Big ideas booming as student comp prompts bumper crop

Published:16 August 2018

CQUni teams have won The Big Idea competition in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Passion for social change is sweeping CQUniversity, with the biggest-ever cohort of students signing up for The Big Idea social enterprise design challenge.

A huge 56 students have nominated to participate in the annual competition, coordinated by The Big Issue and supported by CQUni.

It’s the fifth year CQUni has taken part in the challenge, with our enthusiastic student teams winning the competition in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

This year’s participants also represent the most diverse cohort yet – applying from four states, studying across seven campuses and via distance education, and out of all five CQUni schools.

The applicants also represent both domestic and international students, and are in a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

And our big-thinking students have nominated 23 potential projects for teams to develop, aiming to innovate in sectors as diverse as pollution reduction, positive ageing, mental health, social networks, legal aid, isolation, child care, job readiness and youth engagement.

Office of Social Innovation program manager Ashley Clarke is now working with the applicants to form teams, and connect them with relevant mentors across CQUniversity.

Ashley said the big intake followed an exciting six months for social innovation at CQUni, including the launch of free orientation program iChange for students, on-campus workshops, and the Festival of Change which encouraged students to engage with social change initiatives in August.

“We’ve designed a multiple opportunities for students to connect with social innovation, whether they’re domestic or international, on-campus or distance,” Ashley said.

“And it’s exciting to see how those initial connections have got students thinking about practical, real-world ideas to create change.”

The Big Idea teams will now design a social enterprise concept and business model, and progress through internal and external rounds with expert judging panels.

“By participating in The Big Idea, students learn about real issues affecting the community, and develop business-oriented solutions to address them. We connect them with local mentors and provide online and face to face sessions that support their design of a social enterprise that can operate in the mainstream market. The competition is open to all CQUni students and looks at the role of social enterprise in social innovation,” Ashley said.

Semi-finalists in the national competition will be announced on Friday 2 November, with the final winners announced on Wednesday 5 December.