December 4, 2018


Centre for Social Impact UNSW Students win The Big Idea Competition

In their first year in the competition, students from UNSW’s Centre for Social Impact have won The Big Idea university competition in both the undergraduate and postgraduate category.

The competition which is organised by one of Australia’s most successful social enterprises, The Big Issue, invites universities from across Australia to submit ideas and business plans developed by teams of students that 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. Teams pitched 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.

Bugisu Project 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 Projust 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 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.”

Judge Cheryl Kernot said that the UNSW entrants were particularly impressive. "There was a very high level of innovation in this year's finalists. The judges were all impressed with the closed loop aspect of Bugisu’s design which, unlike other coffee projects, made innovative use of coffee grounds. Flower2empower made innovative use of massive floral displays from weddings in Indonesia to reduce waste and to add value engaging disabled people in making candles & soaps from this waste. The judges were aware of the huge positive social impact this would have on cultural attitudes surrounding disability."

Renewable Space, while not the winner, was singled out for commendation for the ambition of its “Big Idea” and its social impact in addressing both homelessness & reduction of plastic waste.
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