Simon McKeon, Chancellor, Monash University, Steven Persson, CEO, The Big Issue, and Nicky Tracey, Head of Community Relations, Australia Post were the finalist judges.

Over The Big Idea’s seven years, competition winners have gone on to successfully launch their social business. Last year’s postgraduate winner Homegirls has helped four women seeking asylum to earn a steady income stream from making jewellery. 

The 2017 undergraduate winner, Bawurra Foundation, launched a digital library for young Indigenous students, which is being rolled out to schools in rural NSW.  

2018 undergraduate finalists

Sid Hero (La Trobe) A social business that makes wristbands with wireless data transfer (NFC) technology for people with a communication disability. The wristbands store short messages that can be sent to smart devices, aiding in communication.

Foster Dreams (Monash University) A social business that creates opportunities for foster children by helping fund extra-curricular activities and the necessary equipment.

Feed 4 Thought (RMIT University) A social business that funds mental health initiatives for Australian farmers and farming communities with profits from its ethical, sustainable pet food range.

Guardian Technology (Macquarie University) Guardian Technology addresses the issue of driver fatigue with the Pivot Wheel and complimentary app, directing a driver to their nearest rest zone when their heartrate drops, indicating fatigue.

Samaj Theatre (Australian Catholic University) Samaj Theatre uses applied drama to combat social isolation. This community-based theatre program seeks to address social isolation the only way society can: together.
Bugisu Project (University of New South Wales) A social business that supplies specialty coffee to workplaces while reinvesting profits into gender equality programs in Uganda where the coffee is grown. The Bugisu Project is zero waste, delivering coffee in reusable canisters and recycling used coffee grounds.

2018 postgraduate finalists

flower2empower (University of New South Wales) An Indonesian-based social enterprise that upcycles wedding flower waste to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Renewable Space (University of New South Wales) A social business that aims to reduce the volume of plastic waste going to landfill by turning it into materials to build small homes.

iSafe (Edith Cowan University) A social enterprise focused on reducing digital scams and empowering seniors to live a digitally-secure life while creating jobs for older Australians.

2018 Participating universities

Australian Catholic University, CQ University, Edith Cowan University, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, Monash University, Murdoch University, Queensland University of Technology, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Adelaide, The University of Melbourne, Victoria University.

Vendor profile