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Big Idea Competition

Got the IDEA to create the next social enterprise?

QUT has teamed up with The Big Issue, Australia’s longest standing and most successful social enterprise, in a unique inter-university social enterprise business planning competition which will run during Semester 2 – The Big Idea.

The Big Idea competition invites students to develop a concept and business plan that might become the next 'Big Issue', and potentially change the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Australians around the country.

Competitors will have unprecedented access to a series of lectures, workshops and online seminars, delivered by some of Australia's most influential leaders.

This combination of comprehensive guidance, advice and direction will ensure you are well placed to develop your big ideas into brilliant business plans tailored towards viable social enterprise.

QUT students are invited to register FREE as an individual or as a team. If you register as an individual, we will allocate you to a team. Teams will initially pitch their idea against other QUT teams in October before a winner is selected to submit their entry to the inter-university rounds towards the end of 2019 (full dates will be provided to registrants once confirmed).

Register Now

Information sessions

Learn more about social enterprise and The Big Idea Competition at our info sessions:

  • Gardens Point: Tuesday April 30, 10:30am – 12:00pm, GP-B-119
  • Kelvin Grove: Tuesday April 30, 2:30pm – 4:00pm, KG-N-515

Who’s eligible?

The competition is open to all QUT undergraduate students. Students from all campuses and study modes are invited to participate. You may register as either an individual or as a team (maximum 6 members). Participating students must have an active enrolment in Semester 2, 2019.

Why get involved?

The Big Idea is more than just a competition. Here are some of the benefits in getting involved:

  • Hear from our ‘Thought Leaders,’ influential Australian leaders, informed and passionate within their field
  • Learn from our Social Enterprise experts and practitioners, who will share their hands-on experience of working in social enterprises
  • Attend exclusive workshops on business development and entrepreneurship
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  • Learn more about social enterprise in Australia
  • Develop real-world business-planning skills
  • Be in the running for prizes including an iPad and professional immersion days at The Big Issue

What is a social enterprise?

The Big Issue’s working definitions of social enterprise and social business will be those which students work towards in their Big Idea projects. Students will be able to enter the competition with either a social enterprise or a social business plan.

A commercial enterprise directs its resources to create products and services that generate commercial incomes.

A social enterprise must:

  • operate as a not-for-profit
  • deliver an activity or function that creates social outcomes
  • be economically sustainable in the marketplace
  • generate direct and meaningful work opportunities (with low to no barrier of entry) for homeless, marginalised or disadvantaged people within the enterprise
  • be scalable – have capacity to grow significantly and provide opportunities to a large number of disadvantaged people, even if it is small in its start-up
  • be financially sustainable – whilst seed (or start-up) funding may be sought initially; ongoing funding or donations should not be relied upon
  • be legal – be a legally compliant enterprise, including by meeting all relevant legislative requirements, for example, applicable award rates would be paid to all employees
  • A social business will fulfil all of the same requirements of a social enterprise, but may not generate direct employment for disadvantaged people.

About The Big Issue

Australia's longest standing and most significant social enterprise, The Big Issue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that develops solutions to help homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people to positively change their lives.

Further information

Register online